WCL Hosts Inaugural Capitol City Challenge Mock Trial Competition

WASHINGTON, DC, March 13, 2009 – The American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL) Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program and Mock Trial Honor Society host the inaugural Capitol City Challenge Mock Trial Competition at the District of Columbia Superior Court March 28 and 29, 2009. An evening welcome reception for the competitors and coaches will be held at WCL March 27. At the welcome reception, teams will participate in a challenge ceremony that will enable them to challenge opposing law schools to first round competition rather than have the competition pairing made at random.

The competitors will be evaluated and critiqued by top trial practitioners and prominent judges such as Judge Nelson Rupp, Judge Eugene Hamilton, Judge William Cave, and Judge Stephen Johnson with Judge Ronald Haskell visiting from his District Court in Pennsylvania. Competition judges include trial attorneys from federal and state public defenders’ offices, private practice defense attorneys, and federal and state prosecutors. Maryland’s Deputy Attorney General Katherine Winfree will be one of the judges for the final round. These seasoned judges and practitioners will enhance the competitors’ experience through their critiques from both the bench and jury box.

“The Capitol City Challenge epitomizes WCL’s commitment to helping students become better advocates in and outside of the courtroom,” said David Aaronson, director of the Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program at WCL. “With the support of alumni, faculty and students, this competition will be a success for years to come.”

The Capitol City Challenge case file concerns a criminal problem and the competitors will prepare and present the case from both the prosecution and defense sides, switching their respective roles at the next trial. The Capitol City Challenge encourages the student advocates to use the modern courtroom technology in the presentation of their cases. Courtroom technology will be available to all of the competitors at the courthouse.

The 10 law schools competing in this competition will vie for the Capitol City Challenge trophy and the winning team will also have their names placed on the perpetual championship trophy that is on display at WCL. The law schools competing in this competition are Drexel University School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Regent University School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Temple University School of Law, The Catholic University of America School of Law, The John Marshall Law School of Chicago, University of Connecticut School of Law, and The Richmond University School of Law.