John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition

February 4 – February 7, 2021

Registration for the Thirteenth Annual John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition is now open! Please sign up using the 2021 Costello Competition Registration Application.

Venue Information about the Costello Competition

The competition trials will be held VIRTUALLY via Zoom. Unless there is a serious turn of events in the fight against Covid-19, the competition will remain virtual. .

General Information about the Costello Competition

The Costello Competition is uniquely designed by Judge Jonathan Thacher to take participants outside the typical realms of law school competitions. By revealing unknown facts and witnesses as the competition progresses, the Costello Competition simulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials. This dynamic design provides competitors with a realistic experience as counsel in a criminal trial and an exciting take on trial advocacy! All competition judges are local judges and practitioners, making the competition as realistic as possible! Judges and competitors will use the Virginia Rules of Evidence as well as the Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Competing schools will be permitted to send at least one team to the Costello Competition. If for whatever reason all available slots do not fill up, then schools will be able to register additional teams on a first-come basis. The final application deadline for the Costello Competition is Monday, November 30, 2020. Please see the application linked above for more details.

For any additional questions or information, please contact John Mark Mastakas at