John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition

February 8-11, 2024

Registration for the Fourteenth Annual John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition will open on November 1, 2023 and close on November 22, 2023.


Venue Information about the Costello Competition

The competition will take place on February 8-11, 2024. The entire competition is held in person.
The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday rounds will be held at the George Mason University campus.
The final round on Sunday will be held at a local courthouse.

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! Finalists will present their case in front of a panel of judges and a jury. and competitors will use the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Competing schools will be permitted to send at least one team to the Costello Competition. Competitors are side-restricted and teams must consist of only two competitors. Scalia Law Trial Ad will provide all witnesses and judges for the 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 application to register for Costello Competition will be posted on November 1.


For any additional questions or information, please contact Kitty Hanat at