John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition

February 1-4, 2018

Registration for the Tenth Annual Costello Trial Advocacy Competition is now open! Please see the Sign Up page for further details.

Venue Information about the Costello Competition

The Costello Competition is held at the Fairfax County Judicial Center. The Judicial Center is located at 4110 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, Virginia 22030. We also have a block of rooms reserved at the Fairfax Comfort Inn University Center for all competitors and judges. Please see our Directions and Venue Information Page for further directions.

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! Each trial will take place in a courtroom at the Fairfax County Judicial Center in front of three judges. All competition judges are local judges and practitioners, and a real judge will preside over each trial! 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.  All meals during the competition are catered and included in the registration fee. The registration fee also includes admission to a cocktail party hosted by GMUSL’s Trial Advocacy Association for all Costello competition judges and competitors.

For any additional questions or information, please contact Erno Buky at