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University of Cincinnati's Stephen Johnson prepares for the final.
Watch the final round of the 2019 competition.

Trial by Combat

The Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the UCLA School of Law co-host Trial by Combat, the 1-on-1 collegiate mock trial national championship. This tournament aims to celebrate the best individual college competitors in the country—and identify the very best.

Moving forward, the tournament will rotate from coast to coast. The third annual Trial by Combat will be held June 26-28, 2020 at UCLA. The 2021 event will be held at the Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy in Philadelphia. We are proud to partner with UCLA, home to the A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy.

Competition Format

Jonathan Kuang of UCLA addresses a witness during the final.

  • Competitors receive the case on the morning of the first day of the tournament and have approximately 24 hours to prepare.
  • Each trial has two attorneys (P attorney v. D attorney) and two witnesses (P witness v. D witness).
  • During the four preliminary trials, each competitor performs each of those four roles exactly once, though significantly greater weight is placed on attorney performance. The top four students compete as attorneys in the Semifinals, and the winners compete as attorneys in the Championship Trial.
  • The field is limited to 16 competitors nationwide.
  • During the tournament, competitors may receive help/coaching from one person—a coach, a teammate, an alum, whomever they wish.

Applications for the 2020 Tournament

We will begin accepting applications for Trial by Combat 2020 on November 15, 2019. Please check back at that time for the application link.

The tournament is limited to AMTA competitors who were eligible to compete in the most recent AMTA season.

2019 Tournament

Trial by Combat 2019 was an unqualified success. After drawing applications from more than 100 AMTA students across the country, the top 16 students were selected. They represented 6 of AMTA’s top ten TPR team, and they owned an astounding 21 All-American Awards. University of Cincinnati's Stephen Johnson won the competition—and our unique first-place trophy, an engraved sword.

View past competitions