MSU College of Law

Trial and Advocacy Competitions

Trial Advocacy: 2Ls and 3Ls compete at events hosted by other law schools throughout the United States. Competitive trial advocacy at MSU College of Law enjoys a strong tradition of success. For example, MSU teams advanced to the finals and won the award for best closing argument at the 2013 Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition, advanced to the finals of the regionals at the 2013 Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition (two teams), reached the semi-finals at the 2013 regionals for the American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and MSU was named the 2012 National Champion with an additional award for best closing argument at the Bernie L. Segal Criminal Mock Trial Competition. Tryouts for trial advocacy teams are held in April. Anywhere from 8 to 16 students are selected annually depending on the number of returning competitors. Students who would like to join a Trial Advocacy team must submit an Application by the Spring due date (usually in April).

Arbitration Advocacy: MSU College of Law has participated in the American Bar Association (ABA) Student Division Regional and National Arbitration competition since 2005. In this competition, students in teams of four (two attorneys, two witnesses) prepare and present a case to a panel of arbitrators against an opposing party. Arbitration competitions are similar to trial competitions; students are scored on their opening statements, their examination and cross-examination of witnesses, closing statements, and their use of objections and evidence in the proceedings. The College of Law has a stellar record in the ABA competition, advancing to the regional semifinals in 2006 and 2008, winning the region in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and placing second in the nation in 2010. Anywhere from 4 to 8 students are selected annually depending on the number of returning competitors. Students who would like to be considered for an Arbitration Advocacy team must submit an Application by the Spring due date (usually in April).

Many law students won’t learn how to conduct a trial before they’re in courtrooms as new lawyers. Trial advocacy competitors have the opportunity to complete a full trial in a high-pressure competition environment. By graduation, they’re comfortable with the process of trial proceedings in civil and criminal settings. They work closely with faculty coaches who are subject-matter experts, receiving personal feedback throughout preparation and during competitions.

Spring 2015
Regional Champions (Team #1), Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition
Regional Semi-Finalists (Team #2), Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition

Spring 2014
Regional Champions, Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition

Fall 2013
Regional Champions and National Qualifiers, ABA Commercial Arbitration Competition
Finalists, Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition
Best Closing Argument, Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition

Spring 2013
Finalists (Regionals) (two teams), Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition
Semifinalists (Regionals), American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition

Fall 2012
Regional Champions and National Qualifiers, ABA Commercial Arbitration Competition
National Champions, Bernie L. Segal Criminal Mock Trial Competition
Best Closing Argument, Bernie L. Segal Criminal Mock Trial Competition

Spring 2012
Semifinalist (Regionals), 37th Annual National Trial Competition