Syracuse University College of Law Introduces Two Groundbreaking Intercollegiate Trial Advocacy Competitions: The National Military Trial Competition and the Syracuse Deposition Competition

Syracuse University College of Law will host two first-of-its-kind intercollegiate trial advocacy competitions in the 2024-2025 academic year. The new competitions are the National Military Trial Competition and the Syracuse Deposition Competition, bringing the total of hosted Syracuse Law competitions to five.

The National Military Trial Competition (NMTC) introduces law students with an interest in military justice and the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) to the trial process in military courts. The competition will take place in person in Syracuse, NY on March 21st -23rd, 2025.

NMTC will feature between eight to 12 teams competing against each other in a case involving a military court-martial. The case will be tried using the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Rules for Courts-Martial (RCM) applicable to military courts.

Because trying cases in a military court may be unfamiliar to students and coaches, Syracuse Law will facilitate a virtual non-mandatory introductory training for trying cases in military courts, immediately before the release of the fact pattern. While teams can choose their coach, Syracuse Law will connect any team who are interested in working with current or former JAG officers with JAG officers who are willing to coach and assist. 

The application is now open and can be found on the NMTC webpage.

The Syracuse Deposition Competition (SDC) fills a training void in legal academia by providing students with a unique platform to expand their arsenal of practical skills. Participants will gain invaluable insight through simulated real-world experience to enhance critical skills for conducting and defending depositions. The competition will take place virtually on November 1st – 3rd, 2024.

Today, depositions have become the standard and trials the exception. A forum to develop deposition skills is more necessary now than ever. Between the 1930s and 1960s, the percentage of federal civil cases that went to trial fell from 20% to 12%. By 1992, this number dropped to 3.5%.

The competition will feature a minimum of eight teams who will compete by taking and defending depositions. Because of the unique nature of a new deposition competition, Syracuse Law will host a non-mandatory virtual training session to discuss the basics of deposition practice immediately before the release of the fact pattern.

There will be no registration fee. The application is now open and can be found on the SDC webpage.

“The new competitions close a gap in legal advocacy education as these are the first to address the unique challenges of military law and trials and the burgeoning reliance on depositions rather than trials to settle disputes,” says Professor Todd Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs at Syracuse Law.

Syracuse Law also hosts the National Trial League, the Syracuse National Trial Competition, and the Transatlantic Negotiations Competition (co-hosted with Queen’s University Belfast.) Information on all Syracuse Law-hosted trial advocacy competitions can be found here.

“Syracuse University College of Law has a track record of creating innovative advocacy curriculum and programs that further the practical educational needs of today’s law students,” says Dean Craig Boise. “I am proud that our institution is adding these unique competitions that will help train new lawyers with the skills needed in the legal profession.”

In addition to the five hosted intercollegiate competitions, the Syracuse Law offers the only joint J.D./LL.M. in Advocacy and Litigation degree that students can complete in three years and at no further cost than the J.D. Its Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society conducts five intracollegiate competitions and participates in numerous intercollegiate competitions across the country.