Kilpatrick Townsend 1L Mock Trial Competition

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Kilpatrick is the Broun National Trial Team's favorite 1L tradition. Named for its generous sponsors, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, and held each Winter at the University of North Carolina School of Law, Kilpatrick offers a unique chance for first-year law students to gain first-hand trial advocacy experience in a friendly, open setting. Though inherently competitive, the competition is deigned to be an accessible, low-stress learning opportunity for any student interested in litigation, regardless of their experience level. Accordingly, the competition focuses on development of trial skills rather than knowledge of the law. Our team looks forward to opening this fun and enriching event to all 1Ls at North Carolina law schools every year.

Additional details about the competition are always included in the competition packet released prior to the tournament, but several important aspects of the competition are summarized below.

Kilpatrick 2019 (february 8-10, 2019)

The 2019 Kilpatrick Competition will be February 8-10, 2019 at UNC School of Law.  The packet is now live! Please email with any questions regarding the packet or registration. 


Eligibility and Registration

All first-year students attending all North Carolina law schools are eligible to participate in Kilpatrick. Students may register in teams of four to six, though teams of four are preferred. Registration typically opens in October or November.  Our team will reach out to other North Carolina law schools, announcing the competition and detailing the registration process. We do not cap the number of teams that may participate. Any questions about registration should be submitted to

Competition Structure

Kilpatrick is a mock trial tournament in which teams of students play the roles of both attorneys and witnesses in a mock civil or criminal case. Teams of students together prepare both the plaintiff or prosecution and defense sides of the case using witness statements and evidentiary exhibits contained in a pre-released case packet. At the competition, every team participates in two preliminary rounds, presenting their plaintiff or prosecution case-in-chief in one, and their defense case-in-chief in the other. Eight teams advance to the quarterfinal round, four to the semifinal round, and two to the final round.

Team Structure

There are four attorney roles and four witness roles per team. Two students portray plaintiff or prosecution co-counsel, and two different students portray plaintiff or prosecution witnesses; similarly, two students portray defense co-counsel, and two different students portray defense witnesses. A student may be an attorney on both sides of the case, a witness on both sides of the case, an attorney on one side only, a witness on one only, or an attorney on one side and a witness on the other. A student serving as an attorney must deliver an opening statement or closing argument, a direct examination of one of their own team's witnesses, and a cross-examination of an opposing team's witness.

Judges and Scoring

Teams are scored according to a formalized scoring rubric included in the case packet. 2L and 3L members of the Broun National Trial Team score participants in the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds, while practicing attorneys and judges score participants in the semifinal and final rounds.

Feedback and Awards

Though teams' scores are not released, the presiding and scoring judges will offer feedback to all participants following each round of competition. Judges will also determine and present a certificate to the best advocate in each round. Quarterfinalists and semifinalist teams will also receive certificates reflecting their achievement. Teams that place first and second overall are awarded trophies at the end of the final round, which is open to the public.

Preparing for Competition

Because Kilpatrick is intended primarily as a novice competition, no previous mock trial experience is required or expected. Moreover, permissible preparation is limited in two important ways. 

First, coaching of teams is absolutely prohibited. Teams should prepare for the competition only with other members of their four to six person teams. Nevertheless, each school is allowed to hold up to three training sessions led by non-trial team members prior to the packet release. Training sessions may cover the fundamentals of a trial, including opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross-examinations, and the rules of evidence. Additional information about these same trial fundamentals is always included in each year's competition packet. 

Second, Kilpatrick is a "closed universe" competition: all legal, procedural, and evidentiary knowledge needed for the competition is contained in the competition packet. Teams are forbidden from doing any outside legal research and from raising objections not contained in the packet. Any questions about permissible competition preparation can be submitted to

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106
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