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LSU Law Places Second in Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition

Three students pose for a photo with the student in the middle holding a plaqueLSU Law’s Center’s Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition teams had incredible success at their competition in Fairfax, Va., from Feb. 9-12, bringing home multiple national titles.

The Law Center fielded two teams to this competition, the “Purple” team — students Kathryn Jakuback Burke, Rachel Chappell and Harrison Smith — and the “Gold” team — students Jonathan Cobb, Charlotte Farshian and Tyler White. The Law Center’s Costello Trial teams are coached by Lindsay Blouin (’12) and Joshua Newville (’12), both of the East Baton Rouge Office of the Public Defender.

The “Purple” team advanced into the National Championships, where they took the titles of Best Defense Team and National Finalists and placed second overall in a closely fought final match against from Tulane (which the final round judges nicknamed the “Battle of the Bayou”).  The judges in the final round in fact returned a not-guilty verdict for the LSU team’s client but awarded the championship title to Tulane’s prosecution team.

The “Gold” team placed as National Quarterfinalists and a Top-8 team overall following a closely fought match against the University of Texas in which both teams eliminated each other in a split decision.  LSU was the only university to have both of its teams advance from the preliminary rounds into the “Elite Eight.”

Hosted by the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, the Costello competition is uniquely designed to take participants outside the typical realms of law school competitions. By revealing unknown facts and new witnesses as the competition progresses, the Costello competition simulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials. Thirty teams from 25 law schools participated in this year’s Costello competition, which was held at the Fairfax County Judicial Center in Fairfax, Va.

Both of LSU’s teams were consistently complimented by the judges for their command of the rules of evidence and criminal procedure, as well as their ability to immediately adapt their case preparations to newly revealed evidence.


Eight students wearing suits pose for a photo with one student holding a plaque and a courtroom in the background