Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition (ETAC)

Competition Date: April 15-16, 2023
Location:  San Juan, Puerto Rico (In Person)
Please click here to register

The law firm of Estrella, LLC and the George Washington University Law School are pleased to invite you to apply to compete in the ninth annual Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition (ETAC) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Estrella, LLC is a full-service law firm with expertise in civil litigation. As such, the competition uses a civil case. A sampling of past problems include: whether a store was negligent after an alleged mugging occurred in their parking lot, possible negligence of a company after alleged sexual harassment on a business trip, and whether a retailer is liable to an independent contractor for injuries caused by a competitor in an event organized by the retailer. Some years, the choice of calling two of three potential witnesses is provided to each team.

Each year, ETAC has reached capacity. The winning team is guaranteed a spot in the following year’s competition provided they timely register.

Campbell University School of Law was the champion of the 2022 Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition.

Key Dates:

December 4, 2022: Registration Deadline (teams have until the problem release to finalize members)

December 2022: Notification of Acceptance into competition and registration fee due

January 2023: Team members finalized and problem released

April 15, 2023: Two preliminary rounds (teams argue once for each side) held traditionally at the Nazario Clemente Federal Courthouse in San Juan’s Hato Rey sector; Advancement announcement reception held at a scenic location

April 16, 2023: Semi-final and final rounds held traditionally at the historic José V. Toledo Federal Courthouse in Old San Juan


The competition is limited to a maximum of 14 teams. Each ABA-approved law school may register one team consisting of four JD students. (Requests may be made to enter two teams and will be considered on a space-available basis.) Each student must play the role of an attorney on one side and a witness on the other. Participating schools will be given access to a discounted block of hotel rooms at a beautiful, seafront hotel.


The registration fee is $750 for one team. Payment can be made by credit card or check, but credit card is preferred. The fee is nonrefundable once paid to encourage participation.


Recognition is given to the winning team and to the recipient of the William Estrella Award for Best Oral Advocate.

COVID-19 Precautions:

All competitors and coaches attending the competition must certify that they are vaccinated and be able to present such documentation upon request to courthouse security. All attendees must also be willing to be masked when not presenting oral argument if required. The goal of the these requirements is to comply with the entry requirements for Puerto Rico and the two federal courthouses, neither of which ETAC can control. Both requirements have regularly changed since their inception and can reasonably be expected to evolve further between now and the competition. Accordingly, ETAC must do what it can to avoid having a team register, prepare, and purchase travel only to discover much later that a member cannot enter the island or one of the courthouses or is required to spend the duration of the competition in isolation.