Justin Bernstein, a seasoned litigator with an extraordinary record of leading mock trial students and teams to success, has joined UCLA School of Law as the inaugural director of the A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy and as a lecturer in law. In those roles he will teach and develop classes in UCLA Law’s growing trial skills curriculum, as well as coach and further build the school’s mock trial and moot court teams.
Bernstein comes to UCLA Law from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, where he was an assistant professor of law and associate director of the school’s trial advocacy program. He previously developed the mock trial program at UC Irvine and led it as an adjunct professor for nine years. He also led the mock trial program at New York University, where he earned his J.D. in 2006.
He spent several years as a litigation associate at law firms in Orange County, where he represented Fortune 500 companies, executives and other clients in securities and business litigation and in investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies.
Bernstein is the youngest inductee in the American Mock Trial Association’s Coaches Hall of Fame and the organization’s former president. He has an exemplary coaching record at multiple institutions, having coached mock trial teams to nine national or world championships at the law school, college and high school levels.
Launched in 2018 with the support of UCLA Law alum and groundbreaking trial advocate Barry Cappello ’65, the A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy includes a rigorous program of courses, clinical opportunities, mock trial and moot court events. Students learn from experienced practitioners how to prepare for and conduct voir dire, make and respond to evidentiary objections, conduct direct examinations and cross-examinations, and deliver opening statements and closing arguments.
Students who complete the program and meet graduation requirements earn a certificate in trial advocacy. In addition, the program offers financial scholarships to students who are passionate about pursuing careers as trial lawyers.