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Justin Bernstein

President, Stand Up Mock Trial


Justin is the former President of the American Mock Trial Association and the youngest person ever inducted into the Mock Trial Coaches Hall of Fame.  He holds the distinction of coaching mock trial national champions at every level -- high school, college, and law school.  He is an attorney with an undergraduate degree from UC  Berkeley, a law degree from NYU, and experience representing several Fortune 500 companies.  He is currently a law professor and trial program director at the UCLA School of Law.


Justin began his mock trial participation in college. When he joined UC Berkeley’s team, the school had never placed at nationals. But in his first season, Justin captained UC Berkeley to second place at the National Tournament.  During the three seasons he competed for UC Berkeley, Justin won more All-American Attorney Awards (3) than any competitor in the country and delivered the closing argument in the All-American Honors Trial.  


Justin has had even more success as a coach. Before he began coaching as a law student, NYU had never qualified for the national championship tournament.  By Justin’s second year, NYU had 13 top-ten tournament finishes, including more wins at the national championship tournament than any other school in the country.  Upon graduation, Justin moved back to the West Coast, where he became the head coach of UC Irvine’s mock trial program. UCI had never achieved a winning record at even a single tournament. Seven seasons later, the UCI team boasted more than 60 top-ten finishes, stood as the reigning west coast champion, and twice ranked 1st out of 600 teams nationwide.  


In law school, Justin has coached teams to four national championships.  His Drexel squad won Tournament of Champions in 2017 and his UCLA won Tournament of Champions in 2020.  He has also enjoyed unprecedented success at Baylor’s Top Gun National Mock Trial Tournament, where students and coaches get the case 24 hours before round one.  His students won Top Gun in 2015, finished as runner-up in 2016, and won in 2018, making  Justin the first coach to win Top Gun twice.


Justin has taught, coached, or consulted with more than 40 high school mock trial teams.  The teams he's worked with have won eight Empire championships, 14 state championships, and dozens of county championships.  Justin’s students have won more than 300 individual mock trial awards, attended premier law schools, earned federal clerkships, and worked for some of the top law firms in the country.  In 2011 and 2012, Justin was recognized as the national coach of the year.  In 2014, the American Mock Trial Association made Justin the tenth member of its Coaches Hall of Fame.


Professionally, Justin has worked as an attorney for multiple global law firms in Orange County, California.  He has litigated cases that landed on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and represented some of the largest companies in the world.  He has served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy for UC Irvine’s political science department and the director of the UC Irvine School of Law trial competition.  In 2017, he joined the faculty of Drexel Law School, home to one of the country's top law school trial teams.  In 2018, Justin was chosen to become the first Director of Trial Advocacy at the UCLA School of Law.


Justin enjoys playing basketball, watching too much television, and playing with dog Heisman.

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