Justin Bernstein

Director of A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy
Lecturer in Law

  • B.A. UC Berkeley, 2003
  • J.D. New York University School of Law, 2006

Before joining UCLA, Professor Bernstein was an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers and Haynes & Boone, where he represented Fortune 500 companies and other publicly traded corporations in litigation. He now consults with attorneys preparing for trial.

Professor Bernstein teaches courses related to Trial Advocacy and Evidence. In 2022, he received UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest teaching honor.

Professor Bernstein coaches the law school’s Trial Team. He is the youngest person ever inducted into the American Mock Trial Association’s Coaches Hall of Fame. He has coached more than 30 trial advocacy teams to national or world championships at the law school, collegiate, and high school levels. His college and law school teams at UC Irvine, NYU, and UCLA School of Law have six times finished their seasons as the #1 ranked teams in the United States.

Professor Bernstein is the former president of the American Mock Trial Association and a current member of its board of directors. He created Gladiator and Trial by Combat (the first high school and college 1-on-1 mock trial competitions) and The Verdict (the first national jury trial competition). He has written more than 20 mock trial cases. In 2021, he received the Neal Smith Award for exemplary contributions to legal education.

Professor’s Bernstein book, Championship Mock Trial: The Guide for Participants and Coaches, was co-authored with Judge David Nelmark and published by the American Bar Association. He co-authored, with Professor Paul Bergman, the seventh edition of Trial Advocacy in a Nutshell. He co-hosts a trial advocacy podcast, Unscripted Direct, with Spencer Pahlke from UC Berkeley School of Law.

At UC Berkeley, he won three All-American Attorney Awards. At NYU School of Law, he won both school-wide closing argument competitions.


  • Books
    • Championship Mock Trial: The Guide for Students and Coaches (with David Nelmark). Judicial Division (2022).