Empire & You: The Right Fit?

Over the past decade, Empire has provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for thousands of high school students from across the globe. The experience involves a 3-5 month journey where students work with their advisers to prepare for the competition. Our students benefit immensely from their time at Empire because they work so tirelessly to excel in the courtroom.

Though we believe strongly in our programs, we readily admit that Empire is not for every school or mock trial team. It requires an adviser (or advisers) who can coach and mentor students, assist in trial preparation, coordinate logistics, organize fundraising, meet during parts of the American summer (June – August) and chaperone an overnight trip; likewise, it requires a group of students who share the zeal and work ethic of their adviser(s). Additionally, it also means that your school should be comfortable introducing and discussing vexing social issues to its students as our cases are topical and thought provoking.

When deciding whether to submit an application to compete, we encourage all teams to carefully review this site, especially the payment and rules sections. We greatly appreciate your time and investment in your students. That’s exactly why we want to make sure that Empire is the right fit for you.

COMPETITION OVERVIEW

Empire’s one-of-a-kind mock trial competition is at the core of its programs. To create the type of rigor that we desire, Empire has rules and procedures that are more challenging than most local competitions. They also differ from the National High School Mock Trial Competition (“NHSMTC”). The main points are summarized below but accepted teams should review all rules for more details.

4

4 TRIALS

You are guaranteed to compete in at least four (4) trials.

Two (2) rounds Two (2) rounds
as as
Prosecution/Plaintiff Defense
  • You cannot get eliminated from the competition.
  • You compete in one of two (2) divisions. A division is comprised of half the field in the tournament.
    New Now at all programs.  
  • The top team in each division after four (4) trials faces off in the final against the other division’s top team.
    New Now at all programs.  
7

7 STUDENTS PER TEAM PER TRIAL

A team must have 7 different students compete per trial—4 attorneys and 3 witnesses.

4 ATTORNEYS 3 WITNESSES

Pre-trial

Opening

  • Delivers opening statement

Middle

  • No speech
  • Required to conduct both a direct and a cross

Closing

  • Delivers closing argument
  • Prosecution rebuts

Select Lineup

  • Given 4 witness statements (5 for NY)—select 3 witnesses to testify
  • Teams call 2 traditional witnesses and 1 Guest Witness»

Attorney Role Assignment

As you can see, you’ll have more student attorneys per trial (4) than witnesses (3). Consequently, every attorney cannot conduct a direct and a cross. Empire has strict rules for role assignments to ensure that roles are dispersed evenly. Here they are:

  1. An attorney may only perform one speech per side. Empire defines a “speech” as a the pre-trial evidentiary argument (“PEA”), opening statement or closing argument. This rule only applies to sides. An attorney may give a speech on both the prosecution and the defense.
  2. The middle attorney must conduct one direct and one cross–no more, no less. The middle attorney is defined as the attorney without a speech.
  3. Each attorney must conduct at least one examination. You can’t let a speech-giving attorney focus solely on his/her speech.
  4. No attorney may conduct more than one direct or more than one cross. You can’t have a “specialist” who handles multiple directs or multiple crosses.
  5. NewThe attorney delivering the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument (“PEA”) may not direct the Guest Witness (“GW”). This is because the GW will be preparing their direct examination with their directing attorney during the PEA. Hence, it’s not physically possible for the GW directing attorney to also do the PEA! Read more about the Guest Witness here.

Confused yet? Don’t be. Your final assignments will look like this:

A = Attorney Speech = Pre-trial, Opening, Closing

A1

Speech
Direct
Cross

A2

Speech
Direct or Cross

A3

Speech
Cross or Direct

A4

Direct
Cross

TIMEKEEPING

The timekeeper must be a rostered student. You may have an 8th student who is not competing in the given round serve as a timekeeper (our preference). But you may also use one of your competing students (one of the 7) as a timekeeper.

A person who is not on your roster may not serve as a timekeeper—so a coach, chaperone and/or family member may not timekeep.

THE PARTY REPRESENTATIVE

  • The party representative. You may have an additional rostered student (so not one of the 7) serve as a non-testifying party representative and sit at counsel table during the trial. A non-testifying party representative will not be scored.
    • Ex: Our 2015 case featured a police department as a defendant in a civil action. Some defense teams elected to sit the defendant’s party representative, the Police Chief, at counsel table during the trial but did not call him/her to testify.

Questions? Comments? Please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.

28

28 STUDENTS PER TEAM

Your team may consist of up to 28 students. That means you may have seven (7) different students compete in each of the four trials (though this is rarely done).

A standard registration package covers a team of 14 people. You would incur an additional cost for bringing a team that exceeds that number. Read more about costs >

15

15 MINUTE PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE

As of 2016, this replaced the “Captains’ Meeting.”

Representatives from your team will meet approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of your round for a Pre-Trial Conference, which will take place in your assigned courtroom. Your representatives will announce their witness lineup, complete relevant forms and show any enlarged exhibits or demonstratives to their adversary. This meeting is unrelated to the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument.

Note: Teams are permitted to enlarge exhibits and create their own demonstratives subject to our rules of procedure.

Demonstrative Aids.

  1. GENERAL RULE. The use of demonstrative aids is permitted, subject to the other provisions of these Rules, and so long as such demonstrative aids are not hazardous or potentially damaging to persons or property. If used, a demonstrative aid must be made available to the opposing attorneys for subsequent use during examination of witnesses and closing argument.
  2. ELECTRONIC DEMONSTRATIVE AIDS. The use of electronic or light projected demonstrative aids is prohibited.
  3. EVIDENCE RESTRICTED TO CASE PACKET. Only materials provided in the case packet may be offered into evidence. Exhibits and documents provided in the case packet, and demonstrative aids deemed allowable under this Rule, are not automatically admissible at trial. Unless the admissibility of an item has been stipulated, all items remain subject to objection on evidentiary grounds including, but not limited to, improper foundation.
  4. RESTRICTION ON MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED IN CASE PACKET. No team may introduce material facts through a demonstrative aid that it would not be permitted to introduce through testimony or Empire-provided documents. The fact that a demonstrative aid is deemed to comply with Empire Rules by a Tab Director does not render it admissible at trial. Evidentiary objections may be made. Restrictions imposed on the use of a demonstrative aid by a Tab Director must be honored and the failure to honor such restrictions may be grounds for a tournament penalty or sanctions.
  5. DEFACING PROHIBITED. Permanently defacing an opponent’s demonstrative aid is not permitted.

Comment to Rule: No demonstrative aid—whether created ahead of time or by a witness during testimony—may purport to depict a particular person, particular place, or particular thing unless it has been provided with or is specifically permitted by the case materials. By way of example, “a skull” is not a “particular thing,” but “the victim’s skull” is. Similarly, a photo of a station wagon is not a particular thing, but it would be if described as a photo of the defendant’s vehicle or the particular make and/or model of the defendant’s vehicle. Lists, charts, graphs, phrases, etc. are not considered “drawings” for the purposes of this rule, and may be used to summarize, combine or illustrate facts that are already present in the case packet.

55

55 MINUTE TRIAL TIME LIMIT New

To make our trials move quicker, we’ve reduced our time limit for 2017.

At Empire, we give you 10 minutes for the pre-trial evidentiary argument and 55 minutes to present the rest of your case. Want to spend 5 minutes on an eye-witness direct but 10 minutes on your expert direct? Not a problem. How about 20 minutes on your defense directs but 30 minutes on your crosses? That’s fine by us. Just make sure to stay within your 55 minutes.

Our time limits give you the creativity to present your case in the manner that you see fit. But with great power, comes great responsibility. Students must stay alert during their trials to ensure that time isn’t misallocated. For example, if a cross takes longer than anticipated, your students will have to adapt. The ability to use your time effectively and adapt to events that occur in trial is part of what we’re looking to test.

TRIAL

55 minutes

  • The “clock” will start when a speech or examination begins, and end when a speech or examination ends.
  • The “clock” will stop during objection arguments.
  • A team that runs out of time will not be permitted to present any further examinations or speeches. A judge will give a score of “0” for any unperformed examination or speech.

PRE-TRIAL

    We have outlined the Empire Mock Trial Pre-Trial timekeeping rules in this section. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Rebuttal

    • If the moving party would like to rebut, they must reserve a specific amount of time (up to 4 minutes) before beginning their initial argument.


    Uninterrupted Introduction: 1.5 minutes New

    • Students have 1.5 minutes (90 seconds) to deliver an uninterrupted introduction, after which point a judge may begin questioning the student.


    Main Argument: 8.5 minutes

    • Students then have up to 8.5 minutes to present their main argument. Note that time reserved for rebuttal will be deducted from the 8.5 minutes.
    • The judge may ask questions during this entire period.


    Expiration of time when mid-sentence or mid-response

    • If time is called, and the moving party is in the middle of making an argument, or a judge is in the middle of asking a question, a courtesy period of up to 1 minute bay be requested by the advocate or invoked by the court sua sponte (i.e. The court is not required to grant the advocate’s request).
      • Ex: “Your Honor, I’d like to finish answering this question, but I see that my time has expired. May I request additional time, up to one minute, to complete my answer?”
    • Any time that is used by the moving party during the courtesy period shall be added to the amount of time allotted for the non-moving party’s argument.
      • Ex: In the above example, if the moving party uses 45 seconds of the courtesy period, her adversary now has 10:45 for her argument.
    • The non-moving party is given the same option of requesting a courtesy period.
      • Ex: In the above example, time is called at 10:45. The non-moving party may request up to 1 minute to wrap up her argument.
    • Any time that is used by the non-moving party during the courtesy period shall be added to the amount of time allotted for the moving party’s rebuttal.
      • Ex: In the above example, if the non-moving party uses 11:15 of her time, 30 extra seconds into her ‘courtesy period’, then the moving party may have an extra 30 seconds to rebut.
16

16 SCORING CATEGORIES

Each trial will feature 2-3 judges who will score you in 16 different categories using a 1-10 scale.

+ 3X – Speeches – pre-trial, opening, closing
+ 3X – Attorney on direct
+ 3X – Attorney on cross
+ 3X – Witness on direct (one of which comes from your guest witness in another trial)
+ 3X – Witness on cross (one of which comes from your guest witness in another trial)
+ 1X – “Extemp” – team’s overall ability to adapt to a trial and to raise / respond to objections

= 16 categories

EXTEMP SCORES

What is an Extemp Score?

The above has been excerpted from the Empire Rulebook, Rule 6.4 (8).

In awarding an Extemp score, a judge will assess a team’s ability to master the following skills:

  • Raise timely and appropriate objections;
  • Respond to objections with poise;
  • Answer the presiding judge’s questions during the PEA articulately and coherently;
  • Incorporate trial testimony and evidence into examinations and closings, particularly if the incorporation seems unique, extemporaneous and organic;
  • Rebut a substantive point made by an adversary at trial; and;
  • Handle adversity with poise and maturity.
  • It be will be conveyed to judges that a team isn’t required to raise objections. If there are no objections to be raised, then a team should not be penalized; rather, they should be commended for their discretion. We do believe, however, that such occasions are a rarity.

    8 or 12

    8 or 12 BALLOT RECORD

    Your record at Empire will be out of 8 or 12 wins.

    There are three primary categories that drive a team’s record at a Empire: wins (# of ballots captured), strength of schedule (quality of your opponents) and point differential (the margin of your wins and losses). If two (2) teams have the same number of wins, then we’ll break the tie by looking at strength of schedule (SOS); if two teams (2) have the same number of wins and SOS points, we’ll look at PD. Tied ballots are allowed and will count as ½ of a win.

    RECORDS


    Wins (Ballots)
    Number of ballots captured.

    • Your record is based on the # of ballots (scorecards) your team wins, not “round wins.”
      • Ex: If you win 2 out of 3 ballots in round 1, then your record is 2-1, not 1-0.
    • If your Empire program features two (2) judges per round, then your record is out of eight (8).
      • 4 rounds X 2 ballots per round = 8
    • If your Empire program features three (3) judges per round, then your record is out of twelve (12).
      • 4 rounds X 3 ballots per round = 12

    Strength of Schedule (SOS)
    Strength of your schedule.

    • To calculate SOS, we look at the number of ballots that your opponents have captured.
    • We keep a running tally of your SOS throughout the competition, which you can view.
    • Ex: At the end of four (4) rounds, you’ve faced Teams X, Y, Z & Q who have captured 5, 7, 9 & 10 ballots, respectively. That means your total SOS is 31 (the sum of their wins).

    Point Differential (PD)
    The margin of your wins / losses.

    • A twenty (20) point win is more impressive than a five (5) point win. When breaking a tie, point differential provides us with a way to reward teams with higher win margins.
    • We keep a running tally of your PD throughout the competition, which you can view.
    • Ex: In Round 1, you won two (2) ballots by 5 points and 10 points, respectively, and lost one (1) ballot by 20 points. That means your PD is -5 (5+10-20) after Round 1.

    Empire will use additional tie-breakers if two (2) teams have identical records (after considering the above criteria). If you’re interested in learning more, please send us an e-mail!

    PAIRINGS

    • Round 1: The Challenge System. We use a fun challenge system to determine your round 1 opponent. Half of the teams get to select their opponent while the other half get to select their side. You’ll learn your placement in the challenge order a month prior to the competition.
      • Note: Each competition features two divisions. You will only be able to face/challenge a team in your own division.
    • Rounds 2-4: Power Pairings. For the rest of the tournament, we use a power pairing system that considers your team’s record at the competition (based on W, SOS, PD). The one caveat is that you can never play the same team twice (such a pairing would be considered a conflict). Here’s a brief rundown of what that looks like:
      • Round 2 – Your team will need to flip sides for Round 1 (i.e. if you were just P, you’ll go on the D in Round 2). We rank all teams that need to go P and D and then pair them high-high.
      • Round 3 – This is a pure power match-up. We rank all the teams in the competition and then pair them high-high. We flip a coin to decide your side.
      • Round 4 – We go back to the Round 2 method of pairing. We rank all the teams that must go P and D (i.e. if you went as P in Round 3, then you’re D in Round 4, vice versa) and then we pair teams high-high.

    Individual & Team Awards

    • Outstanding Individuals. The number of attorney and witness awards we give out depends on the size of our program. It can range from 10-15 awards for each attorney and 10-15 awards for each witness.
      • Per side. Honors are calculated and awarded on a per side basis. For example, a student may win an award for their work as an outstanding prosecution attorney or defense attorney, but the “points” they earn for their prosecution work won’t count toward their defense performance and vice versa. The same applies for witnesses.
        1. Criteria. Judges score students and then we analyze those scores to determine, among other things, individual award winners. Our outstanding competitor formula looks at three factors:
          1. Comparison of your student’s score(s) to the average score(s) in the round for their respective role (i.e. attorney or witness);
          2. Quality of your opponents (we look at SOS);
          3. Number of nominations your student receives from a judge (each judge is required to nominate one person as the top attorney or witness in the round)
    • Team Awards. The top 10 teams are honored at the Empire closing ceremony. The team in each division with the best record then advances to the Championship Round, where they face off against the top team from the other division.

    GUEST WITNESS

    Guest Witness (“GW”) 101

    Your team will call 1 Guest Witness (“GW”) per trial.

    Now at every Program! New

    What does the term Guest Witness (or GW) mean?

    A GW is a student from another school who competes with your team for one trial, and a student from your team that competes for another school for one trial. You’ll still call three witnesses per round, just one of them will be played by a student from a different school. GW attorneys and witnesses meet right before trial, and then prepare their directs during the oral arguments.

    How many students do we prepare to be GWs? Are there any rules restricting who can play a GW?

    NewMinimum 2, maximum 4. You can cast any student as a GW with an important caveat: a student may not play the same GW role more than once at a given Empire Program. That is to say, if you portray the P GW (e.g. Smith) in Rd. 1, you could not portray her in Rd. 3.

    How much time do we have to prepare our GWs? Where do we do it? And when do we do it?

    Your GW directing attorney has 20 minutes to prepare her witness. We’ll either designate a room for you to prep or you can use the hallway. Unlike last year, the prep now takes place during the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument (“PEA”) to make the days shorter. Since the PEA attorney can’t be in two places at once, she may not direct the GW!

    How do we know which character in the case is the GW? Do you tell us?

    NewYes, we do. We’ll designate the GW witness statements in the case file (e.g. Joe Smith is the P GW and John Doe is the D GW), and you’ll be required to call those witnesses to the stand. While you will prep students to portray Smith and Doe for the tournament, they’ll never actually compete as those roles in your round. Rather, they’ll always be witnesses (GWs) in a trial for other schools.

    When do we find out which student is our GW, and where our GWs will be competing?

    15 minutes before trial. On the schedule pages, you’ll see that the GW Introduction takes place 15 minutes before the start of trial. Your GW and GW directing attorneys will attend that meeting. Once all teams check-in, we will announce the GW pairings for the round. We want to make sure that every team has the same amount of time to prep their GW.

    What if the GW assigned to my trial doesn’t try, because her performance impacts my team, and not hers?

    Good news: her score counts toward her own ballot, not yours. Likewise, your team’s GW’s performance counts toward your ballot. We take the average direct and cross score of your GW (i.e. your student competing in another trial), and add it to your ballot for the trial. We’ll do the same for the GW in your round. Last year, 89 trials featured the GW, and GW sabotage nor GW apathy were reported as issues!

    ASSIGNING YOUR WITNESSES

    Introduction
    Starting this year, there are two (2) new rules that we’ve implemented which impact how you assign GWs:

    • A student may not compete as the same Guest Witness character for more than one trial at a single Empire Program.
    • An attorney may not direct the GW on a side in which she is delivering the PEA.

    We are in the process of updating our Rulebook to account for these new rules. We believe, however, that they are fairly straightforward.

    You’ll receive a case with two (2) GW affidavits. You’ll need two (2) different students to portray the Prosecution GW and two (2) different students to portray the Defense GW. There are no other restrictions.

    Options for Assignment
    You’ll compete at four (4) trials at Empire. Each day, you’ll compete once as the Prosecution and once as the Defense. It is not possible for you to compete on the same side of the case more than twice in a weekend unless you qualify for the Championship Round (i.e. you cannot compete as the Prosecution three times and the defense once unless you qualify for the Finals).

    For your reference, we have suggested two (2) permissible witness role assignments below and one prohibited; we have used Johnny, Sally, Robbie and Harry as our sample students.

    These options, however, are not exhaustive. Larger teams may assign witnesses differently, and you’re free to have a student attorney on one side and witness on the other.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


    Key:

    GW = All GW references below refer to your student that is sent to compete in another team’s trial.
    Prosecution GW = Guest Witness
    Prosecution A = Traditional Prosecution Witness
    Prosecution B = Traditional Prosecution Witness
    Defense GW = Guest Witness
    Defense A = Traditional Defense Witness
    Defense B = Traditional Defense Witness


    PERMITTED – 4 students available to play witnesses

    This is permitted as no student played the same GW role more than once.
     

    Day 1 Day 2
    Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
    Johnny Not competing Defense GW Prosecution A Not competing
    Sally Prosecution GW Not competing Not competing Defense GW
    Robbie Prosecution A Defense A Prosecution GW Defense A
    Harry Prosecution B Defense B Prosecution B Defense B

    PERMITTED – 3 students available to play witnesses

    This is permitted as no student played the same GW role more than once.

    Day 1 Day 2
    Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
    Johnny Prosecution GW Defense GW Defense B Prosecution B
    Sally Prosecution A Defense A Defense A Prosecution A
    Robbie Prosecution B Defense B Prosecution GW Defense GW

    PROHIBITED

    The same student may not portray the same GW role more than once at a given program. Both Jonny and Robbie have violated that rule.

    Day 1 Day 2
    Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
    Johnny Prosecution GW Defense B Defense B Prosecution GW
    Sally Prosecution A Defense A Defense A Prosecution A
    Robbie Prosecution B Defense GW Defense GW Prosecution B

    PAIRING GUEST WITNESSES

    Travel in Pairs
    All GWs travel to other rounds together in pairs—there are no solo GWs! So, if you’re facing Team Toby on the Defense, then your Defense GW (i.e. the student on your team casted as the Defense GW) will be assigned to another trial along with Team Toby’s Prosecution GW. This is the lynchpin of the GW system as it ensures that the same judges are scoring both witnesses from your trial (i.e. the same judges are scoring both Team Toby’s witness and yours—what we care about is relative scores rather than absolute values).

    All Empire programs feature two (2) divisions. Your GWs will be assigned to a trial in a different division.

    Power Paired
    NewStarting this year, all GW matches are power paired. That is to say, the top ranked trial in Division 1 will be paired with the top ranked trial in Division 2, the second ranked trial in Division 1 will be paired with its counterpart in Division 2, etc. Here is an example:

    Division 1 – Top Round
    Franklin Academy (π)
    GW from Viran High School
    v. Rosier High School (∆)
    GW from Hahn School
    Division 2 – Top Round
    Viran High School (π)
    GW from Franklin Academy
    v. Hahn School (∆)
    GW from Rosier High School

    TIMING

    Imagine a situation where your student is serving as a Defense GW in another trial. She’s slated to testify last but, unfortunately, her destination team, the team for which she is guesting, runs out of time! What happens?

    We have instituted two (2) GW timing rules to prevent such a situation:

    • The defense GW may not be called last. This makes it very difficult for the situation described above to arise.
    • The GW direct must be at least three (3) minutes in length. In the rare scenario in which a team runs out of time to direct a GW (which would also mean they would have no time to direct additional witnesses and deliver a closing), the Court shall permit up to three (3) minutes for a GW direct examination. The judges will be instructed, however, not to award the GW Directing Attorney additional points for the substance elicited past the expiration of time.

    RATIONALE

    We believe that the GW is an invaluable educational tool. Students are required to: collaborate with one another, including students from other schools who they just met; engage deeply with the material; listen critically on the stand; and think extemporaneously.

    When creating the GW system last year, we started with the following three (3) premises:

    • The same GW directing attorney could not direct the same GW in an identical role at an Empire tournament.
    • Teams facing one another must send their GWs to the same trial so they’d be scored by the same set of judges.
    • Teams should receive a GW from an equally ranked school at the competition. We understood that this wouldn’t always be possible.

    Taken together, these three (3) rules caused great frustration during our beta rollout of the GW in 2016; specifically, by the time we reached rounds 3 and 4, conflicts were abound. GW assignment became time consuming and stressful, while adhering to our third premise was nearly impossible.

    After great consideration, we’re confident that the new and improved GW system is both best for competition administration and for learning. Here’s why:

    • Eliminates Pairing Conflicts. Since the student who portrays your GW roles on day 1 is different than day 2, conflicts are irrelevant. Even if your team’s GW gets paired with the same GW more than once (i.e. your team sends its P GW to Team Toby on Day 1 and again on Day 2), it won’t matter because you’ll have a new student portraying the GW. Trials can be paired in minutes.
    • Enables Power Pairing. While all of our teams and students are extraordinary, we believe that a team that is currently at the top of their bracket should be rewarded with a GW from another school that’s at the top of its bracket. Without conflicts, that’s now possible.
    • Enhances Education. First, more than one student must now participate as GW. The rule change makes it impossible to have one student play both GW roles. While a coach may not be thrilled, it is our desire to have more students partake in the GW process. Additionally, the PEA attorney cannot direct the GW. The PEA and the GW direct both require a similar skillset: exceptional adaptability, composure and in-trial critical thinking. Since the PEA attorney cannot direct the GW on the same side, it makes it more likely that other students on the team will work on developing these crucial skills (note: the primary driving factor behind this change, however, was a timing issue—we’re trying to make the competition days shorter).

    PRE-TRIAL

    Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument (“PEA”)

    Your team will argue a motion in limine or motion to suppress.

    Timing

    Each side has 10 minutes for their oral argument, plus any courtesy time granted by the Court.

    NewParties are given 90 seconds of uninterrupted time in which they can summarize their argument. Judges are free to ask questions after 90 seconds has expired.

    Read more about PEA timing at the end of this section.

    Materials

    In preparing their argument, advocates will be given the following:

    • Exhibit in question;
    • Motion raised by the moving party;
    • Opposition to movant’s motion;
    • Relevant case law – Includes excerpts from judicial opinions.

    The problem is closed universe. A team may not introduce outside statutes or case law.

    Impact of Ruling

    After oral arguments, the judge will take a 2-3 minute break to evaluate the presentations and weigh the legal issues.

    The judge will then announce a ruling, which will impact the admissibility of the exhibit at trial.

    NewTeams will then be given 2-3 minutes to adapt to the ruling, while Guest Witnesses (GWs) and GW directing attorneys will return to the courtroom.

    Responsibility of PEA Attorney

    The PEA Attorney is required to conduct at least one examination (a direct or cross) in addition to delivering the oral argument.

    She may not direct the GW on the side in which she’s delivering the PEA.

    Read more about how to divide your attorney speeches and examinations at the end of this section.

    Resources

    In 2016, Empire published the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument Instructional Video and Educational Supplement. While our immediate goal was to help our participants learn how to tackle the PEA, our broader objective was, and is, to provide effective resources to the public that are accessible.

    The PEA video is available on our YouTube channel. You can access it by clicking on the above image.

    PRE-TRIAL EVIDENTIARY ARGUMENT

    What happens during this argument? And will the judges ask questions?
    For most of the time, yes. Students will have 3 minutes to present their argument uninterrupted but after that the presiding judge will ask questions—they will be instructed to do so.

    Will students know the judge’s questions in advance of the argument?
    No, that’s why the student needs to really understand their argument. Since responding to questions will be part of the exercise, we expect students to prepare for pre-trial by answering questions from their coaches and peers on the topic. Real lawyers can’t rehearse every contingency, neither will our pre-trial attorneys.

    How long do teams have to make their argument?
    The entire argument may last up to 10 minutes.

    In the past, trials could last up to 3 hours. Does this mean that trials are longer now?
    No. We will not be extending all-loss times for rounds; Teams will still have only 3 hours to complete their trials.
    For teams returning from Empire 2016: In 2016 Empire extended trials’ all-loss time by 30 minutes to allow for the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument. Please note that this time extension does not apply in 2017.

    What type of materials will students be given to prepare their arguments?
    The case materials will include the exhibit at issue, the motion in limine raised by the moving party, the other side’s response to the motion, a list of relevant cases, and the criteria that judges will use to evaluate their performance.

    What happens after the argument is over?
    Both sides take 5 minutes to chat about the impact of the court’s ruling and then you start with housekeeping matters (introductions, etc).

    Which of the attorneys is making the argument? The one not opening or closing?
    A fourth attorney for your team should be assigned to do pre-trial.

    California has a well established pre-trial system where a student is assigned to do pre-trial only (i.e. she/he isn’t permitted to conduct a direct or cross). Will Empire be the same?
    No, our rules are different. Here’s a brief summary. An attorney can’t perform more than one speech (pre-trial, opening, closing) and the middle attorney (the one not giving a speech) is required to do one direct and one cross. The rest of the directs and crosses will be divided among the three speech giving attorneys with one caveat: you can’t have an attorney perform more than one direct or more than one cross.

    Sound confusing? It’s not. And, here’s what your lineup will look like:

    A = Attorney Speech = Pre-trial, Opening, Closing

    A1

    Speech
    Direct
    Cross

    A2

    Speech
    Direct or Cross

    A3

    Speech
    Cross or Direct

    A4

    Direct
    Cross

    It’s up to you to determine which student delivers which statement and which examination(s) (i.e. A1 can be the pre-trial, opener or closer in the above diagram).

    What’s the rationale for adding an attorney and for dividing the speeches in the way you just proposed?
    We want to more inclusive. We like the idea of adding an attorney to the competition and a student to the roster. That means the minimum number of competitors per team is now 7.

    Regarding the role assignments, we started by saying that we don’t want the middle to be excluded. So, the middle had to get two examinations (direct/cross). We then said that we don’t want to have a direct or cross specialist—i.e. one attorney can’t do two directs or two crosses. Everything else then fell into place.

    How is Empire going to make sure that teams are prepared for pre-trial, which is new to many teams?
    We’re going to provide a sample pre-trial argument for all participants: both written materials and a video of Empire staff (or alums) arguing it (we’re still finalizing the details). We’ll also offer a couple of pre-trial webinars to answer questions.

    Why introduce pre-trial?
    Let me start by saying that we’re always trying to improve the experience that we provide for students. It doesn’t matter how many years we’re around, that will never change.

    There are two reasons we’re adding pre-trial. First, it’s a crucial element of actual trial practice in the U.S. So many issues that arise in mock trial are actually dealt with in pre-trial. Adding pre-trial makes our trials more realistic and introduces many students to a new aspect of the legal system.

    Second, it provides the type of intellectual rigor for students that we feel is necessary for our competition to be a success tool for educational growth and development. Pre-trial attorneys will have to engage with difficult material, synthesize it, and be able to present it effectively to their judges. When judges question them, they’ll also be required to argue extemporaneously—something that we want to continue to emphasize with our programs.

    PRE-TRIAL

      We have outlined the Empire Mock Trial Pre-Trial timekeeping rules in this section. Please let us know if you have any questions.

      Rebuttal

      • If the moving party would like to rebut, they must reserve a specific amount of time (up to 4 minutes) before beginning their initial argument.


      Uninterrupted Introduction: 1.5 minutes New

      • Students have 1.5 minutes (90 seconds) to deliver an uninterrupted introduction, after which point a judge may begin questioning the student.


      Main Argument: 8.5 minutes

      • Students then have up to 8.5 minutes to present their main argument. Note that time reserved for rebuttal will be deducted from the 8.5 minutes.
      • The judge may ask questions during this entire period.


      Expiration of time when mid-sentence or mid-response

      • If time is called, and the moving party is in the middle of making an argument, or a judge is in the middle of asking a question, a courtesy period of up to 1 minute bay be requested by the advocate or invoked by the court sua sponte (i.e. The court is not required to grant the advocate’s request).
        • Ex: “Your Honor, I’d like to finish answering this question, but I see that my time has expired. May I request additional time, up to one minute, to complete my answer?”
      • Any time that is used by the moving party during the courtesy period shall be added to the amount of time allotted for the non-moving party’s argument.
        • Ex: In the above example, if the moving party uses 45 seconds of the courtesy period, her adversary now has 10:45 for her argument.
      • The non-moving party is given the same option of requesting a courtesy period.
        • Ex: In the above example, time is called at 10:45. The non-moving party may request up to 1 minute to wrap up her argument.
      • Any time that is used by the non-moving party during the courtesy period shall be added to the amount of time allotted for the moving party’s rebuttal.
        • Ex: In the above example, if the non-moving party uses 11:15 of her time, 30 extra seconds into her ‘courtesy period’, then the moving party may have an extra 30 seconds to rebut.

    Attorney Role Assignment

    As you can see, you’ll have more student attorneys per trial (4) than witnesses (3). Consequently, every attorney cannot conduct a direct and a cross. Empire has strict rules for role assignments to ensure that roles are dispersed evenly. Here they are:

    1. An attorney may only perform one speech per side. Empire defines a “speech” as a the pre-trial evidentiary argument (“PEA”), opening statement or closing argument. This rule only applies to sides. An attorney may give a speech on both the prosecution and the defense.
    2. The middle attorney must conduct one direct and one cross–no more, no less. The middle attorney is defined as the attorney without a speech.
    3. Each attorney must conduct at least one examination. You can’t let a speech-giving attorney focus solely on his/her speech.
    4. No attorney may conduct more than one direct or more than one cross. You can’t have a “specialist” who handles multiple directs or multiple crosses.
    5. NewThe attorney delivering the Pre-Trial Evidentiary Argument (“PEA”) may not direct the Guest Witness (“GW”). This is because the GW will be preparing their direct examination with their directing attorney during the PEA. Hence, it’s not physically possible for the GW directing attorney to also do the PEA! Read more about the Guest Witness here.

    Confused yet? Don’t be. Your final assignments will look like this:

    A = Attorney Speech = Pre-trial, Opening, Closing

    A1

    Speech
    Direct
    Cross

    A2

    Speech
    Direct or Cross

    A3

    Speech
    Cross or Direct

    A4

    Direct
    Cross

    TIMEKEEPING

    The timekeeper must be a rostered student. You may have an 8th student who is not competing in the given round serve as a timekeeper (our preference). But you may also use one of your competing students (one of the 7) as a timekeeper.

    A person who is not on your roster may not serve as a timekeeper—so a coach, chaperone and/or family member may not timekeep.

    SCHEDULE

    Empire programs feature competitive trials, robust ceremonies and plenty of time for students to engage with their host city.

    We require teams to attend our opening and closing ceremony but all other Empire events are optional. So if you’re competing in New York and decide to plan a team dinner in Times Square instead of attending the harbor cruise–that’s fine by us. Likewise, if you’re competing in Atlanta and decide to plan an extra scrimmage instead of the Experience Event–then that’s okay, too. Each team has its own unique Empire experience that is shaped by its participants. That’s part of what makes the event incredibly special.

    The schedules listed below are tentative and subject to change. Some Empire teams, particularly those from our international family, elect to arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday prior to the competition to sightsee.

    Atlanta

    Dates
    September 21 – 25

    Courthouse
    Clayton County State Court
    9151 Tara Boulevard, Jonesboro, GA

    Hotel
    Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center
    100 CNN Center NW, Atlanta, GA

    San Francisco

    Dates
    October 5 – 9

    Courthouse
    U.S. District Court, N.D.Cal.
    450 Golden Gate Avenue, SF, CA

    Hotel
    Parc 55 Hilton
    55 Cyril Magnin Street, SF, CA

    New York

    Dates
    November 16 – 20

    Courthouse
    U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y.
    500 Pearl Street, New York, NY

    Hotel
    Crowne Plaza Times Square
    1605 Broadway, New York, NY

    The Battle by the Bay

    October 5 – 9

    Courthouse
    U.S. District Court, N.D.Cal.
    450 Golden Gate Avenue
    San Francisco, CA

    Hotel
    Parc 55 Hilton
    55 Cyril Magnin Street
    San Francisco, CA

    Thursday, October 5

    5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Dinner Cruise
    Cruise is subject to demand.

    Friday, October 6

    7:00 AM – 1:45 PM
    Scrimmage rooms available
    at the Parc 55

    9:00 AM – 1:30 PM
    Empire Experience Event
    Details will be announced later in the year.

    2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Opening Ceremony
    Cyril Magnin Ballroom
    Parc 55

    2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    Blue Carpet Entrance

    2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Ceremony

    3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
    Empire Exchange & Coaches’ Meeting

    5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Ground Rules & Challenge Order

    5:30 PM
    Dinner
    Two (2) captains will pick up pre-ordered boxed meals from a designated room. Food may be eaten in a team’s sleeping rooms only; it may not be consumed in the lobby or a conference room.

    Saturday, October 7

    8:15 AM – 9:30 AM
    Report to Staging Area at Hotel

    Teams will take the Bay Area Rapid Transportation (BART) to travel to the Courthouse.
    BART tickets will be provided by Empire.
    Teams will be assigned a report time, a group and group leader.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 1
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 1
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness (“GW”) Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:15 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 2
    3:15 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    Round 2
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    3:30 PM – 3:50 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    As soon as possible
    Check-in with Empire for transport
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    Teams should advise Empire whether they’d like to travel back to the hotel unaccompanied, or with an Empire group leader.
    Teams should NOT leave the Courthouse without checking in with Empire first.

    Sunday, October 8

    8:15 AM – 9:30 AM
    Report to Staging Area at Hotel

    Teams will take the Bay Area Rapid Transportation (BART) to travel to the Courthouse.
    BART tickets will be provided by Empire.
    Teams will be assigned a report time, a group and group leader.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 3
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 3
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:15 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 4
    3:15 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    Round 4
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    3:30 PM – 3:50 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    As soon as possible
    Check-in with Empire for transport
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    Teams should advise Empire whether they’d like to travel back to the hotel unaccompanied, or with an Empire group leader.
    Teams should NOT leave the Courthouse without checking in with Empire first.

    8:30 PM – 11:30 PM
    Staff & Coach Appreciation Night
    Cable Car 55
    Parc 55

    Student Dance
    Cyril Magnin Ballroom
    Parc 55

    Monday, October 9

    8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
    Closing Ceremony
    Cyril Magnin Ballroom
    Parc 55

    11:15 AM – 2:15 PM
    Empire San Francisco Championship Round
    Ceremonial Courtroom
    U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal.

    2:45 PM
    Announcement of Empire San Francisco Champion
    Ceremonial Courtroom
    U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal.

    Note: Any team that qualifies to participate in the Championship Round is required to do so.

    If you are flying to and from Empire San Francisco, you should not book a return flight departing before 5:00 PM on Monday (10/9).

    The World Championship

    November 16 – 20

    Courthouse
    U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y.
    500 Pearl Street, New York, NY

    Hotel
    Crowne Plaza Times Square
    1605 Broadway
    New York, NY

    Thursday, November 16

    7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Scrimmage rooms available
    Crowne Plaza Times Square

    5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Dinner Cruise
    Cruise is subject to demand.

    Friday, November 17

    7:00 AM – 1:45 PM
    Scrimmage Rooms Available

    9:00 AM – 1:30 PM
    Empire Experience Event
    Details will be announced later in the year.

    2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Opening Ceremony
    Broadway Ballroom
    Crowne Plaza Times Square

    2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    Blue Carpet Entrance

    2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Ceremony

    3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
    Empire Exchange & Coaches’ Meeting

    5:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Ground Rules & Challenge Order

    5:30 PM
    Dinner
    Two (2) captains will pick up pre-ordered boxed meals from a designated room. Food may be eaten in a team’s sleeping rooms only; it may not be consumed in the lobby or a conference room.

    5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
    Empire Experience Event
    One World Observatory
    Details will be announced later in the year.

    Saturday, November 18

    8:15 AM – 9:30 AM
    Report to Staging Area at Hotel
    T.B.D

    Shuttle buses will transport teams between the hotel and the courthouse.
    Teams will be assigned a shuttle time, group, and group leader.
    Teams will have a different departure time on Saturday and Sunday.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 1
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 1
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness (“GW”) Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:45 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:45 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 2
    3:45 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Round 2
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    4:00 PM – 4:20 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    As soon as possible
    Check-in with Empire for transport
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    Teams should advise Empire whether they’d like to travel back to the hotel unaccompanied, or with an Empire group leader.
    Teams should NOT leave the Courthouse without checking in with Empire first.

    Sunday, November 19

    8:15 AM – 9:30 AM
    Report to Staging Area at Hotel
    T.B.D

    Shuttle buses will transport teams between the hotel and the courthouse.
    Teams will be assigned a shuttle time, group, and group leader.
    Teams will have a different departure time on Saturday and Sunday.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 3
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 3
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:45 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 4
    3:45 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Round 4
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    4:00 PM – 4:20 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    As soon as possible
    Check-in with Empire for transport
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    Teams should advise Empire whether they’d like to travel back to the hotel unaccompanied, or with an Empire group leader.
    Teams should NOT leave the Courthouse without checking in with Empire first.

    8:30 PM – 11:30 PM
    Staff & Coach Appreciation Night
    Broadway 49 Lounge
    Crowne Plaza Times Square

    Student Dance
    Times Square Ballroom
    Crowne Plaza Times Square

    Monday, November 20

    8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
    Closing Ceremony
    Broadway Ballroom
    Crowne Plaza Times Square

    11:15 AM – 2:15 PM
    Empire New York Championship Round

    2:45 PM
    Announcement of Empire New York Champion

    Note: Any team that qualifies to participate in the Championship Round is required to do so.

    If you are flying to and from Empire New York, you should not book a return flight departing before 5:00 PM on Monday (11/20).

    The Southern Showdown

    September 21 – 25

    Courthouse
    Clayton County State Court
    9151 Tara Boulevard, Jonesboro, GA

    Hotel
    Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center
    100 CNN Center NW
    Atlanta, GA

    Thursday, September 21

    All Day
    Scrimmage rooms available

    Friday, September 22

    7:00 AM – 1:45 PM
    Scrimmage Rooms Available

    9:00 AM – 1:30 PM
    Empire Experience Event
    Details will be announced later in the year.

    2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Opening Ceremony

    2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    Blue Carpet Entrance

    2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Ceremony

    3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
    Empire Exchange & Coaches’ Meeting

    4:30 PM
    Pizza

    4:45 PM – 5:30 PM
    Ground Rules & Challenge Order

    Saturday, September 23

    Shuttle buses will transport teams between the hotel and the courthouse.
    Teams will be assigned a shuttle time, group, and group leader.
    Teams will have a different departure time on Saturday and Sunday.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 1
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 1
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness (“GW”) Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:15 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 2
    3:15 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    Round 2
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    3:30 PM – 3:50 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    After Round 2, all teams should report to the designated staging area. You will be assigned to a shuttle bus on a first-come-first-served basis for transport back to the hotel.

    Sunday, September 24

    Shuttle buses will transport teams between the hotel and the courthouse.
    Teams will be assigned a shuttle time, group, and group leader.
    Teams will have a different departure time on Saturday and Sunday.

    9:00 AM – 10:20 AM
    Teams arrive at Court

    10:30 AM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 3
    10:30 AM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    10:45 AM – 1:45 PM
    Round 3
    Oral arguments will begin at 10:45 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    10:45 AM – 11:05 AM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
    Lunch
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    3:15 PM
    Pre-Trial Conference
    Assigned Courtroom for Round 4
    3:15 PM
    Guest Witness Introduction
    Room T.B.D.

    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    Round 4
    Oral arguments will begin at 3:30 while Guest Witnesses are preparing with their attorneys outside of the courtroom (either in a hallway or a separate room).

    3:30 PM – 3:50 PM
    Guest Witness Preparation
    The GW attorney and witness will enter the courtroom after the conclusion of the Pre-Trial
    Evidentiary Argument.

    As soon as possible
    Check-in with Empire for transport
    Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

    After Round 4, all teams should report to the designated staging area. You will be assigned to a shuttle bus on a first-come-first-served basis for transport back to the hotel.

    8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    Closing Ceremony
    Grand Ballroom
    Omni Hotel

    10:00 PM – 12:30 AM
    Dance
    Grand Ballroom
    Omni Hotel

    Monday, September 25

    9:15 AM – 12:15 PM
    Empire Atlanta Championship Round

    12:45 PM
    Announcement of Empire Atlanta Champion

    Note: Any team that qualifies to participate in the Championship Round is required to do so.

    If you are flying to and from Empire Atlanta, you should not book a return flight departing before 3:00 PM on Monday (9/25).

    COSTS & SCHOLARSHIPS

    Registration

    $2,005 Registration fee

    for

    14 # of attendees

    Your registration includes everything listed below for a team of 14.
    Click on a box to learn more.

    Case & Trials

    • Case & competition materials
    • Rules of evidence & procedure
    • Four (4) trials

    Ceremonies

    • Tickets for Opening Ceremony
    • Tickets for Closing Ceremony

    Meals

    • Opening Ceremony
    • Saturday lunch
    • Sunday lunch
    • Sunday dinner

    Court Shuttle

    • Shuttle to court from hotel (NY & ATL)
    • BART tickets to court from hotel (SF)

    T-Shirts

    • T-shirts feature your 2017 program logo on the front and your school’s name on the back!

    Souvenirs

    • Pens
    • Lanyards
    • Stress gavels
    • Programs

    Photos

    • Online access to professional trial photos of your team!

    Online Seminars

    • Available through our website

    Who counts as an attendee?

    Anyone you’d like! A student, coach, parent, or chaperone can all count as an attendee.

    My group is larger than 14. What do I do?

    You can easily purchase registration add-ons through Shop Empire. Click on the Large Groups option below.

    Other Costs

    Large Groups

    At Empire, we welcome additional students, friends and family members with open arms! We try to make our pricing for extra attendees (over 14) as manageable as possible, allowing you to select which amenities you’d like to purchase. When planning for your trip, please consider the below costs.

    • Meal (includes all 4) – $35 / person
    • T-shirts – $15 / person
    • Bus shuttle pass from hotel to court – $50 / person total (ATL & NY)
    • BART ticket from hotel to court – $15 / person total (SF)
    • Opening ceremony ticket – $5 / person
    • Closing ceremony ticket – $5 / person

    Hotel

    Please take note of the following!

  • Non-commuting teams are required to stay at the Empire hotel.
  • The prices below are listed on a per room per night basis and are inclusive of applicable occupancy taxes.
  • Double bed and king bed rooms are the same price.
  • A double bed room can hold up to 4 students.
  • Reservations must be made through Empire’s online reservation system, and not the hotel’s website.
  • Scrimmage rooms will be available for teams at the hotel for an additional cost. Pricing is not yet available.
  • +$10/guest porterage fee

    Program Hotel Price
    San Francisco Parc 55 $285 / room / night
    Atlanta Omni Atlanta $195 / room / night
    New York Crowne Plaza Times Square $310 / room / night

    Empire Experience Additions

    We’re excited to offer great Empire Experience events from which our 2017 teams can choose. Teams are encouraged to attend at least one event but are certainly not obligated to do so. All events are subject to the interest of our 2017 participating teams. We’ve included pricing below:

    San Francisco Atlanta New York
    Bay Dinner Cruise
    $90 / ticket
    Center for Civil & Human Rights
    T.B.A. – up to 14 tickets

    Harbor Dinner Cruise
    $90 / ticket
    Aquarium
    $25 / ticket
    One World Trade Center Tour
    $50 / ticket – includes transportation

    Are we required to stay at the Empire hotel?

    Yes, if you are not commuting to Empire each day. Local teams are not required to stay. Let us quickly explain why.

    First, we believe strongly that it’s a crucial part of the Empire experience. Students build camaraderie by interacting with each other at the hotel, where our ceremonies are held.

    Second, we’re able to receive a discounted rate on our rooms and event space because we guarantee the hotel a certain number of rooms. If we don’t meet our quota, then the organization will owe the hotel money!

    “Expanding our impact is more than just increasing the number of students that we reach, it means expanding the communities that we serve. Through our need-based scholarship initiative, Empire is taking the first step in our commitment to eliminate financial barriers to participation.” – Justin Matarrese, Executive Director

    Scholarships

    We don’t want where a student is born to determine whether she or he can participate in one of our programs. For the second year, Empire is offering three (3) need-based scholarships that will cover a school’s full registration fee ($2,005). Though a small step, Empire will continue to look for ways to increase our financial aid offerings.

    Scholarship Application Questions

    1. Please describe the population served by the school in general, and by the mock trial team in particular. Include the type of school district (rural; urban inner-city; metro status), ethnicity, and percentage of students on free/reduced price lunch. If known, include any relevant financial background information for your team members. All information provided will be held in strictest confidence.
    2. How much money will the school or district provide to fund team expenses if you are chosen to attend an Empire event?
    3. Has your team participated in private invitational competitions before? If so, which ones?
    4. While the scholarship will cover the Empire team tuition fee ($2,005), there are many additional costs that the team must cover: travel, hotels, some meals, some social events, souvenirs or other incidentals). Depending upon the size of your team and the venue, these costs are substantial. How do you plan to cover those costs? What are your plans for fund-raising or gaining additional sponsors?
    5. Depending upon the number of scholarship applicants, not all who apply will be granted an award. If you are not granted an award, how do you anticipate covering the costs of participation?
    6. Finally, please provide any additional details that will be helpful to our Scholarship Awards Committee in evaluating your application.
    • Aid is based on need. Empire may award more than one scholarship per site.
    • Interested teams must complete a supplementary application, accessible through the general app.
    • Deadline to apply for aid is June 1st.

    HOW TO APPLY

    • Application FAQs
      Click on question for answer
    • Why do you have an application?
    • What does the app entail?
    • Can I have more than one team compete at Empire?
    • How do I select the right program?
    • What’s your admissions criteria?
    • Is there an application fee?
    • What’s the application timeline?
    • When will we hear from you?

    3 Programs.
    1 Application.

    Through one single application, you can apply to one or all of Empire’s programs.

    Click through our Application FAQs to learn more or you can Apply Now

    We’re ready for you!

    Why do you have an application?

    No other mock trial program requires teams to complete an app so you may be wondering why we do. Here are three reasons.

    Demand > Supply
    We simply have more teams interested in our programs and/or a particular program than we have spots available. This helps us determine who to admit and to which site.
    Demonstrate Commitment
    Empire is hard. It requires a commitment from advisers and students. This is the first step for your school to demonstrate commitment. If you can’t submit an app and/or don’t want to, then Empire is probably not right for you.
    The Right Atmosphere
    Our programs are known for an atmosphere that’s rich with excitement, curiosity, respect and civility. We’re not just looking for any team, we’re seeking those that embrace our values. Our app gives us insight into your students.

    What does the app entail?

    The application has a coach section and a student section. The coach section requires a coach or adviser to fill out the team’s competitive history and respond to one essay question. The student section requires two students to respond to one essay question each. This year’s application is designed to give each team the freedom to show how it will benefit from participation in an Empire program and how its participation will benefit the entire community of teams.

    Competitive History
    This section is where you can tell us about how your team has fared in tournaments over the past 5 years. We ask you to report data from prior years so we can consider your entire body of work–for example, one “off” year won’t discount years of success.
    Coach requirement
    Coach’s Essay
    This section allows us to better understand how you will integrate Empire’s mission to educate, connect, and empower students into each aspect of your preparation and participation in an Empire program. There is no correct answer, but we assess your response based on your discussion of the opportunities and challenges associated with challenging case topics, the thoroughness of your teaching strategies to ensure that students get the most out of their experience, and your own unique perspectives on mock trial and/or teaching.
    Coach requirement
    Student Essay One
    The first essay question is designed to give the Empire Admission Committee an inside look at your team. We want to know, among other things, what makes your team tick. Be open and honest. There is no correct answer, but we assess your response based on your knowledge of Empire’s mission and how your team will benefit from that mission. Plus, what your team will do to contribute to the Empire community.
    Student requirement
    Student Essay Two
    The second essay question is about how your participation in mock trial generally, and Empire specifically, connects to the bigger picture. This is your chance to think broadly about your mock trial experience and about how you can use that experience to impact your own community. Your answer will be assessed based on your knowledge of Empire’s mission, the thoughtfulness of your discussion, and the unique insights that you offer.
    Student requirement

    Can I have more than one team compete at Empire?

    Yes! Each team will require a separate application; however, coaches won’t be required to re-answer the essay question.

    As you decide how to field your teams, please read the following guidance.

    You can send teams to more than one Empire program.

    There are a few important caveats:

    Rule (A) – No team may consist of more than four (4) students who have competed previously at an Empire program within the same calendar year.

    Rule (B) – A student may compete at a maximum of two (2) Empire programs per calendar year.

    These two (2) rules are new to 2017 and will codified by June 1. Let’s look at a couple of examples to see how they apply:

    1. A school fields a 10 student team at Empire Atlanta. One month later, they send five (5) of their students to compete at Empire San Francisco, while adding ten (10) new students. This is prohibited as they may only send four (4) students from their Atlanta team to San Francisco. See Rule (A).
    2. A school fields a 14 student team at Empire Atlanta. They send a second team of students to Empire San Francisco, which includes four (4) students from their Atlanta team. In November, they send a third team of students to Empire New York, which includes four (4) students from their Atlanta team who did not compete at San Francisco. This is permitted as it does not violate Rule (A) nor Rule (B).
    3. A school fields a team at Empire Atlanta. They field an entirely new team of students for Empire San Francisco (i.e. no students from the Atlanta roster compete at San Francisco). In November, they send a third team of students to Empire New York, which includes two (2) students from their Atlanta team and three (3) students from their San Francisco team. This is prohibited as no team may consist of more than four (4) students who have previously competed at an Empire program within the same calendar year.
      • This school decides, instead, to send one (1) student from their Empire San Francisco team and three (3) students from their Empire Atlanta team to Empire New York. This is permitted since they now have only four (4) students competing at Empire New York who competed at a previous Empire program in 2017; thus, they are no longer violating Rule (A).

    You can send two (2) teams to the same Empire program

    Your school may have two (2) separate groups / teams of students compete at a single Empire program, should the Admissions Committee determine that’s beneficial to both the organization and the respective school. Our decision will be based on application quality, demand for the particular city, and overall program strength. Given the demand and competitiveness of Empire New York, this scenario is more likely to occur in Atlanta and San Francisco.

    Currently, we are not allowing more than two (2) teams from one school to compete at a single program.

    Have questions or comments? Please feel free to contact us.

    How do I select the right program?

    We have three wonderful programs and they each have their own personality. When deciding which program or programs you’d like to attend, consider the following factors:

    Competitive Goals
    Are you looking for fine tuning in a more relaxed atmosphere (ATL or SF) or facing elite programs in a more competitive environment (NY)?
    Costs
    What’s your budget? Do you feel confident in your ability to fundraise? How far are you from the different program sites?
    Events
    Do any events at one program appeal to you more than another? Review our events closely before applying.

    As the old adage goes, a picture’s worth a thousand words. See what the Empire experiences look like firsthand at the Empire Photo Gallery!

    What’s your admissions criteria?

    The Empire Admissions Committee (“EAC”) is responsible for reviewing all applications that are submitted during the 2017 cycle. When making its decisions, the EAC considers the following criteria:

    • Quality of thought in student responses
    • Competitive history (weighed more heavily for New York)
    • Interest in the mission
    • Value that participation in an Empire program will bring to the team
    • Value that the team will bring to the Empire program
    • Geographic diversity

    We’re looking for teams who are looking to improve their skills in the courtroom but, also, hoping to join a global family that values respect, civility and tolerance above all else.

    Is there an application fee?

    Yes, it is $55 payable by credit card only.

    This fee is part of the $2,005 registration fee, not in addition to it.

    What’s the application timeline?

    Empire has a rolling admissions policy. Teams will be offered a spot in the 2017 field before being assigned to a particular program. Specific program placement (i.e. whether you’ve been assigned to NY or SF) won’t take place until late June. All deadlines refer to United States Eastern Standard Time.
    Starting March 1 Submit application w/ $55 non-refundable feel (credit card only)
    Rolling application decisions
    June 1 Scholarship applications due
    (teams that are applying for aid are required to submit their entire app by the deadline)
    June 18 Application period closes
    June 19 – 23 Program assignments and scholarship awards released
    June 30 Final date to confirm spot by submitting $1,000 non-refundable deposit only
    (credit card only—teams are encouraged to submit as soon as they’re accepted)
    July 18 Case released to teams that have submitted deposits
    Late application period opens, depending on availability of spots
    July 20 Initial hotel reservation due
    August 3 Submit balance of registration payment ($950)
    August 15 Late application period closes

    When will we hear from you?

    June 23 is the latest date you’ll hear from us. But we have a rolling admissions policy and may admit outstanding applicants before then.

    The EAC cannot provide updates on applications. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience!

    Apply Now

    Atlanta

    The Southern Showdown September 21 - 25

    San Francisco

    The Battle by The Bay October 5 - 9

    New York

    The World Championship November 16 - 20

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