Where are you now?
Currently I am a senior at Dos Pueblos High School. This is my fourth year on the Mock Trial team and I am now a captain and the Prosecution closing attorney.
How, if at all, did the Empire help you get there?
Empire gave me a huge boost of confidence both in the performance and legal aspects of Mock Trial. The California High School cases are very simple: the affidavits are short, the facts are simple, the witnesses cannot have accents or costumes, and the Rules of Evidence only include ten or so objections. On the contrary, Empire cases are extraordinarily complex, the witness roles are so much more fun with longer affidavits and the opportunity of accents and costumes, and the attorneys get more time to put on a case before the jury. Working on the highly complex Empire cases with the expanded Rules of Evidence gave me confidence once I got back to California because I knew that I had tackled far more difficult cases and rules at Empire.
What’s your favorite Empire moment?
My favorite moment is probably the competition director’s least favorite moment. At Empire 2012, the same week as the competition, Hurricane Sandy hit New York. It was a doubly exciting day for me when Sandy hit because not only was it my first hurricane ever, it was also the day my team competed in the Empire championship round. As Sandy raged on for the next couple of days, all the teams were cooped up in the hotel and there was a tremendous sense of camaraderie between the teams. Everyone hung out in the lobby for basically four days straight and we all got to know each other really well and bonded over the fact we could all say “I survived Sandy.”
How would you describe the Empire to someone that has never been?
Empire is the only competition that I have been to where the friends I made there were as good as the competition. What I mean by that is at most tournaments the other teams are either really fun and social but aren’t very strong competition; or they are super fierce competitors, but outside the courtroom all they want to talk about is what happened in the courtroom and practice. Empire is unique because it attracts the teams that are not only fantastic competitors, but also truly great people who like to have a good time.