Meet Our Family  

Shaun Kleber

Henry W. Grady High School
Atlanta, GA, USA

Years at Empire: 2010, 2011

Mock trial has been the most influential factor in developing some of the most important skills I have today--public speaking, analytical reading and thinking, working with others...

Where are you now?

Sophomore at the University of Georgia.

How, if at all, did the Empire help you get there?

Mock trial in general has been the most influential factor in developing some of the most important skills I have today–public speaking, effective and persuasive writing, analytical reading and thinking, working with others…the list goes on. The Empire gave me an opportunity to develop those skills with more complex cases than the state cases I was used to, in a new setting, with new judges, and with a level of competition that definitely brought out the best of everyone involved. Competing at the Empire added an extra level of depth to all those mock trial skills that have helped me so much, even beyond the courtroom.

What’s your favorite Empire moment?

I’m going to stretch the definition of “moment” and say the whole 2010 championship round. I’m in my sixth year of mock trial, and that still sticks out as one of the best–if not the best–rounds of mock trial I’ve ever competed in. Both teams were clearly evenly matched and were having a great time. It didn’t feel like a bitter fight for a trophy but rather the culmination of months of effort by both teams, and we were all just there to have a good time. It was challenging, intense, smooth, and fun–everything we crazy mockers look for in a round.

How would you describe the Empire to someone that has never been?

It is a convention of crazy people. You’ll find people talking to walls and muttering to themselves on the subway about defendants and statutes. You might see small groups of people in suits doing some sort of war rituals outside of courtrooms. But then you’ll also see them on a cruise in the Hudson River dancing and having a great time. And exchanging gifts from their home states and countries just hours before intensely cross examining them. It’s the perfect blend of intense competitors who are all crazy enough about mock trial to start working on it during the summer but also want to have fun in New York City. It’s a competition without the level of stress and pressure as Nationals but with people who are all incredibly passionate about mock trial and want to better themselves and others. So yes, it’s a convention of crazy people, but the kind of crazy only fellow mockers can appreciate.


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