Meet Our Staff  

Justin Matarrese

Founder & Executive Director
Brooklyn, New York

Justin’s passion for legal education can be traced back to the halls of Tottenville High School in Staten Island, NY. Over the last decade — first as a competitor, then as a coach — Justin has established the Tottenville mock trial program’s preeminence in the state. His students have appeared in 7 New York City Championship Rounds and captured 4 New York City Championships. In 2008, they placed second in the state; in 2009, they were crowned New York State Champions out of 525 schools statewide; and in 2013 they finished third in the state.

Justin also actively participated in collegiate mock trial at New York University. As a competitor, he served as president of the mock trial organization during his junior and senior years, leading the team to fourth and sixth place national finishes while capturing multiple Attorney Awards along the way. As coach, Justin led NYU to its first ever National Championship in 2010, defeating perennial-favorite Harvard University in the finals. In 2011, NYU again reached the national Final Trial, becoming the eighth school in collegiate mock trial to garner consecutive final round appearances. The American Mock Trial Association — the governing body of collegiate mock trial — honored him as one of its mock trial coaches of the year in both 2010 & 2011, awarding him with the prestigious Reynoldson honor.

Justin received a Bachelor of Arts in History from NYU, a Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University (“GW”) School of Law and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from GW’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy.  During his time in graduate school, Justin worked in the Domestic Violence & Elder Abuse Division of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the National Security Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.  Justin earned the distinction of Fellow with Education Pioneers.  In this capacity he was given the opportunity to apply his skills for an education nonprofit in Houston, Texas.

Justin credits mock trial for igniting his passion for law; his students for inspiring him to create Empire Mock Trial; his cousin, Dan, for his support and mentorship; and his friends, especially “DGO,” Tobias, Paul, Dr. Scarpulla, Dr. Kanjo, the “180,” and Justin (his original coach) for helping shape the person he is today.


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