Six Things You Won’t Expect Will Happen at Empire

By Camille Wyss

What do you expect to do at a mock trial competition? Maybe make an objection or two, dominate a witness on cross examination, or earn a place in the top ten. But what about making a friend from a different continent, seeing a whale shark, or riding a boat under the Golden Gate Bridge? Those experiences might be unique to Empire. Mockers, it’s time to expect the unexpected at your Empire weekend:

Explore a new city

Whether you’re going to New York, Atlanta, or San Francisco, you’ll have the chance to explore an awesome, possibly brand new, city. As part of your Empire experience you will have a chance to explore your host city. You’ll cruise the New York Harbor, visit the Georgia aquarium, or stroll the halls of historic California courts. Aside from the Empire programs, be sure to take a night off from scrimmaging and go see a broadway show, watch a Braves game, and indulge in some Ghirardelli chocolate.

Collect dozens of knick knacks

A magnet from Arkansas, a pin from Ireland, a key chain from Korea, oh my! At the pin exchange you’ll have the chance to mix with all the other Empire teams, and exchange mementos from your hometowns. The pin exchange is not only a great place to mingle with other Empire competitors, it’s also an excellent way to collect treasures from around the world without having to leave the comforts of the Marriott ballroom.

Compete in gorgeous courthouses

We’ve all been to those horribly awkward tournaments held in high school libraries or classrooms. We all know the pain of preparing our hearts out for a competition that culminates in a final round in a cafeteria. Rest assured, you can expect better from your Empire weekend. Empire is held in real, giant and beautiful courthouses right in the heart of their respective cities. No matter if you’re in New York, San Francisco or Atlanta you can expect some great skyline views between rounds.  

Make a new friend

Empire is a competition, so naturally everyone else there is the enemy, right? Wrong. Empire is one of the best places to make lasting friendships and connections. Mock trial students are often charismatic, funny and smart people, essentially making Empire a convention full of friendly people that you have something in common with. It’s okay to be a fierce competitor, but save it for the courtroom, not for opening ceremonies.

Bring you closer to your team

You’ve probably already spent hundreds of hours with your team in preparation for Empire and are either completely sick of them or completely inseparable. Even if you hate your team now, the Empire weekend will bring you together in a way you never imagined. You’ll sit together biting your nails between rounds waiting for round assignments, you’ll dance your hearts out together on the cruise, and by the end of the weekend you will be a very small, very close mock family.

Buy some cool clothes

You’re probably used to getting a boring, ugly, crew-neck cotton t-shirt at every mock trial tournament you go to. The shirt will inevitably become a rag or something you only wear when you have literally nothing else. But don’t expect to find that same ugly, cotton shirt at Empire. Empire is home to the world’s best collection of mock trial themed apparel, I mean where else in the world could you find sweatpants that say “OBJECTION” across the butt?

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