Empire Mock Trials NYC
During the previous academic year, a group of Transition Year Students took part in the 'Public Access to Law' Mock Trial Competition in Dublin. The girls were fantastic and placed in the top four, gaining themselves a place in the Empire International Competition in New York City in October this year.
After putting in some serious work over the summer, learning their case and witness statements and feeling the heat under cross examination, 13 girls (Kayona, Simi, Emma, Aine, Alva, Beth, Heather, Liz, Riley, Victoria, Amy, Sanaa, Alannah) travelled to New York on 10th October, accompanied by Ms. Fanagan and Ms. Winn. Below are the girls' accounts and photos of this incredible experience.
The Stardust Diner
After a long flight to Newark, New Jersey, a bus ride to New York City, and checking into our hotel, we finally managed to experience New York. For dinner, we made reservations at the Stardust Diner, an exciting restaurant filled with singing waiters and spontaneous performances. Our jet-lagged group enjoyed singing along to classics, such as, “Somebody To Love” and “Part of Your World”, although we were most likely the only guests singing. After a night full of waffle fries, chicken sandwiches, and an unexpected (yet brief) exchange with another party during a Grease medley, we eventually left the diner and headed to our hotel.
We obviously couldn’t go to Manhattan without seeing a Broadway show! Our pick was the film-turned-musical, Mean Girls. We spent the night at the edges of our seats, laughing at jokes (usually made by one of the characters, Damien), drinking the Regina George mocktail, and remembering to keep the reusable cup it was served in (very fetch). An incredible night, to say the least.
By Victoria Rojas
Court experience (the serious stuff)
The mock trial competition was held in the Southern Federal Court of New York.
We started off on Friday with an opening ceremony where all the national anthems were sung and the pairings for the next day were decided. We were challenged by Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School. After that we got a chance to mingle with all the teams and exchange little trinkets we had brought and make friends.
We ended up becoming really good friends with a team from Michigan. The next day we started bright and early at 8am. An American school bus took us to the courthouse where we competed in 2 trials. We were defence in the morning and plaintiff in the afternoon. Each trial was about 3 hours long and we all played different roles. We got a chance to do the POA or pre trial oral arguments. These were legal arguments to allow in a scientific study to trial. The judge would question the presenting attorneys on both sides and they had to convince the judge. Our case was about a young boy who got a heart problem from chemicals found in his apartment complex. We had to determine if his heart disease was a proximate cause of the chemical in the apartment or not. We did another two trials on the Sunday! We ended the competition with a chat to a retired federal judge. To round off the weekend, we attended the closing ceremony where all the prizes were awarded and the final 2 teams were chosen. It was a great experience and a chance for us to see the difference between Irish and American law.
By Sanaa Kashif and Beth Doherty
Fun in NYC
On Monday we had a chance to do some sight-seeing around New York. This gave us all a chance to explore Times Square, Broadway and Central Park (before spending most of our money in the Fifth Avenue sales!!). After this fun day of exploring, we had dinner in Planet Hollywood. This restaurant was filled with movie memorabilia and the desserts were unreal. After this delicious meal, we were practically rolling out the door! As it was our last night in NYC, we decided to do something special. And what’s more special than ice skating in Rockerfeller centre with your friends? Even though most of us spent our time face flat on the ice, it was a lovely end to an amazing trip.
We were all so sad to leave New York as we had made many great memories, and we are so grateful to Ms Fanagan and Ms Winn for looking after us and making it such an enjoyable trip!
By Kayona Alhassan