The Empire Mock Trial Association, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in New York City. EMTA is dedicated to promoting legal education at both the high school and collegiate level, and strives to teach students about trial advocacy. We achieve this initiative by providing a platform for both American and international students to partake in a mock trial invitational. EMTA hosts an annual international mock trial tournament for high school students in New York during the month of October, and assists NYU’s Mock Trial Team in hosting a collegiate tournament in January. Our staff has also traveled across the country and world teaching workshops on mock trial, including a trip to Seoul, South Korea last February.
Mock trial is an extra-curricular activity used by middle schools, high schools, universities and Bar Associations worldwide to educate young people about a country’s legal system. Students are provided with a fictitious fact pattern and are charged with the task of preparing cases for both the prosecution (or plaintiff) and the defendant (or accused). After analyzing the case, students prepare direct and cross-examinations of fact and expert witnesses, anticipate evidentiary arguments and develop opening and closing statements to harmonize the evidence with the governing law. Students also learn the rules of evidence, which closely track the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence, and case law applying those rules. Additionally, students prepare creative portrayals for a myriad of different witness roles; past portrayals include a 13 year old kidnapping victim, police officer, a convicted murderer, crime scene investigator and film producer.
Not only does mock trial educate students about the law, but it provides them with invaluable lifelong skills. Public speaking, extemporaneous arguing, critical thinking, logical reasoning, effective writing and the ability to work well in a team are all skills garnered through partaking in mock trial.
EMTA strongly believes in mock trial as a pedagogical tool. Our mission is two-fold:
(i) Teach both domestic and international students about the American legal system, while giving them the opportunity to learn from their peers’ diverse cultural backgrounds, and the great city in which they’re litigating — New York.
(ii) Teach highly competitive, ambitious students that the desire to succeed — to “win” a mock trial round — shall never undermine values such as respect and civility.
The Empire Mock Trial Association, Inc. was founded in 2007 by Justin Matarrese and his father Gregory P. Matarrese, Esq. The organization’s original goal was to raise money for the Tottenville High School (“THS”) Mock Trial Team in Staten Island, New York and was named the “THS Mock Trial Association.” While EMTA continues to actively supports THS, its initiatives have greatly expanded since its inception. It was re-named the Empire Mock Trial Association in 2009.
EMTA’s Invitational is the only American mock trial tournament to host schools from Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. We have also hosted schools from Australia and South Korea.