Skip to main content
Release Date: 10/18/2019
Contact: Brandon Oland, 443.809.5908

Franklin High team finished 2nd in the Empire New York World Championship Invitational Mock Trial Tournament

TOWSON, MD — A team from Franklin High School finished second in the Empire New York World Championship Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, held Oct. 11 – 14 in New York City.

The tournament, now in its 13th year involved 38 teams from 22 states and five nations – Canada, China, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Empire New York program is the most prestigious of Empire’s three national mock trial competitions and is the most geographically diverse mock trial competition in the world.

Students on the Franklin Empire mock trial team were Nada Abdalla, Logan Dubel, Jacob Epstein, Lily Fleischer, Elise Glaser, Zach Hermann, Rosalind Marfo, Daisy Oberfeld, Rita Rozental, Matthew Rubinstein, Ethan Selko, Jaelen Seriki, and Jeremy Stein.

In addition to the team honors, Epstein received one of the top attorney awards, and Stein and Rubinstein received top witness awards. Rubenstein was the second ranked witness in the entire competition.

“Our team chemistry this year has been amazing.,” said team co-captain Oberfeld. “Everyone focuses on a good outcome for Franklin High school, as opposed to thinking about themselves. Every single person on the team is committed to working hard and doing well.”

During the tournament, each team plays four matches over two days of competition to win a chance to play in the finals. All the matches took place in the courtrooms of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Each match took about 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete. Each match consists of a trial put on by three attorneys and three witnesses from each team. During each trial, attorneys present opening statements, examine and cross examine witnesses, and present a closing argument.

This year, the case was a products liability action in which the plaintiffs claimed that toxic waste buried underneath a housing development caused a child to sustain, in utero, a severe case of dilated cardiomyopathy. The defendant construction company claimed that they could not reasonably have known of the existence of the toxic waste and that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by any exposure they might have had to toxic chemicals. The trials typically featured extensive expert witness testimony from students portraying environmental engineers, toxicologists, and fetal cardiologists.

The trials were based on an extensive record of witness statements, expert reports, photographs, and other exhibits that exceeded 200 pages. The trials were conducted in accordance with rules modeled on the Federal Rules of Evidence. Franklin students began working on the case during the summer before the school year.

In the four rounds of competition, Franklin competed against schools from California, Michigan, Colorado, and Illinois. Three of the schools were undefeated before they faced Franklin. The Franklin team won all four of its matches and all the judges’ ballots awarded for each of those matches. Franklin was the only team in the entire tournament to remain undefeated throughout the four rounds of general competition.

Franklin then participated in the championship match against a team from Venture Academy in Stockton, California. In a very close decision, Venture Academy prevailed. Franklin’s second place finish was the highest finish by any Maryland team in the 13 years of Empire competition.

“Getting to the championship for Empire New York was amazing,” said team co-captain Abdalla. “We had worked for weeks to perfect the argument for both sides of the case. Venture Academy and Franklin both put up an incredible fight; by the end everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting for the results. The results were called, and Venture High School won. Although we got second place, we were very proud of what we achieved. We had never been to the finals at Empire, and we had never been undefeated in this competition, and so making it to the finals was, no matter the outcome, a tremendous honor and achievement for us. “

The Franklin Empire mock trial team represents the Franklin Academy of Law. Led by social studies teachers Chris Lambert and Catherine Amos and attorney coachPatricia McHugh Lambert (a partner atPKLaw), the Franklin Academy of Law provides students with the chance to study law and law-related topics and to compete in mock trial and moot court competitions. This summer, Chris Lambert was honored by the American Lawyers Alliance as one of three 2019 Law-Related Education High School Teachers of the Year.

Participants have competed in the Maryland Invitational Moot Court Tournament as well as moot court tournaments at Duke University, Princeton University, and the Providence Foundation of Law & Leadership Moot Court Tournament in Denver, Colorado. Franklin students have won the Maryland Moot Court championship three times, placed second at Princeton, were semi-finalists at Duke, and won seven of 10 individual attorney awards given this year in Denver. Franklin teams have competed for the past three years at the national Empire mock trial “Southern Showdown” tournament in Atlanta and finished 6th (2017), 3rd (2018), and 5th (2019). Franklin’s school mock trial team finished second in the state of Maryland in 2016. Currently, Franklin High alumni are participating on college mock trial teams around the country. Three Franklin graduates were on the UMBC mock trial team that placed 8th in the country this year.

Visit the BCPS News Center and BCPS News Archive to explore more BCPS news!

Contact BCPS

Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

Contact Leadership

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

E-mail Dr. Williams

Follow @BCPS_Sup

©2019 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved.

Contact BCPS

twitter facebook Instagram Vimeo flickr BCPS Now Mobile App RSS Feeds BCPS Blog

Team BCPS Newsletter
Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

E-mail Dr. Williams

Follow @BCPS_Sup

Site Map | Accessibility

©2019 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved.