LAYING DOWN THE LAW

Local “legal eagles” ought to be on guard.

  • Monday, April 14, 2008 5:31pm
  • News

Sisters Isabelle

Local “legal eagles” ought to be on guard.

Two sisters from Redmond, Isabelle and Emily Albi, are headed to the National YMCA Youth and Government Mock Trial competition, May 9-11 in Wilmington, Del.

The girls attend Seattle Prep, where Isabelle is a junior and member of the school’s varsity mock trial team. Emily’s a sophomore and is on the junior varsity team.

At the Washington State Mock Trial competition, held March 28-30 in Olympia, Isabelle was named “Top Lawyer” for the final round of role-playing. Each team did two rounds representing the prosecution and two rounds representing the defense, they explained.

“The judges were real attorneys — they rate everything you do and decide who wins or loses,” said Emily. “They’re looking for someone who’s a lot more polished, really commanding and clear about what they’re saying.”

Isabelle added, “They’re also looking at your depth of knowledge, especially knowing the rules of (what you can or can’t use as) evidence.”

Cases argued in the mock trials are fictional but based on realistic scenarios. At the state competition, they examined a “cold case” from 1994 — “Was it a murder or a suicide?” they said.

“It was the State of Washington versus Jesse Herring. He was a lawyer accused of murdering a divorce client. He was investigated in ‘94 and they reopened the case in 2007 with new DNA evidence,” said Isabelle.

The case they’ll argue at the national level was just released to participants a few days before The Reporter’s interview on April 2.

“It takes place in Delaware and involves insider trading,” said Isabelle.

“A Middle Eastern company is trying to buy an American company. The American company alleges that the Middle Easterners are terrorists and refuses to sell to them. The Middle East company denies it and they’re suing the other company,” she continued.

The packet of information about the case includes 75 pages of witness testimonies, plus maps and photos of key locations and other documents that the mock lawyers must study in grueling detail.

It’s a lot of work, but the sisters are clearly excited. They said their mock trial class meets every other school day — during their only elective period at Seattle Prep — and Thursdays are their favorite day because they get to practice at the courthouse in downtown Seattle.

Isabelle, who’s also on the chess team at Seattle Prep, knows she “definitely wants to be a lawyer.” Emily, who’s on the school’s softball team, said she’s leaning toward a business career but likes that the mock trial experience “really helps you learn to speak in public.”

They get a kick out of watching TV’s “Law and Order” and picking it apart. Emily noted, “You see what is or isn’t real — what you really can or can’t do in a court of law.”

For information about the YMCA Youth and Government Washington State programs, visit www.youthandgovernment.org.

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