Empire Moot Court Team Brings Home Trophy

April 24, 2018

Empire Moot Court Team Brings Home Trophy


SANTA ROSA, CA – Empire College School of Law captured first place in oral argument at the 2018 Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court Competition held April 14-15, 2018 in Los Angeles. In addition, team members Michelle Novi and Stephanie Ransom were recognized for individual excellence in appellate advocacy for their oral arguments, Ms. Novi as the #1 oralist in the competition.

Twelve law schools sent teams to the competition, including Loyola (which placed second), Hastings, U.C. Berkeley, McGeorge, and Golden Gate. The Traynor competition is California’s oldest and largest moot tournament. This is the 13th year since 2000 that Empire’s team has placed at the competition.

Team member Michelle Novi is a fourth-year law student who will be sitting for the Bar Exam in July 2018. A third-year student, Stephanie Ransom and Ms. Novi were both studying for their Law School final exams and prepping for the Traynor competition during the last two weeks of practice. The team was coached by Professor Connie Burtnett, a criminal defense attorney.

“The team’s achievement reflects the incredible effort invested by the students individually and as a team, as well as the hard work and dedication of Professor Burtnett, who put in countless hours coaching and encouraging the team as they prepared for the competition,” stated J. Michael Mullins, Dean of Empire College School of Law.

Dean Mullins added, “During the final weeks of practice, local attorneys and judges volunteered their time to serve as judges, adding their perspective and insight to help hone the team’s skills. We are very fortunate to have the support of the local Bar and use of the Superior Courtrooms in our building to prepare for the competition.”

Diane Aqui, Esq.

(Class of 2001)
Empire College gave me the opportunity to earn a Juris Doctorate while still working full time in my “first” career as an engineer. The professors are all practicing attorneys and judges and it is clear that they love what they do---guiding, teaching and mentoring a new group of potential lawyers, who one day will be their peers and practice alongside them in the legal community. I think one of my favorite cases since I graduated in 2001 was against a former Empire professor and I walked away with a win!

Andrew Conway, Esq.

(Class of 2014)
I decided to go to law school after interning for the Diversion program for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office while I was in college. Empire provided me with friends who became colleagues, and Professors who became the Judges I appear in front of today. I have always wanted to work with the law and youth and I now manage a Dependency contract for Mendocino County, which has become my dream career as I get to do the exact job I wanted when I decided to go to law school. I definitely have my dream job thanks to Empire and their exceptional professors.

James V. Sansone, Esq.

(Class of 2006)
I picked Empire College because I had to juggle between family obligations and a fulltime job. Empire was the only option that allowed me to effectively manage my work and family obligations and still pursue a law degree. Thanks to Empire, I was able to pass the bar exam on my first try and begin a new, exciting, and lucrative legal career that I love.