Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Advice about preparing for oral argument from a former judge

This month's The Woman Advocate column in the ABA Section of Litigation magazine provides tips from a former judge turned litigator on how to prepare for oral argument.  While most of it is common sense - know the cases, know the record, etc. - it serves as a nice primer from a very credible source for 1Ls looking for guidance on how to prepare for their moot court arguments this spring.  An excerpt:

Oral Argument: Facing the Challenge and Embracing the Opportunity

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On the day of oral argument, review your notes and your prepared remarks. Get to court early so you are calm and collected. If you are the appellant, approach the lectern with a paragraph introduction ready to go. If you are the respondent, respond to the appellant’s oral argument—and where necessary the appellant’s reply brief arguments—within the context of your “story” or theme. Maintain eye contact with all the judges as much as possible. Be respectful. Don’t ever interrupt a judge. Don’t fail to answer a question directly and immediately. Welcome questions as the beginning of a conversation with the judges that is the best and most meaningful part of oral argument.

 

Focus on the judges, their body language and their questions. Your preparation will mean that you will not need to search frantically through your brain to figure out the answer to the question. Instead, you will know the answer and can devote your thoughts to the purpose of the question, the best way to frame the answer, and the means to segue from the answer to another point that needs to be made. . . .  [S]um up, and remind the court of the relief or remedy that you have requested.

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 Read the full column here.

(jbl).

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2014/03/advice-about-preparing-for-oral-argument-from-a-former-judge.html

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