Thursday, September 26, 2013

Once again: Preparing for Oral Argument

The Recorder's "In Practice" series continues its appellate slant with an article by Steve Hirsch of Keker & Van Nest, Preparing for Oral Argument, that also recommends David Frederick's book Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy: Mastering Oral Argument.
  • Comply with deadlines and rules for submitting new authority.
  • Review the briefs with a fresh and open mind and jot down questions or issues that jump out.
  • Review the record.
  • Prepare a "podium binder" that contains your "mantra" (a short distillation of your case), your opening, your must-say argument bullet points, "module" outlines for each major issue (with key legal and record citations).
  • Create a case chronology.
  • List key record citations; include key documents and statutes.
Steve concludes with "do whatever you need to do to sleep well the night before." Sound advice, of course, but note that many authorities also stress that it's even more important to have a good night's sleep the night before the "night before."