Thursday, December 8, 2016

Preparing via moot courts

For pointers on oral argument preparation via moot courts, see today's Law360 article Practice Arguments for Real Appeals by former Florida appellate judge Gerald Cope.
No preparation for oral argument is as valuable as a moot court in which you're interrogated by lawyers as familiar with your case as the court is likely to be. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is so effective in bringing to your attention issues that have not occurred to you and in revealing the flaws in your responses to issues you have been aware of.

As former Third Circuit Judge Timothy Lewis and co-author Nancy Winkelman put it, "Oral advocacy is an art. But similar to the art of hitting a baseball, it requires extensive practice and some idea of what a pitcher is about to throw."
He discusses a common moot court format:
  • First, the advocate presents an initial argument without interruption. The panel may want to comment on its logic, persuasiveness or sequence of points made.
  • Second, the advocate makes the presentation again, this time with interruption by questions from the moot panel. The session continues until the moot panel runs out of questions.
  • Third, there is a roundtable discussion between the advocate and moot panel about what aspects of the oral argument worked, what didn't work, and what improvements or modifications may be needed.

Speak of proper preparation, if you're the target of an appealable sanctions order (and that means, 'you' as counsel), you need to appeal in your own name (not your client's name). Otherwise, appeal dismissed, as here:
In short, plaintiff lacks standing to challenge the sanctions order, because sanctions were awarded only against plaintiff’s counsel. Because plaintiff’s counsel did not file a separate notice of appeal and was not named as a party in plaintiff’s notice of appeal, we are without jurisdiction to review the sanctions order.