"You know your case with absolute confidence and when a justice says something that seems incorrect, you say it," says Sidley Austin's Carter Phillips.
Some advocates cushion the response with the preface, “With all respect.” Others avoid “wrong” and substitute for that harsher word, “I disagree, your honor.”
David Frederick said it’s important to correct any misapprehension a justice might have about an important issue in the case “as quickly and succinctly” as possible. “The compression of time at an oral argument and the intensity of the exchanges can sometimes cause an advocate to be more direct than one would be in a normal conversation,” Frederick said. “You’ve got to get to your point or else it just gets lost in the whole moment and momentum and the point you’re trying to make just evaporates.”