First Year Oral Arguments

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First Year Oral Arguments Powered By Docstoc
					C. Edwin Moore
1st Round:
Wednesday, September 9th
Thursday, September 10th

2nd Round:
Wednesday, September 16th
Thursday, September 17th
Reasons why it was a good
   idea to sign up . . .
• You learn to talk about the law
• Gain confidence with public speaking
• Networking – meet legal community and
other students
• Cash Prizes for the Finalists!
• Preview of Spring Semester’s First Year
Oral Arguments Competition.
• Forces you to buy a business suit
10 minutes per person
Appellants go first then the Appellees
1-2 minutes rebuttal for Appellant
10 minutes for feedback from Judges
You will be assigned a side of the
 argument for the 1st Round; you will
 argue the opposite side in Round 2.
Dress Professionally—this means a
Check-in 15 minutes before argument at
 table across from mailboxes (Be early!)
Wait outside room until you are called in
Write name on board once inside the room
Sit down until judges are ready


    Introduction     Body     Prayer
Begin each argument/rebuttal with ―May it
 please the Court?‖
Introduce yourself and co-counsel and
 who you represent
Reserve rebuttal time if Appellant
Tell the court what you want them to do:
  ―Today, this Court should affirm/reverse the
   holding of the 14th Circuit.‖

A short phrase that sums up the theory of
 your case
  ―Your honors, there are no magic words to
   explain to a suspect his Fifth Amendment
   privilege against self incrimination.‖
Roadmap (Issues)
 Tell the court what they are going to have to do and why
  they should do it.
    ―The Court should decide X for X number of reasons‖
 Compare:
    ―Today the Court must decide Mr. Door’s Fifth Amendment rights
     were violated because he was not given proper Miranda
    ―Today, the Court should decide Mr. Door’s Fifth Amendment
     Privilege against self incrimination was violated for three
        ―First, Mr. Door was never given proper Miranda warnings.
        Second, Mr. Door did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily
         waive his Miranda rights; and
        Third, it would not be overly burdensome for police officers to give
         more specific Miranda warnings.‖

State the facts from the perspective of
 your client.
Create a BRIEF story (30-45 seconds)
The judges may ask you to skip the facts,
 know where to head in your argument if
 this happens.

Don’t forget the procedural posture of
 the case:
How did the District Court rule? Why is
 that important
   ―The District Court denied Mr. Door’s motion
   to suppress. On appeal, the Fourteenth
   Circuit affirmed the District Court’s denial and
   upheld Mr. Door’s conviction.‖
The Argument

You should not read directly from the
 bench brief during your oral argument but
 you can (and should) use the arguments,
 structure and legal authority cited in the
 bench brief to organize your oral
Organize your argument according to the
 issues set forth in your roadmap.
The Argument – Using Legal
 An effective oral argument sets forth ideas and
  principles and uses legal authority to support
  and illustrate those ideas.
 Use the law to illustrate your point. Don’t let the
  law become your point.
 Refer to the court you are citing and the full
  name of the case the first time you refer to it.
  From that point on drop the court and shorten
  the name.
 Last chance to tell the Court what you want it to
  do and why
  Be strong
  Be concise
  Be brief
  Incorporate your theme
  Last sentence out of your mouth should either start or
   end with ―the lower courts order should be
   affirmed/reversed‖ (but not both)
When Time Goes By . . .

The Cardinal Rule: After time has expired,
 you may only continue to speak with the
 permission of the Judges.
When you see that time has expired,
 conclude your thought in the briefest
 manner possible
The Litany
 ―Your Honor, I see my time has expired . .‖
  ― . . . We respectfully request you reverse/affirm the
   court below‖

  ― . . .may I have a brief moment to conclude‖ (If
   granted, anything more than 10 seconds is not a
   ―brief moment‖)

  ― . . . May I address your honor’s question and have a
   brief moment to conclude.‖ (Use when Judge’s
   question runs into the end of your time)
 1 to 2 minutes (reserved at the beginning)
 Judges can ask questions
 You probably only have time to make one strong
  argument, so choose wisely.
 Rebut the Appellees’ strongest points:
    Listen to what the judges are questioning the Appellees’ about,
     and answer those questions from your perspective
    Point out why the Appellees’ argument leads to bad results or
     constitutes bad policy
    If Appellee relies heavily on one or two particular cases,
     distinguish those cases and explain why the appellees reliance
     is misplaced
Questions From the Judges
 Answer directly (―Yes, your honor‖ or ―No, your
  honor) even if you plan a qualified answer
 NEVER interrupt, even when a long-winded
  judge is stealing your time. It happens.
 If you do not understand the judge’s question,
  you can ask for clarification if necessary.
 If you disagree with a judge’s conclusion, be
  respectful and fully explain why.
   ―Respectfully your honor, I disagree….‖
Things to Do
 Maintain eye contact
 Speak slowly and clearly
 Breathe
 Have a conversation with the judges
 Advocate for your client
 Do not read. Use an outline when you deliver
  your argument
  You can write a full argument to prepare, but shrink
   it down to an outline for the actual presentation
Things NOT to Do
 Play with your clothes, hair, or pen
 Pace or shift weight
 Clutch the podium
 Say ―I believe,‖ ―We believe,‖ ―I think,‖ or ―We
 List Circuits
 Over gesture (don’t point at the judges)
 Use the words ―clearly‖
 Be over dramatic, this is not a jury trial.
 Cop an attitude
After the Preliminary Rounds . . .

12-16 top students will advance to the
The semifinals will take place on
 September 30th
Four students will advance to the Finals
Final Round

Top students will advance to the final
The final round will be October ?(7th or 8th)
The arguments will be made to the Iowa
 Court of Appeals judges
The selection of Moot Court/Mock Trial
 teams is based, in part, on your
 performance in these rounds