Study the Record – Most appeals are fact-driven; therefore, a thorough working knowledge of the record is critical.
Know the Correct Standard of Review – This will dictate both what you argue, and how you present it.
Think About Your Presentation – If appellant, decide what you will emphasize (generally, you should present your strongest argument first); if appellee, put yourself in shoes of opponent, and try to anticipate what she will argue.
Outline Your Argument – Obviously, this is easier if you are appellant than if you are appellee, but you should prepare at least a rough outline even if appellee.
Prepare a Brief Opening and Closing – Prepare and memorize a brief opening and closing (three or four sentences each), but do not attempt to memorize a set speech.
Anticipate the Hard Questions – And be prepared to address them.
Check out the Panel – If possible, go and watch some arguments the day before yours; pay particular attention to how the panel interacts with those arguing, and each other.
Get to the Courthouse Early – Allow for unexpected delays, changes in order of arguments, etc.
Dress Professionally – What you wear should not detract from what you have to say.
Communicate Clearly and Concisely – Your task is twofold, to inform and to persuade; you will not succeed at either unless you follow this tip.
Do Not Read Your Argument
Do Not Make a Jury Argument – Appellate courts are in the business of correcting errors of law.
Welcome Questions – These will generally reflect the judges’ concerns, and a good answer may make the difference between winning and losing.
Act Professionally – Treat the lower tribunal, your opponent and the judges as you would like to be treated–with respect.
When You’re Finished, Sit Down – Simply because you’ve been allotted a certain amount of time doesn’t mean you must fill it.
Use Rebuttal Wisely – If appellant, always reserve time for rebuttal (should almost never be more than 3 minutes); use the time to make one or two quick, strong points in response to appellee’s argument; if you have nothing good to say, waive it.
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