What to do Before, During and After Oral Argument: Averting Disaster
Presenting an oral argument in the Seventh Circuit (or any other court of appeals) can be a challenging task: in the Seventh Circuit, the composition of the panel is not disclosed until the morning of argument; you frequently receive only ten minutes to argue, and even then, questions from the panel can consume most of that time. You often cannot predict the questions and sometimes not even the areas of questioning. And if that is not bad enough, sometimes a judge will ask a question that reveals the central weakness in your arguments, or worse, ask a questions you simplete do not know how to answer. Just averting disaster at oral arguments can be an achievement. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that can help not only avert disaster but advance your case.