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 How to Prepare for Oral Argument, by Sam Glover, Lawyerist Blog


Oral argument is one of the most exciting parts of litigation, and only a few lawyers are really good at it. But even if you aren’t a naturally talented presenter, you can still improve. The important thing is to get away from your outline and use a more ‘modular’ approach to oral argument.

Many lawyers — especially those new to law practice — prepare for oral argument the same way, by creating an outline and rehearsing as they would for a speech. They may prepare for questions by talking through the issues with a colleague, but this does not usually result in effective oral argument. What it does result in is a stiff argument, awkward recovery after answering questions, and an ineffective presentation overall.

That’s because oral argument is so much more dynamic than an outline — even if you have a ‘cold’ bench. In order to prepare for dynamic argument, you need a more dynamic approach than an outline and a few run-throughs. . . .