I had my first oral argument yesterday. It was a ‘practice‘ argument in front of my legal writing professors, but still formal enough to require a suit and a leather folder. Fancy. I know.
The real argument is next week. We will argue before clerks who will act as “guest judges.”
I am lucky enough to be paired with someone who has the same understanding of the assignment: We both view the oral argument as a “conversation with the court” and not a gunfight at the judicial O.K. Corral.
We “served” each other with updated briefs, and kept the other aware of our prep time. This is why we addressed the same issues and didn’t talk past each other in court. No blood letting, or bitchyness. Our reputations are intact.1
Other students aren’t so lucky. The worst rumor is that a student2 has spent 10-hours- per-minute preparing for the oral argument. It’s a 10 minute argument… so yeah, that’s 100 hours. I refuse to believe that. Because, well, that’s sad.3
Although the oral argument is was a lot of fun, I am still petitioning journals instead of applying to moot court. I think a journal will let me explore the academic side of law.
I figure I can get my practical experience through internships and volunteering. And besides, if both of the journals I petition for reject me, I’ll end up in the general moot court anyway. So there’s a chance I’ll have another oral argument sooner than I think.
1 The people who get into nasty, unnecessarily competitive bitch-fights with opposing counsel are ridiculed accordingly. I think part of performing well in law school, at least at UMinnesota, is not alienating your peers with your drama.
3 I’m all about being thoroughly prepared, but there are so many better uses for 100 hours worth of time, ie, outlining, networking, working out, having a life…etc. Plus I doubt an attorney (esp. in a Criminal law case like ours) has 100 hours to practice a 10 minute oral argument, unless it’s before the Supreme Court…even then…and its a pass/fail course by the way.