The California Appellate Law Podcast

How to Prepare for Oral Argument

October 04, 2023 Tim Kowal & Jeff Lewis Season 1 Episode 103
The California Appellate Law Podcast
How to Prepare for Oral Argument
Show Notes

Have an appellate oral argument coming up? We discuss tips shared by top appellate attorneys how to prepare for and give oral arguments. Some tips include:

🗣️ Anticipate the panel’s questions when you can, but…

🗣️ …be prepared to respond when you don’t know the answer.

🗣️ Be prepared to answer: “What is your rule” for answering the key statutory or legal question.

🗣️ Give direct answers to the panel’s questions.

🗣️ Don’t read your argument. The judges have enough of what you’ve written. Now they want to hear what you say.

🗣️ Give a different spin—don’t just repeat what you said in briefing.

🗣️ Concede weak arguments.

🗣️ Just be a friend of the court: be polite, don’t interrupt, and try to help the court do its job solving the problems in your case.

Kyla Dayton’s biography and LinkedIn profile.

Appellate Specialist Jeff Lewis' biography, LinkedIn profile, and Twitter feed.

Appellate Specialist Tim Kowal's biography, LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, and YouTube page.

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The California Appellate Law Podcast thanks Casetext for sponsoring the podcast. Listeners receive a discount on Casetext Basic Research at The co-hosts, Jeff and Tim, were also invited to try Casetext’s newest technology, CoCounsel, the world’s first AI legal assistant. You can discover CoCounsel for yourself with a demo and free trial at

Other items discussed in the episode: