“So what do you do when you’re in Southeast Asia just starting a two-week vacation and you get 30 days’ notice that you have been set for not one but two oral arguments before the 7th Circuit in the same week?” Steve Novack answers this question in the “Closing Argument” column of the February 2013 Chicago Lawyer magazine. Read More.
“The first one is scheduled for the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. Add to the mix, plans to spend that weekend in St. Louis (where mom still lives), with your wife, children and grandchildren.”
“Do you panic? Cut your vacation short? Cancel St. Louis? Get another lawyer to handle one of the arguments? Except for a momentary panic (and maybe some whining), the answer is none of the above.” Instead the answer is three words: “preparation preparation, preparation.” Mr. Novack said in his 40-year career, “I have learned many valuable appellate argument lessons.” He recommends six steps to follow “whether it’s your first or hundredth argument.”
The steps are: (1) master the record; (2) learn the case law; (3) outline your argument; (4) do a moot court to help anticipate questions; (5) get comfortable with the court room; and (6) watch your panel in action.
In the time Mr. Novack was preparing for the first two arguments, he learned that he would would be arguing before the 7th Circuit for a third time in 50 days. The argument took place before the magazine was published, but, Mr. Novack, said, “you can be sure that I prepared, prepared, prepared.”
For more information about the column or Novack and Macey LLP, contact Mr. Novack at 312-419-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.