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Oral Advocacy Workshop. Brought to you by… The Moot Court Board. Agenda. Purpose of Meeting Professor Mounts Upcoming Schedule Logistics & Format How to Prepare Mock Argument Future Moot Court Opportunities Questions?. The Purpose. Transition from Written Brief to Oral Argument

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oral advocacy workshop

Oral Advocacy Workshop

Brought to you by…

The Moot Court Board

  • Purpose of Meeting
  • Professor Mounts
  • Upcoming Schedule
  • Logistics & Format
  • How to Prepare
  • Mock Argument
  • Future Moot Court Opportunities
  • Questions?
the purpose
The Purpose
  • Transition from Written Brief to Oral Argument
  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Answer Questions
  • Familiarize you with the Format
  • Discuss various advocacy techniques
remaining schedule
Remaining Schedule
  • Saturday, April 4 – Friday, April 17
    • Videotaping Session
  • Monday, April 13, 4:00 pm
    • Case Counsel Applications Available
  • Saturday, April 18 & Sunday, April 19
    • Oral Argument Weekend
  • Monday, April 20
    • Case Counsel Applications Due



when do i argue
When do I argue?
  • Saturday, April 18
  • Topics: A, B, C, D, E, F, M, H, I 

...Yes, M

  • Sunday, April 19
  • Topics:J, K, L, G, N, O, P, Q, R 

...Yes, G

what do i wear
What Do I Wear?
  • Professional Court Room Attire
    • Men: Business suit and tie
    • Women: Pant or skirt suit
    • Minimal accessories / jewelry
  • Conservative is key.
the day of your argument
The Day of Your Argument
  • Timeliness
    • Arrive at least 15 minutes early.
  • No Shows = No Credit
  • Check in at the Table.
  • Go to your scheduled room and see your case counsel.
the oral argument
The Oral Argument
  • Tables will be labeled Petitioner or Respondent.
  • Case Counsel will act as bailiff and introduce the case
  • Reserving Rebuttal Time
  • Petitioner argues
  • Respondent argues
  • Petitioner gives rebuttal
addressing the court
Addressing the Court
  • Once rebuttal time is reserved, Petitioner begins argument from podium.
    • “Good morning/afternoon your honors, may it please the court, my name is ________, Counsel for Petitioner/ Respondent, ________. Would the court care for a brief recitation of the facts?”
  • Be prepared with a BRIEF statement of facts
introduction of the case
Introduction of the Case
  • Introduce the issues and your position
    • There are 3 issues before this court today.
    • Road Map: How the court should rule and list the reasons.
  • Be ready for questions from the judges.
  • Both sides have a total of 15 minutes
  • Petitioner has the option to reserve up to 3 minutes of rebuttal time
time format
Time Format
  • Petitioner opens (15 minutes minus reserved rebuttal time)
  • Respondent then argues for 15 minutes straight
  • Petitioner finishes with rebuttal (for the amount of time reserved)
time cont d
Time Cont’d
  • Be aware of Case Counsel and time cards
  • Time cards come at 5, 2 and 0
  • If you finish before time runs out:
    • Move to your prepared (long) conclusion.
    • Thank the judges for their time.
  • If time runs out, say:
    • “Your Honor, I see that I am out of time, may I have a moment to conclude?”
    • Wait for judge to answer.
    • If permitted, conclude in 30 seconds (use short conclusion).
  • Petitioner – If time runs out during your opening argument
concluding your argument
Concluding Your Argument
  • Have both a short and long conclusion ready (memorized)
  • At close of both arguments, Case Counsel will say:
    • “Counsel may leave the courtroom while the judges deliberate”
    • Return to the room with you when judges have reached a decision
  • Judges will offer constructive criticism
  • Always thank the judges for their time.
the judges
The Judges
  • Majority are USF alumni who want to see you do well.
  • Different personalities
  • Different levels of preparation
Preparing for

Oral Argument

the folder
The Folder
  • No single way to do it, but it is the key to a well-organized argument
  • Front  Introduction, Facts
  • Inside Left  Case Summaries
    • Cites, facts, holding, reasoning
  • Inside Right  body of argument
  • Back  conclusion(s)
  • Bring to videotaping!
style delivery
Style & Delivery
  • Be confident in your arguments and your preparation
  • Enunciate your words and try to maintain eye contact with the judges
  • Be yourself
  • Respectful Equality: Be an intellectual peer, but be courteous and respectful
  • Always address Judges as “Your Honor”
  • This is a discussion, not a lecture, speech, or an “argument”
  • Pay attention
put your best foot forward
Put Your Best Foot Forward
  • Start with your strongest argument
  • Each argument should be self-sufficient and independent of your other arguments
the questions
The Questions
  • Anticipate questions
  • More v. fewer questions
  • Stop, Listen, Understand, Answer
  • Don’t Understand? Ask to repeat or for clarification
  • Never disregard or put off a judge’s question
  • If you have no idea how to answer
    • “Your Honor, I am unfamiliar with that case, but would be happy to submit a supplemental brief.”
  • Outside the scope of the issues
be flexible
Be Flexible
  • Don’t rely on a script
  • Practice answering questions and transitioning back to your road map
  • Be ready for hypotheticals
how should i prepare
How Should I Prepare?
  • Practice
  • www.usfca.edu/org/mootcourt
  • Practice
  • Re-read problem, cases, statutes, briefs
  • Practice
  • Use your Case Counsel
  • Practice
  • Take Advantage of practice sessions offered by your CCs and La Raza /APALSA; Practice w/ your group
  • Advanced Teams: Wednesday April 8 , 5:30p.m. and Thursday April 9, 12:30 p.m.
mock oral argument chan kong sang v u s government
Mock Oral ArgumentChan Kong Sang v. U.S. Government
  • Appeal to US Supreme Court
  • Chan Kong Sang is a native of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Petitioner sought asylum based on China’s coercive family planning policies and was denied refugee status by the immigration judge.
  • The Board of Immigration Appeals used their streamlining procedure to affirm the IJ’s decision without an opinion. Petitioner argues that federal courts have jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision to streamline.
  • Petitioner: Elisa Cervantes
  • Respondent: Steve Disharoon
dos and don ts
Dos and Don’ts
  • Do be on time. Don’t be late.
  • Do dress appropriately.
  • Do use formal language. No slang.
  • Do remain professional with the judges at all times.
  • Do be prepared and organized.
  • Don’t interrupt.
more dos and don ts
More Dos and Don’ts
  • Don’t forget to turn off your phone.
  • Don’t hit on the judges.
  • Do your best to answer the judge’s questions
  • Do keep unnecessary movements and gestures to a minimum.
future moot court opportunities
Future Moot Court Opportunities
  • Case Counsel
  • Advocate of the Year Competition
  • Advanced Moot Court Competitions
  • www.usfca.edu/org/mootcourt
  • usfmootcourt@usfca.edu