Over at MyShingle.com, Carolyn Elefant has posted on some of the things she does to prepare for oral argument and has solicited others’ stories. Here is what I told her:
I don’t have what I would consider to be rituals or superstitions. It’s more of a process.
I generally go back and read all the briefs and important cases, then check to see if any new on-point decisions have come out since the briefs were filed. I’ll then outline my argument, paying particular attention to the weak points in my case and questions I think I’m likely to get from the bench. Finally, I boil my outline down to a one-page flowchart listing the most important or hard-to-remember points and case names.
I put whatever I think is important in a 1" black binder that I take to the podium with me, but I don’t usually look at it much. I try to be as conversational as I can.