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Advice for Lawyers preparing Oral Arguments from Chief Judge Paul Michel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

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Chief Judge Paul Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)

UVA: Michel Explains Role of Federal Circuit, Offers Advice to Students, via Bashman.

“Judges are going to ask a lot of questions, particularly appellate judges …and they actually expect answers, and they need answers, and they want answers, and lawyers who don’t answer the question, which is the large majority [of lawyers], lose points, because what it tells me is there is no good answer—your case is indefensible,” Michel said.

“What you need to do is come and deliver crisp, responsive, clear, coherent, candid answers to questions…that any good lawyer can anticipate will be asked by anyone who has to make a decision.”

Oral argument offers judges one last chance to learn before they have to render an opinion on the case.

“When we beat up on lawyers, seemingly, it’s not to give them a hard time or embarrass them, it’s because we are desperate to make sure that we don’t make a mistake, that we really understand the case, that we didn’t get some fact wrong or misunderstand some portion of an argument.”

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