Instructions for In-Person Oral Arguments
Please arrive by no later than 8:45 a.m. on the day of your oral argument and check-in with the Court Receptionist or other designated court staff stationed in the main lobby outside the courtroom on the 12th Floor of the Taft Law Center Building.
All parties must abide by safety protocols established by the Court to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Face masks must be worn in the waiting area and in the courtroom when not arguing. Face masks may be removed when at the podium when arguing, but removal is not required.
To minimize the number of people in the courtroom, once a case concludes, the attorneys/parties are asked to leave the courtroom.
Sanitizer and hand wipes will be made available during attorney check-in and in the courtroom.
Each side in the appeal will get 15 minutes to argue. Appellant may reserve time for rebuttal.
Presenting before the judges:
Any party that does not file a brief is not permitted to argue.
Usually, people will start their oral argument before the appellate court with the words “May it please the court.”
Even though the appellate court cannot give you special treatment just because you do not have a lawyer, you should still tell the judges that you are self-represented (pro se).
Remember that the judges will be familiar with your case and will have already read the briefs, so you do not need to restate the facts of the case or repeat parts of the brief. It is more helpful to just highlight what you think is most important in your case or ask the judges if they have any questions you could answer.
The judges may interrupt you (and the other side) to ask questions about your case and authorities (published court decisions, constitutions, statutes, court rules or other legal authorities) that you cited or should have cited. Remember to stay calm and respectful, even if you get frustrated or are interrupted.
Whenever you are asked a question, you should stop what you are saying and answer as directly as possible. If you do not know the answer, then just say so. Also, remember that you cannot present new arguments orally unless you discussed them in your brief.