Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Appellate Advocacy

Two days ago, I tried to write a post complaining about the upcoming appellate advocacy competition. Loosely summarized, it said "whine whine whine no time whine whine whine". Of course, I said basically the same thing before the other two competitions also. But, Blogger lost the post. That sucked.

I just got home from the second night of the competition. Everybody does two nights, then the best teams advance to the elite 8. (Actually, there are three ladders, so there are three Elite 8s.) You do one night on-brief and one night off.

And, I have to say, both nights were a huge amount of fun. We had a hot panel, yesterday, so I barely covered any of the stuff on my outline. One of the judges had something like 20 years of appellate criminal experience, so he knew a lot more about the topic than any of us did. He asked a ton of really good questions. The other two judges weren't shy either. It was intense, but really exciting. Both teams did well, but my team won by a few points. As for me, I was just happy that I kept my hands under control and wasn't flailing everywhere. (D is always moving drinks out of my gesticulation range when I talk.)

Tonight the panel was pretty cold. We went on at 8 and they had already done one argument, as well as working the whole day, so they were a little tired. We were arguing on-brief, representing the government. I stood up, responded to all of the petitioner's points and sat down with two minutes remaining because I had nothing left to say. Actually, the high point was in the first minute. When my partner was up, she got asked a question that had more to do with my issue. She said "My co-counsel will be addressing that in more detail, but here's the short answer..." and did the best she could. Then the hand grenade ended up in my lap. So, I answered the question before I went into my argument. The same judge asked a followup question. I didn't know the answer and told him so. The judges told me later that they respected my bravery for answering the question before starting my argument and that I got more credibility for telling them when I didn't know the answer. That felt pretty good.

I don't know if we won tonight. I thought we were a little better, but it's always hard to say. I'm also pretty sure that I don't want to advance to the next round. I've done well enough to feel satisfied with my performance. I don't need any more validation.

Anyway, what I really want to do is watch the season finale of Gilmore Girls. (which I missed for the competition)