Appearing in Federal court always raises the stakes. This morning, it was a telephonic appearance from LA to the Southern District of New York, so there was even a little more pressure. It all went well, and it is not necessarily something to have on a bucket list, but it did help me to feel a bit more competent with my advocacy skills overall.
When you approach the moment with internal confidence, demanding the virtual room so to speak, while displaying the requisite deference to the Bench, you can move forward as an advocate much easier. The key is to find that moment when you can speak confidently and be aware that the Bench wants to speak as well. It is not enough to just apologize but be certain to engage the Bench’s point after they have had their say. Let them know that you understand their point and are ready to incorporate their thoughts into your argument, or even better, you anticipated their thoughts and have a ready response.
Being on the same wavelength as the Judge is key to success and credibility.