Ever since I advanced, rather surprisingly, through the rounds of my first year Moot Court competition, I’ve adhered rigorously to certain rituals of oral argument. Back then, my rituals involved meditating in front of a candle and listening to this James Taylor album over and over again. These days, I memorize case citations and JA pages, recite my arguments from beginning to end while walking the dog or taking a shower, and re-read what I consider the best ten pages of advice on preparing for an oral argument that I’ve ever seen by this blogger.
On Thursday, I argue for the first time before the Fourth Circuit (I’ve appeared before other federal circuit courts at least 2 dozen times, but this is my first time in the Fourth) and so I’m now revisiting these familiar rituals. But in doing so, I wondered – what are your quirky little pre-argument or pre-trial rituals? Do you have a particular tie or pair of shoes that you favor? A special breakfast food? Do you approach the podium with pages or notes, or naked, with nary a sheet of paper (I rarely look at my notes during argument, but still can’t bring myself to dispense with my paper security blanket). Does your heart pound rapidly as you approach the podium, as mine does, or do you fall into a zenlike calm?
Please send me your comments and maybe I can add some new routines.