Maximizing Your Chances for Oral Argument

August 2016

Appellate attorneys must be prepared to answer the one question that clients will inevitably ask, “Will we get oral argument?” The short answer is, “Maybe, if you ask nicely.”

In most instances, both parties to an appeal have sig­nificant reasons to seek oral argument. For the appellant, even the most minimally involved client will have lived through a loss in the district court, as well as the ardu­ous process of drafting two complex appellate briefs. The appellant will be eager for the opportunity to have their story persuasively communicated to a distinguished panel of appellate judges. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Jus­tice John Simonett was once asked if the appellant should ever waive oral argument. After reflecting on the ques­tion for a moment, he responded, “It’s a lot like propos­ing marriage—I suppose you could do it just in writing.”

© 2016 DRI. All rights reserved.

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Eric J. Magnuson


Chair, Appellate Practice
Pronouns: he/his

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