Basic oral arguments

Any treatment of oral arguments as brief as this one it necessarily too brief. As an introduction for 1Ls, however, this page may suffice. There are many resources to help, including chapter 14 in Joan M. Rocklin et al., An Advocate Persuades (2016). Many of the ideas on this page are adapted from Bradley G. Clary, Primer on the Analysis and Presentation of Legal Argument (1992) and Alan L. Dworsky, The Little Book on Oral Argument (1991). Most advocates win their oral arguments with their preparation, so this post begins with preparation. Preparation Preparation for oral argument comes in two Read More …

Shaking hands

Shaking hands is a traditional form of greeting in the West. Some folks would have you believe that they can tell a lot about you by your handshake, but anyone who judges others by holding and shaking their hands for less than two seconds is probably overinterpreting their evidence. Nevertheless, this is one of those things that folks may use as a basis for assessing you in a brief interaction. There were previously some rules of etiquette about when and how to shake hands. For example, as a boy in the 1970s, I was taught not to extend my hand Read More …

Introductions & networking

You need to know how to introduce yourself, in general and in networking contexts. There is a lot of advice out there about how to do it (example). The fact is, you will develop your own style over time, if you do not have one already. But many younger folks have not been required to introduce themselves in a business context, and they need some help to get started. This post provides a starting point and touches on how to use introductions in networking contexts. Here’s my advice: Keep introductions brief. I don’t usually give my full name, just my Read More …

The elevator pitch

As a law student, you should always have an elevator pitch, a brief statement about who you are that you will use when introducing yourself in professional contexts. Consider this scenario: You are at the federal courthouse in Dallas. Riding down in the elevator, you are standing next to a person who turns out to be the chief judge. She notes that you look young, eager, and perhaps a little nervous and recognizes you as a law student or maybe a young attorney. She brightly introduces herself with her name. After you do the same, she says ‚ÄúTell me about Read More …