Friday's Recorder had an article on a new moot program being organized at U.C. Berkeley for attorneys with California Supreme Court cases. It sounds very similar to what Professor Myron Moskovitz has been doing at Golden Gate University School of Law for many years. The article says that the Berkeley program may eventually evolve into a California Supreme Court clinic similar to the many U.S. Supreme Court clinics run by various law schools such as Stanford and Georgetown. I think that's a great idea.
Roberts's arguments had a crackle that most others lacked, even among top Supreme Court advocates. He would spend more than a month preparing, jotting down hundreds of possible questions in a notebook and practicing his responses aloud in his home or car or office. For one case, Roberts came up with more than five hundred questions, and if he stumbled over a word while practicing his response, he would change it to another. During his arguments in court, the justices were quick to engage him, peppering him with questions and then eagerly awaiting his response. For lesser advocates, the justices are more inclined to sit silently. They're not as interested in what the lawyer has to say, so they lean back in their chairs and let him speak without interruption. That is not what a John Roberts argument was like.
The book says that "[b]efore he left the practice of law in 2003, [Justice Roberts] had argued thirty-nine cases before the high court -- a remarkable number for an institution that hears only eighty or so a year." Id. at 186-87.
Golden Gate University School of Law sponsors a great program for appellate practitioners. If you have an oral argument coming up before the California Supreme Court (or, for that matter, any other appellate court including the Court of Appeal), they will organize a moot court for you to practice the argument. Professor Myron Moskovitz, who runs the program, sent me this email:
We hold moot courts here at Golden Gate for lawyers with cases pending in appellate courts. 30 minutes of argument, then 30 minutes of feedback, then lunch with the "judges."
No charge, so long as the lawyer has no problem with students watching.
Students learn from seeing real lawyers argue real cases in frontof ersatz judges (law profs & practicing lawyers who specialize in the field being argued). And the arguing lawyer gets valuable practice and feedback from the "judges" before going to the real argument.
Plus, we give MCLE credit.
The public is welcome to watch the moot courts. But as I have only one side argue, attorneys for the other side are not welcome.
Lawyers can call me at (510) 384-0354 or send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if interested.
What could be better than that? Thanks to Professor Moskovitz and GGU School of Law for providing this service.