November 30, 2020
Nearly every attorney has now been affected in some way by the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Appellate attorneys have largely been lucky compared to their trial-level colleagues because most appellate work is uniquely well-suited for a remote environment. After all, the bulk of the work on an appeal is the brief writing and you can write a brief wherever you have an internet connection. But the most exciting part of an appeal, the oral argument, has changed dramatically now that most courts are holding oral arguments by video conference. Appellate attorneys must adjust their preparation and presentation style to stay effective in this new medium.
To be sure, the most important aspects of appellate advocacy remain the same. You still need to be prepared and professional. You still need to master the record and the law, and be ready to answer questions from the court. But how those questions are asked and answered, and many other logistical details, are quite different when oral argument is held by video conference.
Read the rest of the article by Michelle Kuhl which appeared in The View, the newsletter of Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company.