General guidelines for arguing before the Court of Appeals:
- Submit clear and concise briefs.
- Know the rules of the Court.
- Per Rule 52, be sure to properly acknowledge oral argument, in writing, to the Clerk of Courts. Calling the Court of Appeals does not fulfill this requirement.
- Avoid argumentation when stating the facts of the case.
- Avoid personal attacks on the trial court, the parties, or opposing counsel.
- Arrive early for your argument before the Court.
- The Court usually provides additional information if the oral argument is set in a location outside of Indianapolis. You should be given directions, parking information, and details about the venue.
- Be prepared for any question—the judges will interrupt your presentation and ask anything they would like to ask. While you should still thoroughly prepare your oral presentation, the judges will ultimately determine what you discuss during the course of the argument.
- Answer the question asked by the judge. Your credibility is important. Be honest if you do not know an answer.
- Appellants are usually allowed to ask for rebuttal time. The Court’s bailiff will provide appellants a request form to fill out and submit just prior to the start of oral argument. Appellees are not granted rebuttal time.
- Time is closely monitored. The Court uses flash cards or a lighting system to give arguing attorneys cues on the amount of time left.
- Should you wish to request something special, such as using a visual aid in your presentation, file a motion with the Court prior to your oral argument date.
Learn more about oral arguments, particularly the Court’s “traveling oral arguments” program.