Tips for Virtual Oral Advocacy

Preparation

  • Make sure you have a reliable internet connection
  • Practice with the Zoom platform
    • Where possible, practice connecting to each link in advance of the actual Moot session. The schedule with links will be sent out a day in advance of the Moot.
  • Keep contact information for technical assistance handy just in case
  • Have a backup plan in case of any technological glitches
  • Prepare your space
    • Choose a location with a neutral background
    • Avoid any backlighting
    • Know your angles: set up your device as you would the day of the moot to make sure your camera and audio is clear
    • Make sure you can see your notes
    • Have a glass of water nearby
    • Make sure any pets are sequestered away to avoid any disruptions or distractions
  • Know how you’re going to communicate with co-counsel throughout the moot session
  • Plug in! Make sure your phone and computer are fully charged and plugged into a power source throughout the moot session

Presentation

  • Pin the video of the judges so that you can see whether they’re following along
  • Pin the video of the courtroom clerk so that you can see their time signals
  • Speak to the camera, not to the screen
  • Address the court as you normally would
  • Mute your microphone when you are not presenting
  • Provide a road map
    • While you should do this in any advocacy setting, this is especially important virtually. It helps the panel to maintain their focus, keep some sense of time, and ask more questions.
  • Pause
    •  Again, while you should do this in any advocacy setting, pausing during virtual argument is even more important. Some judges are hesitant to interrupt during a Zoom argument. If you pause, they have time to ask the question they’ve been saving. Remember, questions are good!
  • Slow down
  • Resist the temptation to read
  • Try not to get distracted while viewing opposing counsel or your co-counsel
    • Small movements on screen attract more attention than they might otherwise in a courtroom. Stay focused on the task at hand. Practicing with your colleagues may help you get used to tuning out the virtual noise and staying alert to the arguments.
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