So yesterday I barristered a round in the Quason & Slod intramural moot court competition. It was a good round--both parties were prepared, and it was a pleasure to listen to the argument. There were, however, a couple of exchanges that left me feeling dissatisfied with the state of our LARC program. I reproduce them here, on pain of Honor Code ninjas parachuting into Consumer Protection this afternoon to give me DTPA paper cuts in the webbing of my toes. "You've got webbed toes?" Yeah, so what.
Petitioner: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please--
Me: That'll be enough of the cute stuff, counselor. Get to the part of the argument where you tell me why you should win.
Petitioner: Yes, Your Honor, I apologize. Petitioner respectfully asks that this--
Me: Whatever, you bore me. Tell me why the Eighth Amendment doesn't prevent forced watching of Caroline in the City
reruns until the prisoner's eyes bleed.
Petitioner: What? That's not even in the case, this is a case about the--
Me: Horrible. Get back to your roadmap smoothly.
See what I mean? They just didn't have that poise, that confidence with the law and facts that polished oral advocates should have. Everyone should be able to take the slightly "out there" questions and use them as a way to pivot back to their main points. And to show that I'm a truly evenhanded judge, here's a clip of the one shoddy part of the resondent's argument.
Respondent: I see that my time is up, may I briefly conclude?
Me: No, you may not.
Respondent: Very well, Your Honor. For the foregoing reasons, we respectfully ask--
Me: What part of "stop now" don't you understand?
Respondent: But I was just sewing up that sentence.
Me: When I ask you a question, private, you answer it. What part of "stop now" is incomprehensible to you?
Respondent: But you didn't say "stop now," you said--
Me: I know what I said, I don't need to have the court reporter read it back to me like I'm a child.
Respondent: Yes, judge, I'm sorry, and thank you for your--
Me: Colonel Jessup, did you or didn't you order the code red?!
Respondent: Yes, I think they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hayul!
Me: No further questions.
Seriously though, you've got to take barrister comments with a grain of salt. You're a captive audience, and we feel like we get to talk about how great we are for having made the break--all in the guise of giving you tips. Take what helps, and ignore what doesn't. You're going to have to separate the two, because I can almost promise you that at some point in the competition, one of your barristers will contradict another. In sum, we're full of it, but listen to us anyway. We might give you a super comment that helps you win the next round...or will at least save you a bunch of money on your car insurance.