Our office has been in the midst of a debate about moot-courting appellate arguments.
Some lawyers think that it’s invaluable; a moot court allows you to test themes and arguments, and exposes you to lines of questioning that you wouldn’t have otherwise anticipated. Others find it costly and excessive. They rarely if ever moot their own cases, and grouse when asked to sit on a panel.
For a long time, I thought that this was a matter of personal preference based on speaking style and training. But then I noticed the following item from Aldisert’s oral argument checklist in Winning on Appeal:
Mandatory office moot court. If the case is important enough to appeal, it is important enough to rehearse the oral argument in your office. Enlist partners and associates (preferably those who are somewhat detached) to read the briefs and assume the roles of judges and your adversary. Have them pepper you with questions. Rehearsing your argument is as important as any other billable hour.
There you have it. Aldisert is binding authority when it comes to appellate practice. In the face of Aldisert, there can be no matters of personal preference. There is only “Aldisert” and “wrong.” As such, the value of moot court is no longer open to debate at the Firm on the Move (TM).