IndyBar: Your Arguments Haven’t Stopped, Neither Has the Indiana Appellate Institute

For the first time in history, the Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Court of Appeals are holding oral arguments using videoconferencing platforms. During this unprecedented time, it’s important now more than ever to make sure you’re prepared for your argument.

Traditionally hosted in person, the IndyBar’s Indiana Appellate Institute offers “moot” or practice argument sessions before panels of seasoned appellate advocates and others who have reviewed the briefs and will ask the sorts of questions an advocate can expect at the actual argument. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, moot sessions have been moved to videoconferencing platforms with a continued goal of preparing advocates for argument.

Bryan Babb of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, IndyBar Appellate Practice Section Executive Committee member and organizer for the Indiana Appellate Institute, says the transition to virtual moot sessions has been very smooth for volunteers and advocates.

“Our virtual moots prepare you for the oral argument in the same way as a traditional moot session: advocates practice responding to questions raised by panelists you might not have thought about,” Babb says.

“The virtual session also gets adovates comfortable with the very same technology they’ll be using during their actual argument. During the practice session, advocates can ask themselves, ‘Is the area behind me acceptable or a distraction? Are all noise distractions neutralized? Where will I place my outline, papers, etc.? How do I keep people out of my office?’”

Initially begun in an effort to improve the overall quality of oral advocacy in Indiana’s appellate courts, the institute will continue its practice of providing practice arguments without charge for cases before an Indiana appellate court for lawyers who have never argued before any appellate court. Lawyers who represent clients of limited means may also request practice arguments free of charge. The Institute’s services are available at reasonable rates for all other advocates.

If you’re interested in a virtual moot session, or if you’re interested in serving as a volunteer judge, please fill out the applicable forms at indybar.org/appellateinstitute.•

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