Oral Argument Basics

The arguments are held at the Jackson County Courthouse,  415 East 12th Street in downtown Kansas City.

You should arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled argument time and should report to the floor on which you are arguing. Courtrooms and the floors they are on are on the schedule posted on this site.  Schedules will also be posted by the elevators at the Courthouse on the lower level. DO NOT ENTER the Courtroom to which you are assigned.  Remain in the hallway by the benches near the Courtroom.

Each speaker gets 15 minutes of argument.  Rebuttal time (up to 5 minutes, most do 2-3) comes out of the time of the person doing rebuttal (so, for example, 12 minutes of argument, 3 minutes of rebuttal).

The order of argument is Appellant, Appellant, Respondent, Respondent and then one Appellant doing rebuttal.  

When your bailiff arrives, provide the bailiff with the order of speakers, who is doing rebuttal (and the time allocated) if you are Appellants, and the time cards you want flashed (any 5 between 15 and 1/2, most common is 10, 5 3,2,1 and then STOP).

When it is your turn to argue, approach the podium and try to get eye contact with the Chief Justice.  When it appears the Court is ready for you to proceed, begin by saying "May it please the Court," then introduce yourself and your partner and indicate which issue you will argue and which your partner will argue. In most cases, you will then follow with your "catchy" opening or with your roadmap.

When you see the 1 minute time card, you should begin to prepare for your conclusion if possible.  If you are in the middle of questioning, continue answering. Regardless of what you are doing, when the STOP card comes up, you must acknowledge it and request more time (if you want it) to conclude, or to finish answering the question and conclude. Failure to do so may cause the judges to penalize you.

Once your argument is finished (conclusion and prayer for relief), say "Thank you" and sit down.

Once all arguments are concluded (generally after rebuttal), the bailiff will ask all participants to leave the courtroom.  Wait out in the hall and try to stay in the vicinity of the courtroom, but please keep the noise down if other arguments are still going on.

When the judges have finished filling out their score sheets, the bailiff will ask participants to come back into the courtroom for critique.

You will receive the judges score sheets on the Monday following argument. After the second round, you will receive the judges score sheets and your graded PRO's on the Monday following argument.

You may not sit in on any other argument until you have completed both of your arguments.