Oral Arguments Guide for Counsel - page 12

GUIDE FOR COUNSEL, PARTS III and IV
9
In recent years, in response to a Judge's question at oral argument, one counsel responded,
"I'll get to that." Never respond to a Judge's question with, "I'll get to that." If a Judge is asking the
question it means that he or she would like the answer immediately. Evading Judges' questions
contravenes the purpose of oral argument, frustrating the Judges' efforts to find answers to the
questions they bring to oral argument.
If you are finishing one Judge's question when second Judge asks you another, ask the second
Judge's indulgence to finish answering the first Judge's question. Although there is no definite rule
of protocol, if two Judges start to speak at once, the junior Judge will generally withdraw in
deference to the senior. Perhaps you could respond to the senior Judge's question first, and then
address questions from junior Judges. These are the active Judges of the Court in order of seniority:
Chief Judge Hagel, Judge Kasold, Judge Lance, Judge Davis, Judge Schoelen, Judge Pietsch, Judge
Bartley, and Judge Greenberg.
III. COURTROOM SEATING
Courtroom seating is limited. Spectators are seated first come, first seated. Groups can
request reserved seating of up to 15 persons by writing the Clerk of the Court as far in advance as
possible.
If arguing counsel desires to reserve space in the public section, counsel must contact the
Clerk's Office after receiving notice of the argument. A letter concerning reservations, including the
names of guests, should be sent to: Clerk of the Court, United States Court of Appeals for Veterans
Claims, 625 Indiana Avenue, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004-2950. The Clerk, depending
on available space, will endeavor to accommodate as many of your guests as possible.
When your guests arrive at the Court on the day of argument, they may deposit coats, hats,
briefcases, cameras, electronic equipment, and similar items in the library conference room on the
second floor or on the coat racks outside of the Courtroom. They should then proceed to the ninth
floor. From there, a Marshal will escort them to the Courtroom, which is on the eleventh floor.
Electronic devices must be turned off or on silent mode and be stored away during argument.
If you or a guest needs a device for the hearing impaired, please request assistance from the
Clerk's Office.
IV. DECISIONAL PROCESS
After a case has been argued, the panel will hold a conference and develop a decision. The
case will be assigned to a Judge to write the majority opinion. Decisions may be issued at any time
after the argument. The only information the Clerk or his staff can give you in this regard is that
cases that have been argued will be decided as expeditiously as possible.
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