By Marina Bogorad, Esq. Legal Perspectives May 24, 2019
GFL has recently argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, representing scores of investors in the now defunct electric-car project spearheaded by Terry McAuliffe, the former Governor of Virginia, and Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham. An oral argument before a federal circuit court is special treat for appellate litigators, considering the amount of preparation and the level of judicial expertise that goes into such an argument. This particular argument was held in Richmond, Virginia, a beautiful old Southern city steeped in history and French architecture.
The Fourth Circuit breaks ups its oral argument calendar between several judicial panels, holding argument simultaneously on the same day, each in its own assigned courtroom. Each side on the case receives twenty minutes of argument, with the appellant choosing how to break up the twenty minutes between the opening argument and the rebuttal. The judges are extremely well prepared and appear to know the case better than the advocates. Do not expect to get in more than a couple of minutes of your own prepared speech. The judges jump right in with their questions and never let go. They often have questions that neither side has brought up in their briefs, and they expect the advocates to reason through those questions along with the judges. It is an extremely collaborative process, and it is exciting to witness: this is how justice gets done.
Unlike other courts of appeals, however, this court does not shy away from indicating which side they are favoring. In other words, this court has clearly made up its mind before the argument and is not afraid to show it. There is a lot to be said for this approach: the losing side clearly needs to step up its game during the argument to try and persuade the judges to change their minds, while the winning side need not spin its wheels for nothing. After the argument, this court has a very Southern tradition of stepping down from the bench, shaking hands with the advocates and exchanging some pleasantries with them. This is justice with a touch of hospitality, and it is refreshing to get up close and personal with such esteemed jurists. GFL hopes to appear before this esteemed court again on behalf of its many appellate clients.
GFL has scored consistent victories on behalf of its many clients in both state and federal appellate courts. We bring serious expertise to the table, and we get results that beat out the competition on every level. If you have an appellate matter that you would like us to pursue on your behalf, please contact the Firm’s head of Appeals and Critical Motions Department, Marina V. Bogorad.