If you could reform any aspect of our appellate system, what would it be?
New York appellate attorney Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick discusses how he would reform the appellate system in US courts.
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I’d make appellate arguments longer. You know, there was a time when Supreme Court arguments were half a day or a whole day. I’ve often joked with colleagues I can win any case in three hours because I will always be the most prepared lawyer in the room, and if you get down to nuances and really have the attention of the court, you can persuade. But oral arguments at the Supreme Court, they’re long. They’re 30 minutes, which is really long for an appellate argument. Often they’re 15 minutes. So every word that you utter to the court – it’s always true every word you utter to a court should be carefully thought through and calibrated – but it’s also an opportunity cost, because if you go down too far a rabbit hole on this issue, you lose the opportunity to persuade on something that’s even more important. So it’s something you learn to do as an appellate lawyer, but sometimes I wish I just had more time to make our points.