Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bill Parcells is credited with saying, "Once you have the reputation as being an early riser, you can sleep until noon," (although I have seen it attributed to others). I felt a little like that at oral argument (I'll say recently-- I don't want to get pinned down on a date, in case anyone is looking in. Except you, Internet). I walked away with pretty much as much as I could have reasonably expected, and I mostly accomplished it by not talking too much. My position was pretty weak, but it received surprising deference, at least in part due to the understated way I had set it out in my papers. I'd really had no choice-- the law was pretty wobbly on my side of the argument, and the facts were even worse. Given my history in the Part, shutting up seemed the smartest thing to do, particularly coming at the end of the calendar as we did. It was already clear that the judge was more than prepared to help anyone who wanted to provoke him with the hole they were digging, and, my adversary had thoughtfully brought a shovel. Staying tight-lipped under those circumstances is harder --for me, at least-- than you might think, and may be one of the most useful skills I have acquired in recent years.

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