When I was in law school I remember spending weeks preparing for mock oral arguments, whether they were for moot court or for some other class that required them. I had to make sure my various speaking tics were controlled, my pace had to be just right and I had to be able to deftly deal with interruptions. Memorization and practice were the names of the game. Lots of both and lots of stress tossed in for good measure. Then I became a practicing lawyer who did this stuff for real.
And things started to change.
My first year, I spent a week preparing for my first contested motion argument and countless hours at home inhaling the various factual & legal issues I was going to be grappling with in front of a judge. In my third year, I carved out an entire day to get ready for the impending verbal fisticuffs and I then spent the night drinking scotch while reviewing the arguments. I suppose that as I get more experienced, the matters I’m arguing come a little easier to me now than they used to and I know for a fact that the nervous energy is no longer what it once was. Now in my fifth year, I spent about 20 minutes reviewing the briefs. While on the phone, reviewing my fantasy football team and texting.
One thing that hasn’t changed? I absolutely love standing before a judge arguing my case.