Advocacy in Practice with Judge Consuelo Callahan

Associate Dean for Experiential Learning Mary-Beth Moylan recently sat down with Judge Consuelo Callahan from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

They discussed Callahan’s path to the bench starting from her career right out of law school; her judicial life on the Court of Appeals; and advice, insights, and observations for attorneys appearing before her in the Ninth Circuit.

One thing in particular that stands out is Judge Callahan’s advice to attorneys – especially those working with Court of Appeals justices. She said “The point [of oral argument in the Appellate Court] is addressing the court’s concern and being really targeted and approaching the case thinking what would a judge want to hear? What opinion is the judge going to write in this and how can I assist the court?”

She emphasized the importance of answering the exact question a judge asks in order to help direct the conversation in a way that you want to argue. This way, you can address what the court finds important in their decision-making process.

Another important point that Callahan made was about preparing for court, setting high standards early on, and establishing good work habits. She put it a little more bluntly than that, saying:

we will do our jobs regardless of whether you do your job.”

Callahan also pointed out some resources to help attorneys make the best arguments and be prepared for their time in the Court of Appeals. The Appellate Reps for the Ninth Circuit host a mentorship program, where attorneys are assigned someone that is a specialist in the area of law.

Judge Callahan gave some amazing insight in her interview that would intrigue anyone in the legal field – attorneys and judges alike. You’ll have to listen to the rest of the podcast for all of her advice.

We hope you enjoy listening to the conversation with Judge Consuelo Callahan. Be sure to tune in next time!