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Supreme Court - Oral Argument FAQ

Q: Does my client sit at the table with counsel during oral argument?
Q: When there is pro hac vice counsel (counsel not admitted to NH Bar but permitted to appear in a particular case), should all counsel sit at the table during oral argument?
Q: What do the colored lights mean?
Q: When should I enter the courtroom?
Q: Can I bring water with me in the courtroom?
Q: Can we make last minute changes regarding who is presenting oral argument and the allotment of argument time amongst multiple attorneys?
Q: Can I use Exhibits or posters that are in the court's file during my oral argument?
Q: Can I bring a copy of an Exhibit or poster with me to oral argument?
Q: Who is allowed in the courtroom during oral argument for a confidential case?
Q: When are oral arguments available on the web?
Q: How do I get a transcript of oral arguments?

Q: Does my client sit at the table with counsel during oral argument?

A: No. If parties have counsel arguing on their behalf they are not allowed to sit at the table during oral argument.

Q: When there is pro hac vice counsel (counsel not admitted to NH Bar but permitted to appear in a particular case), should all counsel sit at the table during oral argument?

A: Yes. All participating counsel should sit at the table during oral argument.

Q: What do the colored lights mean?

A: The red light comes on when the allotted oral argument time is finished. During Full Court oral arguments, the amber light comes on as a four minute warning. During 3JX oral arguments, the amber light comes on as a one minute warning. The colored lights can be seen by both the person presenting oral argument and the court.

Q: When should I enter the courtroom?

A: The doors open about 15 minutes before oral arguments begin. If you arrive after oral arguments have begun, you may enter quietly after the doors have closed. However, persons presenting oral argument should enter the courtroom as soon as they have checked-in with the Clerk's Office to avoid missing the announcement of their case. Although cases are generally allotted a total of 30 minutes for Full Court orals and 10 minutes for 3JX orals, not all parties use all of their allotted time, so cases may be called sooner than anticipated. If you are not in the courtroom when your case is announced, you may miss your opportunity to present oral argument.

Q: Can I bring water with me in the courtroom?

A: No, you may not bring any beverages or food into the courtroom. However, if you are presenting oral argument there will be a pitcher of water and cups at your table.

Q: Can we make last minute changes regarding who is presenting oral argument and the allotment of argument time amongst multiple attorneys?

A: Yes. Ideally, you should notify the Clerk's Office of any changes before the date of oral argument, however, last minutes changes are allowed. Last minute changes must be reported to the Court Monitor before argument begins. You should also bring a letter requesting the changes to the Clerk's Office so the change can be reflected in your case file.

Q: Can I use Exhibits or posters that are in the court's file during my oral argument?

A: Yes. You should notify the Clerk's Office of any Exhibits, posters, or easels required before the date of oral argument so that they can be made available to you.

Q: Can I bring a copy of an Exhibit or poster with me to oral argument?

A: Yes. If you are bringing something with you that is not already on file with the court, you should notify the other parties to the case beforehand to determine whether they have any objection.

Q: Who is allowed in the courtroom during oral argument for a confidential case?

A: Oral arguments in confidential cases are closed to the public; only parties to the case and their counsel may be in the courtroom. Before the start of oral argument in confidential cases, the court will verify that everyone in the courtroom should be there. Confidential cases will not be streamed or made available on the web.

Q: When are oral arguments available on the web?

A: Oral arguments are streamed live on the web (except in confidential cases). Streaming does not begin until about 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start of oral argument. When streaming begins you will see a notification that oral argument will begin shortly. If you log in too early you will need to hit the refresh button when streaming begins. After oral argument, recordings of arguments are archived and can be watched on the web at any time. However, archived arguments will not be available until about 24 to 48 hours after oral arguments are held.

Q: How do I get a transcript of oral arguments?

A: Transcripts of Supreme Court oral arguments can be ordered from the court's approved transcriber AVTranz. Go to the Judicial Branch website (www.courts.state.nh.us). On the main page, under How Do I., click on Request a Transcript? This will provide you with instructions on how to order transcripts online. If you do not have access to a computer, you may contact AVTranz by phone at (800) 257-0885.

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