by Elise Spenner
Professor Gornstein is the Executive Director of the Supreme Court Institute and a Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law Center. He previously worked at O’Melveny & Myers in the firm’s appellate practice, specializing in Supreme Court litigation. He was also a Lecturer at the Harvard Law School Appellate Advocacy Clinic. Before that, Professor Gornstein worked in the Department of Justice, first in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division and then at the Solicitor General’s Office. Professor Gornstein has argued 38 cases in the Supreme Court and more than 30 cases in the courts of appeals.
What were you interested in as a high school student?
To the extent that I thought about anything at all, it was being a high school teacher. The people I admired most when I was in high school were a couple of my high school teachers; they made a big impression on me.
I’ve heard you say that your history teacher George Glass taught you to think and Bill Hydie, your English teacher, taught you to write. What made them special?
They have everything that a great teacher should have. They were masters of their subjects, respectively. They had great enthusiasm for their subjects, and they cared about their students, And I think that that’s pretty much the formula for a great teacher.
Does a lawyer need skills other than writing, or thinking, or is that everything?
I think that covers most of it. I think as a lawyer, it helps to have other intangibles. Social skills, which you can develop, are very helpful. I also think the idea that you’re part of a team, and not just a solo act, is helpful in many areas of the law. The core boils down to writing and thinking, but there are definitely other skills that you need to be successful.
Who or what made you want to be a lawyer?
I, like many people who were going to college around that time, didn’t really have a good sense of what you could do if you’re pretty smart and you have no talent except being pretty smart. Teaching was always something I thought about, but the teaching market was both very very tight at the time, and it was very low paying at the time — it hasn’t improved very much. Particularly, when I was having conversations with my wife who I married in the summer of junior year, she was very enthusiastic about the idea of me going to law school. And I didn’t have another career path in mind. So by default, I applied to law schools.
What legal advocates and writers have you looked up to or do you admire?
My mentor, Walter Dellinger, is probably the most important person to me. But there are others. Don Verilli, I admire more than any other lawyer who’s working full time today. Don and I got to know each other pretty well when he became Solicitor General. In terms of people who I admire as advocates, the all-time Hall of Fame for me is probably John Roberts and Maureen Mahoney. There’s a lot of today’s advocates I look forward to listening to, among them: Jeff Fisher, Lisa Blatt, Jeff Wall, Paul Clement. Michael Dreeben is not doing much arguing now, but he was always one of my favorite people to listen to, and he was also somebody who I learned a lot from because he was my supervisor when I was in the Solicitor General’s office.
I want to backtrack a bit. What things did Walter Dellinger teach you as a mentor?
Two things. One is not to be wedded to a particular way of looking at things, because it’s the “progressive” position, or the institutional position, or whatever framework you’re coming from. To try to form independent judgment, and not be blocked out by the fear that somebody is going to say, “You’re a progressive, you shouldn’t think that way.” So I think that’s one thing: independent thinking and not being locked into patterns of thinking. And second of all, just judgment. I watched how he used judgment. My first Solicitor General was Drew Days, a man who I admired very much, and Drew very much believed in the independence of the office, which I did too, although probably not to the same extent as Drew. And because Drew tried to keep things so independent, he actually ended up with less authority than Walter, who took a completely opposite approach to it, which was to tell the political people, like the attorney general, and in some cases the president: “Here’s what the problem is, here’s what I am recommending that we do,” on the most important, sensitive issues, and nine times out of 10, he would be more likely to get his way than if he had tried to tell the attorney general or the president, “This is my call, backoff.” So I think that strategic judgment is something I learned a lot about from him.
You talked about Lisa Blatt, John Roberts, Jeff Fisher, Paul Clement, being advocates you admire. Is there one thing that runs through all of them that you admire?
People can be great advocates in very different ways. There’s no one way to be a great advocate. Maybe there’s only three or four ways, but there’s definitely not just one way. And so if you want to be a great advocate, you have to start out with who you are and try to model the behavior of the people who are closest to that. I could never argue like Paul Clement or Lisa Blatt. They have really debater backgrounds, they score points with great rhetoric, and that’s just not me. On the other hand, somebody like Michael Dreeben argues at an academic level that I can’t duplicate either — a rise above the fray. I’ve got to be part of the fight. In between that, I felt like John Roberts was a model for me. He’s very engaged, he’s very forceful, but he’s very even keeled and didn’t really go for flashes of rhetoric like he does now as a Chief Justice. As an advocate, he played it a lot straighter and there’s great advocates who do that, including Jeff Fisher, for example. My friend Judge Srinivasan was a great advocate along those same lines.
How did you evolve or get better as a lawyer from that first case to the 36th in the solicitors general office?
I was getting edited. And so if you have good editors, you’re definitely going to get better. And the more you do, the better you get. It just is a fact that the first time you do a brief is way harder than the 10th time, which is harder than the 30th time. Your brain just starts to absorb the way to write briefs the more you do it. So just through experience and practice. And then the other way you get better is by the people that surround you. And I always had three people at any one time who I would consult on legal issues, and they had different perspectives, and they could challenge my way of thinking about a problem and make me more amenable to thinking about problems in different ways. The wider exposure you have to people who think about problems in different ways, the better you can get.
And the more critical you can be of your own work, the better you can get. If you’re somebody who’s just going to say, “I’m done with this,” and let somebody else take it from here, that’s going to limit how much better you can get. But if you’re somebody who’s going to look critically at every single sentence you wrote from the point of view of a reader who doesn’t know that much about the law, and ask yourself, “Are they going to understand that sentence? Is that sentence too long? Can it be phrased in a different way? Do I really need this paragraph? Is it doing any work, or can I get rid of it?” My philosophy was always the less you write, the easier it is to persuade people. For example, I hated footnotes. My drafts would always start with footnotes in them, and I always had an “up or out” policy on footnotes. Figure out some place to put it in the brief or get rid of it because it must not be that important.
Seth Waxman always explained his arguments to his children to see if they would understand it. Is there anyone that you would test your arguments on? Or read your briefs to?
One thing I would always do is read my briefs out loud, at some point. There’s a real difference between reading briefs, just with your eyes. If you’ve read it a lot of times, you wade from one place to the next. But if you read it out loud, you can hear it. And so I would try to put myself in the position of somebody who doesn’t know that much about the law. Now, there are certain limitations: you have to talk about legal concepts because you’re talking to justices who have a familiarity with the legal concepts, and they don’t want to be talked down to.
In terms of oral argument, I did do that. And maybe I would do it just on the bottom line of my argument. My son probably doesn’t even remember it. But I would always ask him, “Is it fair that…” and then I would describe the position we were taking. “Is it fair that X, Y or Z?” And he would say, “No, it’s not fair,” and I would say, “Why isn’t it fair?”. And sometimes, if I added in another predicate, he would say, “Oh yeah, well that makes it seem more fair.” The things that you would leave out, potentially, were when he’d say, “No, that doesn’t make it more fair at all.” You don’t want to be ruled by that, but the Justices are human beings, and the sense of fairness and unfairness plays some role in their thinking.
When other people were editing you, what did they point out in your writing?
Michael Dreeben was definitely of a less is more school. If he didn’t think we needed to say something, that was two paragraphs gone. Ed Kneedler, who also edited my briefs quite a lot, was an adder more than a deleter. Ed likes to be very precise. I don’t want to say I’m on the other side of the scale, but the more precise you are, the less clear things can be. The more simple you can be, the easier it is to understand, but simplicity sometimes comes at the expense of precision. And so, where to strike that balance is a really important thing. And Ed is definitely on the “Let’s be as precise as we possibly can” side and probably moved me more in that direction than I was otherwise inclined to be.
At the beginning, I didn’t really have a great sense of how to structure things, and so when I got to the SG’s office, I had done a lot of brief writing, but not Supreme Court writing, which is a whole different thing, and I think Michael Dreeben is great at structure. He’s also a great writer of summaries of arguments. In fact, I used to leave the summary of arguments blank when I handed in my briefs to him, in the hopes that he would fill it in, which he often did. Sometimes he would say, “Do your own summary.” When I summarize my own brief, I basically just repeat back to you what you’re going to hear, but when someone’s read your brief and wants to give you the takeaway, but has a slightly different way of saying and organizing the thoughts, it can be refreshing. And he was brilliant at that. I wouldn’t say I’ve learned how to do it the way he did it, but I can appreciate it.
Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute hears one side of almost every case that comes before the court. How many do you attend each year?
It varies from year to year, but last year, I was trying to be a judge on four per sitting and listen in on another four per setting. So eight a sitting. You count the sittings and you can figure out how many that is. A lot.
What do you think is the main piece of feedback that you give to a lot of the advocates that come to do moot courts?
The advice that you would give to somebody who’s doing their first argument is not what you would tell Paul Clement. I always laugh when, at the end of moot courts, somebody will tell Paul Clement that he needs to not interrupt the Justices. I don’t tell Paul Clement to not interrupt a Justice. But if it’s a first time advocate, that’s one of the main no no’s. If they’re interrupting and they don’t know they’re not supposed to do that, or they’re not aware that they’re doing it, then you would need to tell them. In a similar way, I’m not going to tell Jeff Fisher, “You didn’t really answer any of the questions.” Because he does answer the questions, and when he doesn’t, he knows it. I might say, “I’m not really sure what your answer was to that.” Raise it that way with him, and he’ll just laugh and say, “Yeah, I didn’t have an answer right at that moment, I’m going to have to think more about that.” Whereas that’s the biggest problem for first time advocates: for some reason, they think they don’t have to answer the question.
And for beginning advocates who don’t really have a handle on how you simplify your message for the Supreme Court, they’re all over the place. You want to try to help them boil down their argument into the strongest thing they have to say. Now, for experienced advocates, what I would tend to tell them is, “Of the four things you said, here’s what resonated with me most,” and try to get others to do the same thing. And then try to go over the problem areas. I would do this for anybody at any level: focus on the biggest problem areas and try to come up with the best response for those problem areas.
So the feedback consists, generally speaking, of trying to identify the strongest arguments they have, and trying to figure out the best responses for the soft spots. And for beginner advocates, there’s a lot more of the basic stuff.
In the Supreme Court Institute, everything is supposed to imitate the real court — the carpeting, the distance between the lectern and the bench, the lighting. What do you think a moot court experience fails to capture about real argument before the justices?
Well, you’re never going to be as nervous for a moot court as you are for a Supreme Court argument. You can’t make people as nervous as they’re going to be. On the other hand, some of what happens at a moot court can end up being more intense than what’s going to happen in the Supreme Court. People tend to be a little bit more deeply probing and repetitive and poking at soft spots then will end up happening at the Supreme Court. It’s not replicating the experience that you’re going to have at the Supreme Court, but I feel like it’s probably a good thing to get probed more deeply, so that by the time you get to the Supreme Court, you’re sure you have the right lines to withstand whatever kind of onslaught you’re going to get.
How do you choose the right lineup of moot court judges for each argument?
I have a director who makes the first cut on that, and knows more than I do about the strengths, weaknesses, and backgrounds of many of the people that we use as moot court justices. But over the last couple of years, I’ve tried to make sure we have somebody who can play the role of chief, who’s a very experienced advocate, and then I try to get one or two “anchors” — people who are pretty experienced advocates. And then you’ve got two spots left: one of those I would want to fill with a more junior person who’s really exceptional, and the fifth seat, normally, I would fill with a “newbie,” which would be somebody who’s just come off a Supreme Court clerkship and is now eligible, and so we would want to fill that fifth seat with somebody like that.
It’s not easy to create ideological diversity because the bar is pretty much ideologically divided, and it’s pretty rare where you get people who are public interest lawyers and they want to help the corporate position or vice versa. Occasionally, you can find people who can wear both of those hats comfortably, but they’re definitely harder to come by. On hot button issues, if you know somebody’s arguing the pro-gun side, you’re not going to get a lot of people on the anti-gun side who want to moot that case. For some cases, it’s not hard at all, particularly for corporate versus corporate. Those cases are easy to get people who could come at it from either perspective.
We try to do some gender balancing. I don’t want to be too over the top about that, but we’re an academic-oriented institution, and I feel like it’s crucially important to have models for both genders up there. And similarly, to the extent that we can get racial diversity, we attempt to do that. That’s harder because the Supreme Court bar is way more gender diverse than it is racially diverse. The other thing that I have now is a whole cadre of Georgetown law professors who are Supreme Court advocates, and we give them first crack at whatever moots they want to be on. And then beyond that, we try to honor the advocates’ request to some extent. Not fully, because some advocates will say, “I want the top five people in the country to be on my moot court,” and of course, we want to spread those people out on many moot courts and not just have them all used up on one.
Being a moot court judge takes a lot of preparation. Why are these advocates willing to do hours of reading and research for no pay, on some esoteric subject?
That’s a good question. And hopefully, our luck is not going to run out. Because the willingness of people to devote their time and energy for no pay is how we are able to furnish moot courts. So how does that happen? For some people, this is really great work. It may not pay a lot, but being involved in a Supreme Court case where you’re making a contribution to the argument that’s going to be made, you can feel like that’s rewarding and really fun work. And this can be the place where people that are attracted to Supreme Court work devote their pro bono efforts.
There’s also this mentality on the Supreme Court bar of “If I want other people to be on moot courts where I am the advocate, then I want to be willing to be a moot court judge on somebody else’s.” And it wasn’t so much true during the Zoom period last year, but there has also been a social aspect to being part of the Supreme Court bar. They meet in different places, but this is one place where they gather and catch up with other people who they don’t necessarily have that much time to talk to.
How did the moot court experience shift during the pandemic and for the past couple of years?
During the pandemic, when the court went to remote arguments, we went to Zoom moot courts. And we tried to structure our Zoom moot courts to match, to some extent, the experience that they were going to have in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was using a three minute timer, so we used a three minute timer per justice. We questioned justice by justice. The second half of the moot, we would go into either untimed justice by justice or the traditional free for all that we’ve always done. The advocate would be remote, in the sense that he or she couldn’t see what was going on, until we did the feedback. The feedback we did every bit the same way as we’ve always done it. The advocate would come online and could be seen for that part of it. We found that the feedback portion of the moot actually worked better when you could see and interact with the advocate.
What were the advantages of that hybrid combination of free-for-all and justice-by-justice questioning?
In terms of preparing you for what you’re going to get, you need to first get as close to what you’re going to get as possible, so you get a feel for that. How much time you actually have to say what you need to say, in the space that you’ve been given by the adjustments so it works very well for that. In terms of finding weaknesses in a person’s arguments, it’s a very very inefficient way of attempting to do that. Going back to in-person arguments, the justices asked questions for half an hour; at a moot court, we asked questions for an hour. You get more time to probe deeply and expose the weaknesses and strengths of the arguments so that advocates can reshape what they’re going to say in that half hour. And so that they can be as persuasive as possible. And so too here, we found that the free-for-all, untimed methods work better in exposing weakness, and so therefore you need to do that for moot court to be productive. If somebody just waltzes through moot court, it may sound great, but the justices themselves may have a question that exposes a weakness that wasn’t uncovered.
Do you expect the court to return totally to the traditional free for all, or will they keep some elements of the telephonic arguments?
I don’t have any better insight into that than anyone else. But if I were them, I would go back. I thought that telephonic arguments were terrible. I think that lots of advocates like them because they got more time to talk and they got less probing questions. The press hated it because they couldn’t tell who was winning and losing. Neither one of those perspectives seems to me to matter at all. The perspective that matters is what’s the most help for the justices, and it seems to me that going back to the traditional method is going to be the most help for the justices. It gives them the chance to really focus on the problems that are in the case.
If you notice, in a traditional argument, four people are going to ask questions of one side, four people are going to ask questions of the other side. All of that is going to come by way of challenging questions, and to me, that’s how the court benefits. The more challenging questions there are, the more the court benefits. And the fewer challenging questions there are, which is what you get when nine justices are asking, the less. Which is not to say they’re not some countervailing benefits. I really like the idea that sometimes the justice would say, “You didn’t really get a chance to develop your answers to so and so, why don’t you just complete your answer and I’ll just shut up for the next two and a half minutes.” That can be valuable, but justices should be able to do that, and insert themselves in that traditional free-for-all occasionally. I don’t think we need justice-by-justice questioning to accomplish that.
When you serve on the Moot Court bench, what kind of questioner are you, and how do you probe the advocates?
I’m not sure that I’m that much different than anybody else. I go through the briefs a couple of times, and I write down the stuff that’s bothering me. And those are turned into questions. I’ll have a list of seven to 10 questions. I want to make sure that all my questions get asked — they don’t have to get asked by me, somebody else can I ask them. Others do this to varying degrees, but one thing I always try to do is imagine what the answer is going to be to the question before I get to the moot court, and then I think about what the weakness to the answer is, so that I’m going to have a follow up.
But some of that you just have to play by ear. So when somebody answers your question, and you’re still bothered because it’s not fully getting at your concern, you have to figure out a way to frame a follow up question that isn’t repeating your question. And so I try to be very alert to what a person is saying in response to a question to see if that responds to the concern that’s underlying the question. And if it’s not, to try to probe.
I don’t try to say, “Oh, I wonder what justice so and so would ask.” Generally speaking, I have a sense of what that would be. As I think about what bothers me, I’m thinking about what bothers any justice. I’m hoping to hit all the concerns that they could get from any justice. Other people may come in with a shorter list, they come down with just one or two things that are bothering them, but as a Chief, I try to get a pretty full master list, and then when other people ask them, I can check them off. But I want to make sure that all the things that are bothering me get asked.
What are the additional responsibilities of a chief justice?
I really feel like they should try to make sure that all the important questions get asked, so that if they don’t get asked by somebody else, they get asked by the Chief Justice. I feel like they want to make sure we get the right participation. If you have one person out of five dominating the moot court, that’s not a good moot court. The Chief Justice ought to be alert to that. Some people are very good at knowing how to get in their questions. Others try to get in and are blocked out. And so as the Chief Justice, if you see that happening, you want to direct traffic to make sure that whoever has questions gets their questions asked. And then you want to do that at the end. At the end period, you give everybody a chance to ask whatever they want to ask. When I’m done with the moot, when I’ve had all my questions asked, I still want to make sure that there aren’t questions still out there that people want to ask.
And then the last part of the Chief Justice is guiding the feedback. The traditional feedback method is just to go down the line. And that’s fine. I tend more to try to put one issue or concern on the table at a time, so the advocates hear everything there is to hear about that one thing at the same time. Because then you can get varying perspectives on particular issues.
And, more than most people, I try to get people to help the advocate in the two ways that are most helpful: did this argument resonate for you or not? I may just intercede with something I heard, and say “Here’s something from the argument. Did this work for you or not?” That’s a very valuable thing, and if that isn’t being done as a chief justice, I think you need to step in.
And then the second thing is to re-frame. People are very good at identifying concerns — ”I’m really bothered, I’m really worried, it doesn’t seem like you have a good answer.” When people say that, I will say, “What do you think the best answer is? There’s no perfect answer. But, that question is going to come up, and the advocate is going to need to answer. So what do you think is the best thing that the advocate has to say in response to that question?” So, I try to push people out of their comfort zone. Many people are in their comfort zone when they’re identifying problems. They’re not in their comfort zones in trying to solve the problems.
How has serving as a moot court judge really complimented your own advocacy, and how do you approach that?
When I took on this job, I was pretty much done with my own advocacy. When I became head of the Supreme Court Institute, I had argued 36 cases; I pretty much thought that I wasn’t going to argue anymore, I wasn’t going to look to argue anymore, I wasn’t really anxious to argue anymore. And the reality is the most fun part of advocacy for me has always been helping other people advocate, not seeing my own advocacy. Not that I didn’t enjoy advocating myself, but it was always more fun for me, and more rewarding for me to help others.
When I went back to the SG’s office during the tail end of the Obama administration, I did do two more arguments and, after not arguing for a long time, it was rewarding to go back and argue. And also I think it was helpful for me to have gone through that again, so that I could be a little bit more current and more confident in the advice I was giving to advocates who were coming back through the institute. When you’re away from it for a long time, you do worry that your thinking about it may be a little stale. I’ve always tried to stay up and stay current by listening to arguments and reading the transcripts. I probably do a lot more of that than a lot of other human beings do. Because it’s my job. Other people usually don’t have time for that.
I have kept current, but it was really valuable to go back and argue once again. And also, to be in court all the time. I listen and I read the transcripts, but there’s no substitute for actually being there, for getting a sense of the justices and being confident that you know what the justices are thinking. You can get that from listening; you get that from transcripts, but when you’re there, it’s different. And I was. I went back and I went off to all the arguments. And so by being there every day, I was able to get a more refreshed sense of what they’re up to and what they’re thinking about.
So, I wouldn’t say that the moot court helps my advocacy, I will say that my having done the advocacy once again has helped my moot court judging and given me more confidence that I’m not just relying on things I thought 15 years ago when I was arguing all the time.
I’ve heard that more serious advocates are sometimes more willing to drastically change their arguments in that week between the Georgetown moot court and the actual Supreme Court arguments. Why do you think that is?
Well, they have a lot more confidence, and the confidence is built on their experience. If you’ve never done that before, I wouldn’t recommend it. I don’t usually recommend radical changes and arguments to people who aren’t… I don’t really recommend them to anybody, unless you are really desperate. I’m a real believer in trying to have as much continuity with your briefing as possible. Now, your emphasis can change, you can come up with a new way of articulating a point that makes it a lot more powerful than anything you’ve said in your brief. And sometimes, you do have to change your line from the line that is in your brief, just because it didn’t hold up in a moot court, and so you’ve got to change your line and give away stuff that you weren’t giving away in your brief, or not give away stuff that you were giving away in your brief. But radical changes are born of desperation, and I don’t think it’s done very often. But if it is going to be done, probably better to be done by an experienced advocate than somebody who isn’t experienced.
One of the things that I try to convey to less experienced Supreme Court advocates is: don’t follow somebody’s advice unless you have internalized it and believe it. When you get advice in moot courts, first of all, you’re going to get one person who says “X” and one person who says “opposite X.” So who do you go with in that situation? And if everybody is saying the same thing, you ought to pay very close attention to that, and try to get yourself to internalize and believe that. Because when everybody on the panel is saying something, the odds that what you’re saying is going to be better are pretty low.
But at the end of the day, if you don’t believe it, and don’t internalize it, at the first sign of trouble in an argument, you’re going to revert to what you think. One of the old expressions around the SG’s office — sometimes wrongly attributed to me — is that oral argument is truth serum. And when you’re put under pressure, you say what you think. Chief Justice Rehnquist, at least to me, was famous for always asking, “Are you really saying X?” And X would be exactly what the person’s argument was. “Are you really saying x?” And if it was something that they didn’t believe in, they would toss the argument in the second. “No, I’m not saying that, I’m saying something else which isn’t going to upset you quite as much.”
At Georgetown, I heard that you would listen to recordings of your arguments and tell students what you did right and wrong. What do you tend to point out?
I try to be as honest and candid as I can be. I try to tell people what was going on in my mind in response to the question. I always had some reason for what I did, when I made a mess of things, or when I could have answered it a lot better. Sometimes the cause of that is you’re worried about giving ground. And so therefore, you end up saying something that is not necessary for you to say, and it just becomes very provocative. Whereas you could have smoothed the way out by just figuring out some way to give that ground. So some of the problems are just that: when to just not bother quibbling about things that don’t matter at all in the case. Sometimes I had a tendency to dig in if somebody was wanting me to say something I didn’t agree with. And then you get into an argument that is not really germane to the case and you waste time.
Sometimes it’s just that somebody was coming at the problem in a way that I hadn’t thought about. That doesn’t happen that often, but it happened every once in a while. And so my answer was more synced to the way I was expecting the question to come, and less synced to the way the question was actually being asked. And that can be a problem. In part, it’s a preparation problem; in part it’s an adaptability problem. The inability to adapt to a different way of thinking about things. I was way better at advocacy that didn’t require spontaneity then advocacy that required spontaneity, I could be spontaneous, but within the limits of something I already was going to say. But if it was just something that came up that was new and different, then, like anybody else, I was probably my weakest.
Did that tendency to avoid spontaneity make you extra adamant about preparation?
Yeah, that’s what I’m good at. I like preparing. I didn’t memorize, but I got what I would say is past the point of memorization, where if I got a question, I could answer it 25 different ways, but they’d all be exactly the same. As long as the substance was there, I didn’t really care exactly how I said it. But the substance needed to stay the same every time. Every once in a while, if it was a key phrase, I would need to make sure that the key phrase was coming out every time. There could be four or five words that were critical, and you needed to make sure that you got out. I would definitely memorize those four or five words. But other than that, I’m a big believer in the idea that there are somewhere between 5 to 10 questions in every case. And by the endpoint, your preparation should just be around those five to 10 questions.
You’ve talked a lot about mentoring younger advocates wherever you go. What do you think is the most common piece of advice that you give?
Like I said, preparation for me is the number one thing that I feel is the most important. Answering questions is hugely important. 75% of your preparation should be figuring out what the questions are going to be, and figuring out your answer is going to be. 25% ought to be figuring out what the three best things you have to say are. And then the other thing is, you have to figure out where your line is. Because when you get questions and hypotheticals, even if you haven’t heard them before, you should know what your answer is because you have worked out your line. You know this is on that side of the line, so my answer has to be no. And you know why, because you know why your line is where it is. And you know why your answer has to be yes, because it’s on the side of your line that is a “yes” answer.