Saturday, June 9, 2012

How Paul Clement Wishes He Could Prepare for Argument

If Paul Clement had his druthers, he would book a round trip flight from DC to LA for some uninterrupted prep time before a big argument. Or so he joked when I recently had the chance to speak with the former Solicitor General about time management.

In reality, Clement uses a similar technique on land, setting aside large chunks of time to prepare for cases and guarding that time "jealously," he said. Fifteen minutes here or there will not do it.

Cooperation with colleagues is another key, in terms of dividing work and meetings, as well as responding to inquiries. (For more on this subject, see Tony Mauro's spotlight of Erin Murphy, an associate who works with Clement at Bancroft.)

Clement finds that his experience as Solicitor General transfers to private practice. The SG not only has heavy administrative duties, in deciding which appeals the government will take, but also a "line" function, as Clement called it, arguing cases.

Clement argued nine times during the current Supreme Court term, including in the marquee health care and Arizona immigration cases—three separate appearances on health care alone. Reports described his presentations as "extraordinary," "tremendous," and "superb."

In addition, Clement has cases at the circuit court level, including the First Circuit Defense of Marriage Act case, expected to reach the Supreme Court in the coming months as a petition for certiorari. The day I spoke with him, he was preparing for an argument in the Second Circuit.

Clement also regularly participates in educational and other events in the legal community. For instance, in May, he spoke at a luncheon honoring Greg Garre and later this month, will be a panelist at the ACS Supreme Court Review.

There is no magic formula for time management, Clement explained. But, by all accounts, he may have found it.