Katherine A. Helm Featured in Managing IP on the COVID-19 Impact on Appellate Oral Arguments

April 30, 2020

Dechert IP and litigation partner Katherine A. (Kassie) Helm, Ph.D. was interviewed in a recent Managing IP article on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s recent cancellation of oral arguments. The COVID-19 courtroom shutdown has compelled the Federal Circuit to either hear cases on the briefs or listen to them telephonically. While most appellate courts regularly decide cases on the basis of submitted papers, the Federal Circuit is known for hearing oral arguments in person.

Dr. Helm commented on the value of oral argument and the possibility of this practice winnowing in the future. “We should be thinking about the longer term and if the Federal Circuit is cancelling oral arguments because the telephonic arguments are not ideal or if this is going to be a new practice,” Dr. Helm said.

Lawyers are also considering new best practices for telephonic arguments, including splitting time.  Dr. Helm noted that “some Federal Circuit judges have been publicly supportive of attorneys splitting arguments, while others dislike the practice.”  Remote arguments might change the calculus, as “[s]witching counsel to have another voice at the end of an argument could be something that might not go over as well telephonically as it might in person,” she commented.

This is just one of many changes that lawyers have to adjust to amid this pandemic.

Read the article titled "Federal Circuit COVID-19 response leaves lawyers worried about briefs precedent."

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