School: Trial by Fire
I'm slated to compete in the TYLA National Trial Competition (well, the Regional rounds, anyway), and as you might imagine, there's a ton of preparation needed to participate in one of these things. The irony here is that going to trial is a pretty rare event in today's world, especially for civil lawyers. The time and money it takes to litigate the average case is a pretty huge barrier. That's why people rarely pursue lawsuits without having actual disputes.
Mock trial competitions, though, invariably boil down to style - whoever looks and sounds more convincing wins. The substantive arguments and the actual law (mostly evidentiary objections) are important, of course, but most of them will be pretty similar. All that's left is controlling your voice and your body to convey information in a plausible, interesting way.
You start to notice some pervasive tics when you have others critique what you're telling a jury. I tend to push my glasses up on my face, for example - an almost unconscious behavior that can be distracting for someone watching me deliver a 13 minute argument. I'm not sure how to counteract that tic; maybe I better switch to contact lenses.