But it wasn’t the first time the Los Angeles-based lawyer found himself in that position.
“I did it before about four years ago, three years ago,” he said today. “It isn’t that difficult if you have time to prepare.”
That’s easy to say if you’re Lui. Formerly a justice on L.A.’s Second District Court of Appeal for six years, he estimates he’s argued before the high court 10 times, and he’s even served on that bench as a pro tem justice. Nonetheless, Lui admits two arguments in one day wasn’t a cakewalk. He had two tough cases, one in which he represented Sherwin-Williams Co. in widely watched contingency fee dispute, and the other for the Los Angeles Unified School District on contract claims.
The difficulty at oral argument, Lui said, is to make sure to answer the justices’ questions while trying to make a presentation. “If you sit down and write a speech out, you could be in trouble.”
Lui said he didn’t confuse the cases — one began at about 10 a.m. last Wednesday and the other at 1:30 p.m. — because his colleagues mixed up their questions as they prepared him in advance.
The last time Legal Pad remembers a similar situation took place on Oct. 7 when the Supreme Court held arguments in Palm Desert. San Rafael solo Robert Derham was in the hot seat then, with one case in the morning and the other in the afternoon. He lost one, a death penalty conviction, but won the other, which involved an illegal traffic stop.