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Appellate courts "rely upon the presentation of oral argument by well-prepared attorneys to assist [them] in reaching an appropriate resolution of the often difficult questions presented in the cases before [them]." In re Aguilar, 34 Cal.4th 386 (2004). Yet few provide any hint of what they actually want to hear during argument before the attorneys step up to the lectern. As a result, attorneys spend countless hours preparing for every conceivable question and studying every case and page of the record, spreading themselves thin rather than honing in on issues of most concern to the court.

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