In most appeals, the appellate counsel will have an opportunity to appear in the appellate court for an oral argument. Each side is allowed a limited amount of time to present an oral argument. The argument is presented by the lawyers, or if a party is representing himself or herself, by the party.
The time for oral argument is strictly limited. In the Court of Appeals in Seattle, each side has only 10 minutes for oral argument. In Tacoma and Spokane, 20 minutes is permitted on each side. In the Supreme Court, each side has 20 minutes. Parties can ask for more time, which is often granted, but even then, the maximum time allowed in Seattle is usually 15-20 minutes per side, and in the Supreme Court, 30 minutes.
The judges are well-prepared for the oral argument. Before the argument, the judges will have read the briefs, as well as a memorandum prepared by a law clerk summarizing the case. Each judge normally will have a preliminary sense of the correct outcome before hearing the argument, and will ask questions during the argument to make sure that they understand the case, which is often granted, but even then, the maximum time allowed in Seattle is usually 15-20 minutes per side, and in the Supreme Court, 30 minutes.
In some cases, the court will advise the parties that the judges do not need to hear oral arguments. The parties can still ask for an oral argument, and the courts often grant these requests.