How to Deal With Lay Judges
(in PF & LD)

By Fengyi Ruan

Lay Judges: Judges who are not particularly experienced in judging debate rounds, most likely the parent of someone who is debating.

 General Tips for Lay Judges:
1) Remember they do not understand debate terminology.
- You will have to spoon-feed arguments and blocks to them.

2) Cases: Read slowly!
- Place heavy emphasis on areas where you want the judge to concentrate
- Toss in some phases such as, “And thus judge this is why…., judge, as this shows…”
- Dropping the word “judge” in your case makes the lay judge more likely to remember what you said 

3) Understand that lay judges probably won’t flow
- As stated before, you have to neatly spoon feed every argument/block/weighing/frontline to them

4) Speak with passion
- Lay judges particularly like it when you are a good speaker and truly seem to believe in your side of the debate

5) Before the debate begins, always introduce yourself!
- If online: Type your names/positions/etc. in chat
- If in-person: If there is a whiteboard, write your information out on that

6) Rebuttals: Be organized!
- You have to tell the judge directly what you are responding to and what that response is.
- Ex. In response to their contention on the cost of this plan being too much for the United States to bear, judge, this is simply not true. The United States will never default on the debt and thus you can disregard everything they’ve said. (now talk about your evidence and reasoning)
- Tagline responses!
- Explain arguments such as nonuniqueness/mitigation/etc.