Although the Superior Court affirms over 80% of the time, the statistics show an increased percentage of reversals in cases argued before the assigned panel. For each of the calendar years 2007 – 2011, roughly 10% of the cases submitted on briefs resulted in reversals. In contrast, during the same period, roughly 16% to 19% of the appeals resulted in reversals. [Source: “Advocacy in the Superior Court: Request Oral Argument or Submit on Briefs?” by Judge Christine Donohue, in Appellate Advocacy at the Movies, (2012)]
One possible explanation for this fact is that the judges become more familiar with the argued cases. If a case is argued, a judge first reads the briefs, listens to and participates in argument, and then meets with the other panel members thereafter to discuss the case and to cast a preliminary vote. After the case is assigned for a decision, the judges give the case to a clerk, who prepares a preliminary decision, which is then circulated to the panel members for further review and a final vote. During the process, the judges have five points of contact: (1) preparation for argument, (2) oral argument, (3) preliminary vote discussion, (4) the written decision, and (5) the final vote.
If a case is not argued, the judges have far less contact with the case. A judge may discuss it with his/her clerks and with the other panel members, but that contact is “truncated.” [Id.]
If you seek reversal, you should request oral argument.