Watch this space as, hopefully, it grows to include information that is useful to you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Advocacy

Isn’t knowledge of the law enough?

Legal knowledge -substantive, evidential, procedural-  is your starting point.  To that you need to add the practical performance skills of case organisation, questioning and addresses. Adding those skills requires a mix of innate skill, training, mentoring, repetition, and being able both to self critique and then develop self-improvement from that critique.

Why does advocacy skill matter?

Litigation is adversarial.  It produces winners and losers. 'Persuasion' is the key to the outcome. When the facts are disputed, but the law is clear, then the better presented facts determine the outcome.  When the facts are clear, but the applicable law is disputed, then the better presented arguments determine the outcome.

Aren’t good advocates just born that way?

Good advocates combine talent with experience. Talent is a gift, but it is not enough.  Talent allows those who are blessed with it to achieve with less effort what the rest of us must labour hard to acquire. Advocacy is a perfomance art.  Hence to become 'good' requires much perseverance - and many mistakes along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions about Being a Witness

Isn’t my knowledge as an expert enough?

Your knowledge is the starting point. Thereafter you need to master some court room communication skills; for example, unlike a class room where you and the students can ask each other questions, the court room is typically a place where lay people ( your side's advocate, plus the advocates for other parties) ask you questions.  Thereafter you must answer so that everyone else grasps at least a sense of following your explanation and believes that you are to be trusted. The audience will not 'learn' your skills, but they must 'learn' to accept that both you and your message are credible.

Your communication starts with the correct issues being the content of your expert report.  Thereafter there are such issues as what should be in your report, how to decide the topics that your advocate should raise with you in the courtroom, and how to deal effectively with cross examination.

These communication skills can be learned quite quickly in a worshop setting.

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