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The Proper Art of Advocacy in All Its Forms

  • Category(s): Political / Legal Essays
  • Created on : 11 November 2014
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


A dissection of the process of legal advocacy and written rhetoric to bring out the true essentials in all forms of persuasion as practised by R.M. Lamb Esq.1975 – 2014.

1. Preamble

Having been a practising Barrister and Solicitor for 38 years to 25 May 2013 I have had some time to ruminate on this topic. The essence of advocacy is to press your client’s case whoever your client may be. Your task is to argue the case not to personalise the dispute be it in the legal forum or outside i.e. political or historical fields. I have latterly since 1 June 2013 turned to writing essays of persuasion. Here again my own views take second place to the polemic I put forward. With any form of legal advocacy the example is the actor who speaks “the lines” but he is not required to believe them in their entirety. Yet he must inject meaning and feeling into his words on stage.

2. Sincerity

I have been praised for my sincerity in my advocacy many years ago. What is this sincerity? Simply the presentation of my case without mendacity, deviousness or deceit. It does not mean that I personally associate myself with all the steps in my argument. Yes I believed in what I said in Court and I fully support what I essay write or I would be a flatterer and deceiver. My Soul is for God’s Judgement not mine. I cannot judge myself. At the end of the day I do not decide my personal salvation. My individual decision to argue the case this way or that is down to R.M. Lamb Esq and that choice is driven by the needs of advocacy. God Judges R.M. Lamb Esq the person first and his polemical casework second in all his verbal Court submissions and written essay advocacy. The man matters more than the words. So in his advocacy R.M. Lamb divorces his personal preference from his legal argument or written political, historical, legal and religious essays to maintain the sincerity and purity of his case to his hearers and his readers.

3. Complications

The process I have outlined above is a difficult one to learn for any legal advocate or writer in the non-legal field. I have on occasion yielded to the temptation to go personal and introduce my personal feelings in to my case for the prosecution, defence or in the Children Act cases with semi- disastrous consequences for my clients and adverse impact on my professional self-esteem. Thus this cancer of the self above pure advocacy eats away at the very heart of the advocate. His heart must be in the job of legal representation and essay writing without doubt. It will not be if he is not committed or he is over committed. Both poles are to be avoided.

Under commitment means under powered and lacking in strength. Over commitment means missing the target and directing the aim erroneously.

4. The Military Analogy

We put our robes and wigs on entering the Court as the Knights of old put on their armour before battle. The robes and wigs clothe us with the “armour” of detachment and professionalism. They remind us we are speaking for our client not ourselves personally. They are the protection of our soul and personality from being embroiled in the case. However under the “armour” our mind, heart and body will be used to the utmost in this battle even the very soul. It is battle and you have to deploy your whole body and faculties and heart and soul or you will be defeated. The other side will not weaken or take prisoners. In any legal case or written debate worth its salt it will be a fight to the death or it will be mere ritual and ceremony. I submit wear your “armour” to protect your vulnerable “body” heart and mind but do not flinch in combat. Hand to hand fighting is bitter and prolonged and there is no Judge to call “time”. In the field of advocacy written and oral the fight is also critical and severe. In Court the Judge decides – out of Court there is no one to call the shots and separate the protagonists (unlike the boxing ring).

5. Conclusion

The art of legal advocacy comes easier to some and harder to others e.g. myself – it has taken me nearly 25 years to learn the hard way and now I have given up practice of the law: criminal and law of the family. The essence is to put your client first, then the Court, then yourself as the Legal Advocate with his rhetoric. With essays put the polemical case first and then the evidential case and your personal flair and style come last. If you are not prepared to apply these priorities forget the whole profession of advocacy or you will be a failure. The client and the polemical case drive the whole process forward and any weakness in putting these two forward first and foremost will fatally damage your case. You are not in it for yourself: that is your sincerity and honesty and selflessness. Not many are suited to the profession of spoken word in legal advocacy and essay writing. The gate will be narrow but everyone should be given a way forward some way or another – even as failed Barristers – a noble grouping. The profession of politics does involved advocacy but strangely with the advent of the mass media it has withered, Churchill and Bevan excluded. Politics is down to apathy and drumming up support through the media – Gladstonian rhetoric is passée.

To conclude there is a place for persuasion: public and private but do not be surprised if you have to wait for it to flourish. You cannot and will not defeat the Holy Spirit- the Great Advocate Himself and the Third Person of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity.