The Ancient Art of Advocacy Logo

Overview of the advocacy training resources section

Historically, the old way of learning to be an advocate involved studying rhetoric and analysing and studying the techniques of the great legal orators, by reading and analysing their speeches, and identifying the techniques that they used.

In this section, you will find a number of speeches from the great legal orators such as Socrates, Cicero, Curran, Erskine, Marshall Hall, Ballantine, Sir Edward Clarke, Garrow, Hardinge-Giffard (aka Lord Halsbury), O'Connell and Birkett, amongst others.

There are also a number of complete trials that you can analyse, including some that are historically interesting, such as the trial of Dick Turpin, the trial of Captain Kidd, the trial of Miss Tocker, the McN'aughton case, and the trial of William Penn.

Whilst you can use these resources how you please ie as part of a study of advocacy and advocacy techniques or simply to indulge an interest in legal history, we have provided, where possible, ideas for ways to use the materials so you can improve your advocacy skills. Whether you do these or not is up to you - this isn't a course in advocacy, but more of a smorgasbord of advocacy resources, so you have complete freedom in how you use the materials. 

If you are a transferring lawyer, and not currently recieving any training in advocacy, you may find it helpful to work your way through these resources and the website more generally, and work on those areas you feel you are weak in or know little about. A good idea is to create a portfolio of what you have done, and then when you are either applying to the BSB or applying for pupillage you can showcase what you have learnt. Doing that will also enable you to demonstrate and evidence your interest in advocacy, which is normally a standard pupillage application form question.

If you are already qualified then you can learn and study whatever you chose and as much or as little as you like. When putting this site together, I have tried to ensure that there is something there for everyone; those starting out will find the basic information regarding the aims and objectives regarding opening speeches, statements of facts, legal arguments, on EIC and XX, and closing speeches useful. Those who are familiar with those basics may find studying the speeches of great legal orators a useful way of improving their advocacy technique,  and they may also find it useful to studying classical legal rhetoric, which you can also do on the site. QC's often have an interest in legal history and rhetoric, and again there is plenty of legal history to be found on the site. There are also ideas for projects that people can get involved in, whether they are oupils, practising barristers or retired, so hopefully there is something here for everyone!