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The Advocacy Project

The Advocacy Project is an initiative focused on increasing standards of courtroom advocacy within the legal profession.

Our experienced team and presenters provide high quality continuing legal education (MCLE) in the form of interactive, practical workshops designed for practitioners wishing to improve their key advocacy skills.

 

What we believe

 

It is sometimes said that great advocates are born not made.....we agree with this to a point.

More accurately, we believe that everyone is born equipped with the inherent skills of an advocate.

Consider how often you advocate for a certain outcome in your everyday life; “I think we should go to dinner here…”, or perhaps advocate for your interpretation of a particular current event “I think everyone has the right to be married ”.

These conversations between friends, work colleagues or even people at a bus stop are the most natural thing in the world - each of us has our own unique way of making a point.  Most of us do not give theses everyday pieces of advocacy which are such a part of our lives, a second thought.

Our philosophy, and our project, is anchored by the principle that we should never feel that when we step into a court room we must assume some personality other than our own, simply to advocate a legal proposition.

The Advocacy Project aims to harness participants innate advocacy skills and focus them in a legal, courtroom framework.

We believe that everyone has the potential to be a great advocate.

 

Advocacy Project Workshops

 

Participants attending an Advocacy Project workshop are given an individual piece of advocacy to complete in both a local court and district court setting. The settings are as realistic as possible and utilise actual courthouses. Presiding judicial members are either sitting or retired members of the NSW judiciary/magistracy or senior members of the bar.

 

Experience has shown us that the criminal jurisdiction provides the clearest framework within which to develop participant’s inherent advocacy skills. Each participant is given a particular scenario which is finalised at sentence in the summary jurisdiction. Unfortunately the finalisation of the matter is delayed by appeal to the district court. This provides participants with an introduction to appellate advocacy.

 

Participants are provided with all necessary factual and background scenario material and although not mandatory participants are encouraged to film their advocacy for review.  

 

Workshops presented by the project are unashamedly practical in their focus and interactive in their delivery. It is intended that while presenters are responsible for the broad structure of workshops, there should be enough flexibility for a significant proportion of content to be determined by participants. However, it is a point of difference between our project and other advocacy courses that the availability of presenters, including presiding judicial members, does not cease at the conclusion of the formal course. Our experience has been that much can be gained by the exchange of ideas and information in a relaxed setting, and to this end a networking dinner at a local venue is an important component of all workshops.

 

All Advocacy Project workshops are held on weekends over two days. The practical advocacy component of each workshop takes place all day Saturday. Sunday half day comprises a relaxed round table dealing with courtroom etiquette, ethics and practical tactics.

 

There are no “stupid questions” at an Advocacy Project workshop.

 

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