Your job as an advocate at a tribunal, court, or hearing is not to establish the truth. It is to persuade the tribunal on behalf of your client.
This will involve revealing evidence in support of your client’s position, and suppressing evidence which is unhelpful.
But you need to avoid having a go on behalf of the client and thinking to yourself what the client would want you to do. You need to think like the decision maker, the tribunal.
And you need to think “what would the tribunal think?” By doing this, you can do a better job for your client. If you build trust and please the tribunal you will be doing a good job for your client, paradoxically.
Show, don’t tell
Also, you need to show, not tell.
Nobody likes to be told what to do. You want to show them what to do. And adopt the stance of a trusted helper, helping the tribunal come to the right decision.
Don’t instruct, assist. Don’t tell the tribunal what to think.
Make your argument irresistible so that the argument wins the day.
And you? Make yourself invisible. Your argument should be front and centre, not you.
Remember the 2 ‘I’s:
- Irresistible (argument)
- Invisible (advocate)
You want to be seen as a professional who puts their arm around the shoulder of the tribunal and helping them arrive at the right decision, from your perspective. This is the best way to advocate for your client.