The Art of Advocacy

Often considered an “art”, advocacy is in fact a skill. A skill that all legal practitioners are required to have in order to advance a client’s case in court or a tribunal. It may be written or oral. And it can be practiced, refined and developed.

Good advocacy skills are important because they allow legal practitioners to present their case in a clear, organised and efficient manner, with the ultimate aim of persuading a court or tribunal of fact or law.


Developing Advocacy Skills

Advocacy skills include the ability to:

  • analyse a case and organise large volumes of material

  • make legal submissions to a variety of audiences

  • question and examine different types of witnesses

  • advance your client’s interests 

Research has shown that advocacy is a skill that can be learnt and developed. Even advanced advocates can benefit from specialist advocacy training. 
IILAT’s distinguished lawyers, barristers, arbitrators and judges use proven teaching methods such as the 'Hampel' method, to provide structured advocacy training. This ensures that legal practitioners do not just observe good advocacy skills but learn and develop by doing it themselves.


The Hampel Method

One of the advocacy training techniques used by IILAT is the Hampel method. Named after its originator, George Hampel, AM, QC, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, the Hampel teaching method was devised based on the teaching of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and has come to be used by Bar associations in multiple jurisdictions as the means to train legal practitioners.

The Hampel method uses a six-step structured teaching method to train legal practitioners by doing.


The six steps are: 

  1. Headline: identifying what can be improved in what has been displayed.

  2. Playback: giving examples of what needs improving by providing an exact quote of what the legal practitioner said in his or her performance.

  3. Reason: explaining why it needs improving.

  4. Remedy: explaining how it can be improved.

  5. Demonstration: demonstrating how it can be improved.

  6. Delayed Replay: confirmation that the advocate has understood the review and then after a short break the advocate has another attempt.

The six-step Hampel method requires legal practitioners to perform a particular advocacy skill in a simulated courtroom environment and in a strict time-frame. Specialist advocacy trainers then observe the performance and identify a single aspect of the performance that could be improved or remedied. By focusing on a single issue and by explaining how, where and why improvement can be made, legal practitioners are able to absorb the information and modify their advocacy. Practitioners cement their learning by later performing the particular advocacy skill in an improved manner.

The ‘Hampel 2’ method adds one additional step: a video recording of the performance. After the six steps are complete, the legal practitioner reviews a video recording of their performance with another advocacy trainer. The opportunity for practitioners to see themselves, their tics and positive performative traits, is a valuable training experience. IILAT integrates the use of video recording where possible, primarily in person-to-person training events.