Oral advocacy is essential in many aspects of daily life. From a baby’s cry, to trying to stay up a bit later on a school night, to lobbying for a particular vacation destination, oral advocacy has a huge impact on how most of us live our lives.
Effective oral advocacy is the lifeblood of litigators. Be it seeking to convince a jury or judge, an opponent, a regulator, or a client or potential client, lawyers use persuasion every day in almost everything. How, then, do persuasive skills used in day-to-day life differ from those used in the law (or do they differ at all)?
Nearly a generation ago, in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum suggested how the world might be a better place if adults applied the same basic concepts they learned as children. On the heels of Nicole’s seventh-grade oral presentation on the Oracle of Delphi and following Sam’s stint as a judge pro tempore on the Arizona Court of Appeals, we decided to test Mr. Fulghum’s suggestions. More specifically, we decided to discuss whether the approaches to oral presentations for a seventh grader (through the eyes of Nicole, a seventh grader) applied to pretrial oral advocacy in court (through the eyes of Sam, a trial judge). In doing so, we first identified 10 helpful tips for oral advocacy and then addressed them from those two perspectives.