1. What personal skills do you need to have to become a solicitor advocate?

Many of the skills you need to have to be a successful court lawyer are the same as those you need to be a successful solicitor advocate. Beyond the skills that are required for both branches of the profession, to become a successful solicitor advocate you should have a degree of confidence in your advocacy abilities, an ability to organise yourself effectively whilst working as both a lawyer and solicitor advocate, and communication skills.

We are all familiar with portrayals of barristers/advocates in film and TV as over-confident, preening peacocks. In any gross characterisation, there is always an element of truth. A solicitor advocate needs to demonstrate a confidence in their own abilities so that they inspire the confidence of the client, instructing solicitors and the court.

Another crucial skill to becoming a solicitor advocate whilst operating as a lawyer is to be able to organise your diary effectively. It is important that you are able to devote sufficient time to preparing for any court hearing/drafting required, whilst being able to fulfil your day-to-day client commitments and wider business development requirements. This is no easy task but becomes easier with practice and the support of colleagues.

The essence of advocacy is the art of persuasion, so you also need to be a great communicator. One cannot hope to persuade others of the strength of your client's position without being able to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally.

2. What are the benefits to clients of having our in-house Advocacy by Brodies set?

We provide a genuine choice for our clients and they can contact us directly. They don't have to contact us via a clerk for example, which can sometimes be a barrier to communication.

Each of our solicitor advocates has expertise in the fields within which they practice and being part of a large firm means that we have a dedicated and experienced support team, which generates efficiencies for our clients. We are lawyers and, even though we concentrate on advocacy, we know and understand the pressures other lawyers face and we will work with those instructing us to alleviate the demands made upon them.

3. What three things can't you live without to do your job?

Having worked from home for over 18 months, the first thing that you come to appreciate is a reliable broadband connection. This enables you to function both as a lawyer but is also crucial when conducting virtual court hearings.

Another thing that I couldn't live without is access to online legal research platforms. This has been brought in to keen focus whilst working from home and without the opportunity to reach for hard copy textbooks/journals in our office libraries.

A buddy. In my case, my buddy is Buddy our family Australian Labradoodle. Buddy has forced me to get out into the fresh air for exercise, time away from the laptop, time for reflection and time for de-compression. Have a buddy who forces you to do the same.

4. What TV or film lawyers do you identify with and why?

When I was younger, I enjoyed the depiction of lawyers in John Grisham's novels, which were, with the benefit of hindsight, never particularly nuanced caricatures.

The one lawyer that all lawyers, including myself, compare themselves with is Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. He typifies the best of the profession; honourable, resolute, composed and compassionate. An inspiration as a lawyer, father and man.


Craig Watt

Partner & Solicitor Advocate