Last weekend the University of Glasgow Mooting Society hosted an Advocacy Training Day in the Stair Building. With the aim of encouraging more students to consider the prospect of a career in advocacy, the event focused on giving participants a better idea of what life as an Advocate is like as well as developing tips and tricks to improve advocacy skills. Throughout the day we were lucky enough to be joined by several members of the Faculty of Advocates. Between them our guests boasted decades of advocacy experience across a vast range of areas of practice and at all levels of our justice system so the event was an invaluable opportunity to learn from the very best. To kick things off Kirsty Hood QC answered some of the most common questions about becoming an Advocate and life as a member of the Faculty. Kirsty has sixteen years advocacy experience and currently holds the position of Clerk of Faculty, meaning that she offered invaluable perspectives on all aspects of practising at the Bar. She answered all sorts of questions ranging from what exams must be passed to enter the Faculty to the pros and cons of being self-employed.
Next in the programme came a discussion about forming legal arguments and using legal authority with Kay M. Springham QC, a civil litigation specialist with eighteen years of experience at the Bar. Use of argument and authority are imperative to successful mooting so Kay’s advice was relevant not only for the future but also for the many mooting competitions coming up this academic year.
The last workshop of the day came from David R. Parratt QC, advocate of eighteen years and specialist in commercial law. With vast experience as the Director of Training and Education in the Faculty, David’s workshop on oral advocacy and interaction with the judge gave a real insight into the sorts of training exercises experienced by those undertaking admission to the Bar. By using visual examples and encouraging plenty of participation from attendees, David portrayed vividly the importance of self-awareness in advocacy and engaged the group in evaluating their own oral advocacy techniques.
To round off the day we were lucky enough to be joined by Lady Carmichael, a Glasgow graduate who in 2016 was appointed as a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Court of Session. Lady Carmichael gave an in-depth perspective on the path to becoming an Advocate and the realities of life in the profession, particularly focusing on her experience as a woman and parent. Her discussion was both thought-provoking and inspiring, reinforcing that advocacy is a realistic prospect for any enthusiastic law student.
We were also joined throughout the day by Julie McKinlay and Roddy MacLeod, two advocates with not only experience of years at the Bar but also of working extensively as solicitors. During breaks throughout the day and by way of a laidback panel discussion there was a continuing dialogue of questions between participants and the Advocates present, meaning that no student left with a query unanswered. The opportunity to speak first hand to an array of practitioners with such vast experience was a first for many present and left participants feeling that they had gained valuable knowledge relevant both for their mooting and professional careers.
Participants Jack Adair and Lindsay McAllister said they found the day ‘very informative and interactive’ and that ‘throughout the day [they] were able to have any questions about the Bar answered with great detail’. Lindsay summed up perfectly the message which came to the fore throughout the day: ‘the event really made me think that this a career path open to me if I’m willing to put in the work.’
To find out more about becoming an Advocate, visit www.advocates.org.uk. To find out more about the UofG Mooting Society, find us on Facebook through our ‘University of Glasgow Mooting Society’ group or at @MootingUofG on Twitter.
Eleanor Livingston is the Vice President of the University of Glasgow Mooting Society.