Advocacy Lessons from the Past

AuthorSheila R Block
chapter eight
Advocacy Lessons from the Past*
shEilA r bloCK
In preparing the 2010 Advocates’ Society Charles L Dubin Lecture
on Advocacy, I had the good fortune to read a fair bit of advice
on advocacy from the legendary lawyers of Charles Dubin’s day.
There were both lessons in the art of advocacy and cautionary
tales for practitioners today. Lawyers like Dubin, John Robinette,
Arthur Martin, Arthur Maloney, and John Arnup were frequently
in court and had more opportunity than many of us enjoy today
to learn by doing.
Dubin was known to be good at all the advocacy skills, both
trial and appellate. I am certain this is because he insisted on hav-
ing such a clear analysis of his case theory. He made choices. They
were not always the right ones, but more often than not he was
able to persuade the court that his view was the only credible route
to judgment. Cross-examination was said to be one of his long
suits. So identied was he with this skill that people today who
never saw him in action will cite his prowess as a cross-examiner.1
* A version of this article was published in (Autumn 2011) 30:2 Advocates’ Journal 12.
1 See John McLeish, “Cross-examining the Opposing Expert” (2009) 28:3 Advo-
cates’ Journal 7 at 9.

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