Advocacy Readings

Effective advocacy requires raw talent. But it also takes skills that can be learned, practiced and improved. I’ve culled this reading list from what I believe are among the best resources on written and oral advocacy available.

Many of the techniques described in these readings come from leading lawyers and judges, with not just decades but centuries of cumulative experience. One thing you can do is learn more about these successful advocates, or “learned friends” as they’re often called. Then use this list to glean ideas to improve your own advocacy.

Justice Ian Binnie, “A Survivor’s Guide to Advocacy in the Supreme Court of Canada

Justice Ian Binnie, “In Praise of Oral Advocacy

Justice Kenneth Campbell, “Preparing the Factum

Justice Marvin Catzman, “The Wrong Stuff: How to Lose Appeals in the Court of Appeal

Justice Louise Charron, “The Governing Principle in Writing a Factum: Write for Your Reader

Justice Eleanore Cronk, “Lessons from Lewis Carrol on excellence in written appellate advocacy

Justice Eleanore Cronk, “More lessons on excellence in written appellate advocacy

Justice Thomas Cromwell, Effective Written Advocacy

Justice Joel Fichaud, “How to Catch the Judge’s Wave

Justice George Finlayson, “Appellate Advocacy in an Abbreviated Setting

Justice Michael Kirby, “Ten Rules of Appellate Advocacy

Justice John Laskin, “Forget the Windup and Make the Pitch: Some Suggestions for Writing More Persuasive Factums

Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, Hemingway v Tolstoy (Memorandum of Fact and Law of the Appellant)

Eugene Meehan, Q.C., Justice Peter Lowry and Brian Samuels, “Strategic Legal Writing: Preparing Persuasive Documents

Justice Timothy Outerbridge, “Tactics for Written and Oral Advocacy: “Be Prepared, Be Brief, Be Gone

Justice Renee Pomerance, “Appellate Advocacy: Presenting the Oral Argument

Chief Justice John Richard, “Appellate Advocacy in the Federal Courts in Intellectual Property Matters

William Richardson, “The Art and Science of Appellate Advocacy

Justice Marshall Rothstein, “Winning Appellate Advocacy: Persuasive Presentations

Justice Marshall Rothstein, “Advocacy in Intellectual Property Litigation in the Supreme Court of Canada” (video)

Paul Pape, “Advocacy in the Court of Appeal: One Lawyer’s Perspective

Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner, Making your case: the art of persuading judges

Justice David Stratas, “Some Thoughts on Advocacy in Judicial Review Proceedings

Justice David Stratas, “Some tips on oral advocacy from Justice Rothstein

Justice Jamie Saunders, “A Series of Reflections on Persuasive Writing

Justice David Stratas, “Writing up the facts and winning big: Some secrets of the best writers of legal submissions

Justices David Stratas, Kathy Feldman and Janet Simmons, “Some Factum Suggestions

I also have my own theories about what works well in appellate advocacy. You can see how I’ve put these into practice in recent written submissions (below) and oral arguments (starting at 165:00) in the Supreme Court of Canada.