In combination with my personal life experiences and my law school experience, I created my own personal definition of an advocate. In my perspective, to be an advocate is of course a legal one. We all have different opinions of what an advocate may be. My personal definition of an advocate is a person who believes not only in themselves, but most importantly believes in the person they are advocating for. An advocate is there to protect you and is someone who can be brave with you when you need support. An advocate should have never ending confidence in themselves. I further define an advocate as someone who may be looked to as a hero; someone who protects the innocent, underprivileged, and afraid.
Before law school, I didn’t speak my own opinion often, fearing it would be rejected by my peers. Notwithstanding, the fact that it always felt wrong to stay quiet because it enabled injustices to occur. I feared rejection from my peers and it affected me deeply. Mostly, because of what other individuals could say about me for stating my own opinion. After a few months of studying to become an attorney, I learned this plan to stay quiet was not the character law school was building within its students. I believe a legal advocate is different from other advocates because their arguments are artistic presentations. As if each move is strategically setting up the next. An advocate in the legal field is an artist.
An Advocate’s Purpose
In my opinion, the purpose of an advocate is to create balance so anyone who feels underprivileged or unsure can effectively exercise their right by consulting with an advocate. Advocates create a way for other individuals to understand the court system. Without them, the court system would be unbalanced in favor of the courts. This is because many individuals may not know how to properly and successfully present their cases before the courts. An advocate should be actively fighting for justice when any injustice occurs. They should strive to make changes to the unjust issues presented before them. Advocates should do what many individuals may not know how to do or cannot always do, which is to fight what they believe is right.
Not to get super religious BUT I will anyways, because the Roman Catholic faith presents a perfect example of an advocate’s purpose. Roman Catholics believe that in order to reach the ear of Christ (a God of righteous judgment) A.K.A the ultimate judge, one must ask an advocate such as the holy Saints to make a petition for us. Roman Catholic doctrines of faith further explain that this is due to the fact that we as humans don’t know how to communicate with our righteous and loving judge, (God.) As humans we think we know what we want to say to God in prayer, but sometimes it just comes out plain wrong. This is where our advocates or Saints step in by asking them to pray and plead our petition for us. When our holy advocates ask on our behalf, we are more likely to have our prayers/petitions answered and delivered.
There’s a lot of change all around a legal advocate when they begin their journey. Friends, family, and neighbors start to treat you differently. During the metamorphosis from non-advocate to legal advocate, people start to look at you as someone who can make a difference, someone who can help. It’s like the whole world around you has gone crazy, and everything is falling apart but really everything is just coming together and your old life, the person you used to be is no more. You are becoming a better version of yourself. Beginning my law school journey was kind of like entering a tornado and I think many other students would agree. It felt like the room was spinning from all the things I needed to learn in order to accomplish my goal of becoming a legal advocate. Many of the people I started my journey with are no longer a part of my life. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold on during the storm. Many of us know this as the first-year struggle but actually maybe the storm school created was just there to wash away the things that are not meant for us in life, that’s the way I look at it. The storm came yes, but it was to wash away the things we could not bring with us when we became legal advocates and entirely different people. I believe the storm came to rip the fear we grasped so tightly too away because of course many of us experience fear and won’t let go unless we have too. We tend to take it with us wherever we go but fear can’t come with us on our journey.
There is mostly an internal change. Advocates begin to see the world in a new light. It’s as if the world they were living in before doesn’t exist anymore. Many advocates look back and regret decisions they made before they had the education of a legal advocate
Advocates come in all shapes and sizes. Some advocates start all the way from the bottom as underprivileged persons and some were born privileged. Many of us were quiet once because we were afraid to speak but now, make sure our voices are heard. The key to the metamorphosis to legal advocate is finding balance between being overly confident, and just confident enough.
An advocate should be fully confident within themselves. It seems as though law school is more of a test of your confidence rather than your actual knowledge. Of course, knowing case law is an important part of law school, but confidence is the secret ingredient.
Without confidence it would be almost impossible to be a successful advocate. All it takes to lose sometimes is a little lack of confidence. In mere seconds you can lose a jury’s attention by speaking in a mumbled or monotone voice. People tend to listen to those who are confident in their speech and ignore those who are clearly unsure.
In conclusion, before my law school experience I was searching for someone to advocate for me, someone who would vigorously defend me. I finally realized during my journey that person is me, that person was within me, this entire time. All I needed was one large rainstorm to wash the fear out of me. After the rainstorm came something beautiful like a rainbow and it was in the form of an advocate.
Great article! I completely agree with your stance on the purpose of legal advocates of creating a balance.
Love this line “The key to the metamorphosis to legal advocate is finding balance between being overly confident, and just confident enough.”