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Advocacy and Research Guide

Research skills are what will set you apart from your colleagues. 

Work faster, smarter and confidently to be thoroughly prepared for each case. With increasing online content and new databases being released, research is a skill that should be continually honed throughout your career. 

Personal and Advocacy Skills

These articles highlight the personal and advocacy skills needed by barristers today: 

Felicity Nelson, 'Finding a seat at the Bar', Lawyers Weekly, 15 May 2015

The Supreme Court of Victoria, 'Judge, You've Got Mail', 'Gertie's Law', 11 September 2019. 13:18m

"This next question comes from Ahmed.
Ahmed (listener)
What differentiates a good barrister from a great barrister?
Justice Taylor
Well, I think a good barrister is someone who is always prepared, pays exquisite attention to detail, is always reasonable and friendly and polite.
But for me, a great barrister has three things.
One is that they have an authority from speaking entirely in their own voice, as opposed to what they think they should sound like.
Two is a love of language, which translates to them using precisely the right words, not merely to describe something but to capture and convey its essence, and that applies both in writing and orally.
And the third thing is brevity. And that is that they have the confidence in their own ability and they respect the intelligence of their audience enough not to repeat themselves."

Listen (or read) what Supreme Court Judges feel are the skills and attributes needed to be a great barrister. 

Honourable Justice J Henry, Judge D Morzone QC and Judge G Lynham, "Appellate Advocacy in Crime", Conference paper, NQLA Conference, 2019. Part B: Written Outline of Argument (by Morzone QC DCJ) and Part C: Oral Argument (by Henry J) are especially relevant. 

"Showcasing the barrister - solicitor relationship", Victoria Legal Aid, 21 August 2018. A close working relationship between an instructing solicitor and barrister is vital to best serve the needs of clients. Read about the working relationship between a Senior Family Lawyer Bernadette Grandinetti and Barrister Daphne Foong. 

Federal Magistrate Toni Lucev, "Advocacy - Some essential tips for beginners", Western Australian Courts Summer Clerks Course, Perth 11 December 2012. 

The Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, "Advocacy inside and outside the courtroom", QLS Modern Advocate Lecture Series, QLS 11 May 2017.

Alvin Chen and Stella Chen, "Soft Skills for Success," Law Gazette, Law Society of Singapore, August 2018.


A practical guide to legal research
Jay Sanderson
Kim Kelly
Publication edition: 
4th edition
Year of publication: 

Law Library of Victoria

The Law Library of Victoria offers a number of free resources and training opportunities to continually enhance your research skills. 

Law Library of Victoria

Search the Law Library of Victoria catalogue to access books, articles and unreported judgments.

Law Library of Victoria - Registered Users

Have you paid a library fee on admission to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, or are you an Australian legal practitioner whose principal place of practice is in Victoria and are on the Local Legal Profession Register? Then you are eligible to become a Registered User of the Law Library of Victoria and receive extra benefits such as:

  • access to legal research guides that provide insights into topics such as using legal research tools, essential legal research skills and more
  • tips on locating Victorian Unreported Judgments
  • information on locating Authorised Australian Reports
  • guides to setting up and receiving legal alerts and information 

Members can also access exclusive subscriber-only publications and databases including resources such as US and Canadian legislation and case law, and scholarly publications like Current Issues in Criminal Justice.