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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Legal Advocacy: It's Your Campaign!

The word "campaign" has two common connotations, both somewhat negative.

One is the political type of campaign. If those 30-second ads have made you tempted to throw a brick at the tv screen, you know what I'm talking about. The second is a military campaign, one which conjures up images of a protracted, destructive march through the countryside. Think of the legendary (or infamous, depending on your perspective) campaign of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose march exacted purposeful devastation through the Georgia countryside to the Atlantic Ocean in order to demoralize the South's civilian population and destroy as much of the Confederacy's economic strength (and by extension, its ability to sustain a long war).

But when you need an advocate, you are engaging in a campaign. Your lawyer is your advocate, your general.
There are similar processes in other fields. Salesmanship and marketing are, in essence, nothing but campaigns. So is government lobbying.

In the advocacy sense, a campaign is about communicating your position with the goal of persuading your audience.

The essentials of a campaign are its weapons. The better weapons you have, the better your chances. And if your weapons are being used by a skilled communicator, that's just as good as having the shiniest new toy.

The weapons in the advocacy campaign are basic facts, the situation (do you need help? Are you looking to buy a car?) and, sometimes, the law (because persuading you to do one thing may involve convincing you that doing something different might be illegal).

The best campaigners assess a situation and amass as much information as possible. Information is the best currency.

But deploying that information, that knowledge, is a skill set of its own. This is where the experienced negotiator and advocate can make a difference for you.

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