February 10, 2021
6. Jo Sidhu KC: The Soft Skills of Advocacy

Jo Sidhu KC joins host Bibi Badejo to discuss a topic which is less commonly the focus of advocacy training, but no less important – the soft skills of advocacy. Jo explores aspects such as breathing, projection, and controlling the mind to eliminate distractions and extraneous material.

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

  • Every advocate must go through the early stages of learning and making mistakes.
  • It is important we take a formulaic approach to teaching advocacy, but we must not forget to teach the soft skills.
  • A good advocate must follow the basic rules of advocacy but develop the ability to improvise upon them and show their own personality.
  • The key to ensuring you can focus on your performance is preparation – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
  • Work on your breathing – you can use this to get your body into a relaxed, almost Zen-like state and eliminate the distractions. 
  • Breathing and posture is also key for projection and ensuring your voice can be heard throughout the courtroom. Do not mistake volume for power in the voice. 
  • Eloquence is important, but do not imitate someone else’s voice or accent. 
  • Seek feedback from colleagues and members of Chambers.  
  • Filter the information, distilling the papers to the absolute minimum.
  • Jo explains his highlighter technique to organise his material and to ensure his eyes can find the required part of the papers without any faff.  
  • Jo explains how he takes notes while a witness is speaking, and how to make this as efficient and effective as possible. 
  • All human beings love stories – make the information as attractive and listenable as possible. 
  • The best advocates are emotionally intelligent – they are constantly picking up information from all those in the courtroom and are able to tailor their approach accordingly. 
  • What to do when you get a bad answer from a witness. 
  • How to let your personality come through in closing speeches. 

Jo Sidhu KC

Jo Sidhu KC was called to the Bar in 1993 and took silk in 2012, practising from 25 Bedford Row and No 5 Chambers. He is a leading specialist in criminal law with particular expertise in terrorism cases, homicides, and conspiracies involving frauds, robberies and drugs trafficking.

Among many high profile cases, Jo has acted in three of the largest ever terrorist plots. He also acted in R v Mizanur Rahman regarding the inviting of support for ISIS in which the co-defendant was Anjem Choudary, and the largest case under the Crown Prosecution Service’s Very High Costs Cases scheme, R v Hai Ban Tran & 23 Ors, regarding a conspiracy to produce cannabis.

Jo has extensive experience of teaching advocacy internationally for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. He also teaches on the Keble Advanced Advocacy Course and as a lead trainer for Lincoln’s Inn where he was elected as a Bencher in 2014. He has served on many committees for the English Bar including as Vice-Chair of the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee and as the President of the Society of Asian Lawyers. He is currently the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association.