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8. We have next to consider how a case should be studied, since such study is the foundation of oratory. There is no one so destitute of all talent as, after making himself thoroughly familiar with all the facts of his case, to be unable at least to communicate those facts to the judge. [2] But those who devote any serious attention to such study are very few indeed. For, to say nothing of those careless advocates who are quite indifferent as to what the pivot of the whole case may be, provided only there are points which, though irrelevant to the case, will give them the opportunity of declaiming in thunderous tones on the character of persons involved or developing some commonplace, there are some who are so perverted by vanity that, on the oft-repeated pretext that they are occupied by other business, they bid their client come to them on the day preceding the trial or early on the morning of the day itself, and sometimes even boast that they learnt up their case while sitting in court; [3] while others by [p. 429] way of creating an impression of extraordinary talent, and to make it seem that they arc quick in the uptake, pretend that they have grasped the facts of the case and understand the situation almost before they have heard what it is, and then after chanting out some long and fluent discourse which has nought to do either with the judge or their client, but awakens the clamorous applause of the audience, they are escorted home through the forum, perspiring at every pore and attended by flocks of enthusiastic friends. [4] Further, I would not even tolerate the affectation of those who insist that their friends, and not themselves, should be instructed in the facts of the case, though this is a less serious evil, if the friends can be relied upon to learn and supply the facts correctly. But who can give such effective study to the case as the advocate himself? How can the intermediary, the go-between or interpreter, devote himself whole-heartedly to the study of other men's cases, when those who have got to do the actual pleading do not think it worth while to get up their own? [5] On the other hand, it is a most pernicious practice to rest content with a written statement of the case composed either by the litigant who betakes himself to an advocate because he finds that his own powers are not equal to the conduct of his case, or by some member of that class of legal advisers1 who admit that they are incapable of pleading, and then proceed to take upon themselves the most difficult of all the tasks that confront the pleader. For if a man is capable of judging what should be said, what concealed, what avoided, altered or even invented, why should he not appear as orator himself, since he performs the far more difficult feat of making [p. 431] an orator? [6] Such persons would not, however, do so much harm if they would only put down all the facts as they occurred. But as it is, they add suggestions of their own, put their own construction on the facts and insert inventions which are far more damaging than the unvarnished truth. And then the advocate as a rule, on receiving the document, regards it as a crime to make any alteration, and keeps to it as faithfully as if it were a theme set for declamation in the schools. The sequel is that they are tripped up and have to learn from their opponents the case which they refused to learn from their own clients. [7] We should therefore above all allow the parties concerned ample time for an interview in a place free from interruption, and should even exhort them to set forth on the spot all the facts in as many words as they may choose to use and allowing them to go as far back as they please. For it is less of a drawback to listen to a number of irrelevant facts than to be left in ignorance of essentials. Moreover, [8] the orator will often detect both the evil and its remedy in facts which the litigant regarded as devoid of all importance, one way or the other. Further, the advocate who has got to plead the case should not put such excessive confidence in his powers of memory as to disdain to jot down what he has heard.

Nor should one hearing be regarded as sufficient. The litigant should be made to repeat his statements at least once, not merely because certain points may have escaped him on the occasion of his first statement, as is extremely likely to happen if, as is often the case, he is a man of no education, but also that we may note whether he sticks to what he originally [p. 433] said. [9] For a large number of clients lie, and hold forth, not as if they were instructing their advocate in the facts of the case, but as if they were pleading with a judge. Consequently we must never be too ready to believe them, but must test them in every way, try to confuse them and draw them out. [10] For just as doctors have to do more than treat the ailments which meet the eye, and need also to discover those which he hid, since their patients often conceal the truth, so the advocate must look out for more points than his client discloses to him. After he considers that he has given a sufficiently patient hearing to the latter's statements, he must assume another character and adopt the rôle of his opponent, urging every conceivable objection that a discussion of the kind which we are considering may permit. [11] The client must be subjected to a hosthe cross-examination and given no peace: for by enquiring into everything, we shall sometimes come upon the truth where we least expect it.

In fact, the advocate who is most successful in getting up his case is he who is incredulous. For the client promises everything: the people, he says, will bear witness to the truth of what he says, he can produce documentary evidence at a moment's notice and there are some points which he says his opponent [12] will not deny. It is therefore necessary to look into every document connected with the case, and where the mere sight of them is not sufficient, they must be read through. For very frequently they are either not at all what the client alleged them to be, or contain less, or are mixed up with elements that may damage our case, or prove more than is required and are likely to detract from their credibility just [p. 435] because they are so extravagant. [13] Further, it will often be found that the thread is broken or the seal tampered with or the signatures unsupported by witnesses. And unless you discover such facts at home, they will take you by surprise in court and trip you up, doing you more harm by forcing you to abandon them than they would have done had they never been promised you. There are also a number of points which the client regards as irrelevant to his case, which the advocate will be able to elicit, provided he go carefully through all the “dwelling places” of argument which I have already described.2 [14] Now though, for reasons already mentioned, it is most undesirable that he should hunt for and try every single one of those, while actually engaged in pleading his case, it is most necessary in the preliminary study of the case to leave no stone unturned to discover the character of the persons involved, the circumstances of time and place, the customs and documents concerned, and the rest, from which we may not merely deduce the proofs known as artificial, but may also discover which witnesses are most to be feared and the best method of refuting them. For it makes a great difference whether it be envy, hatred or contempt that forms the chief obstacle to the success of the defence, since of these obstacles the first tells most against superiors, the second against equals, and the third against those of low degree.

[15] Having thus given a thorough examination to the case and clearly envisaged all those points which will tell for or against his client, the orator must then place himself in the position of a third person, namely, the judge, and imagine that the [p. 437] case is being pleaded before himself, and assume that the point which would have carried most weight with himself, had he been trying the case, is likely to have the greatest influence with the actual judge. Thus he will rarely be deceived as to the result of the trial, or, if he is, it will be the fault of the judge.

1 Advocatus is here used in its original sense. By Quintilian's time it had come also to mean “advocate,” and is often so used by him elsewhere.

2 V. x. 20 sqq. i. e. sources from which arguments may be drawn.

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