Seven Lamps of Advocacy


In the case of J.S. Jadhav v. Mustafa Haji Mohamad Yusuf[1], the Hon’ble Supreme court of India observed that “Advocacy is not a craft but a calling; a profession wherein devotion to duty constitutes the hallmark. The sincerity of performance and the earnestness of endeavour are the two wings that will bare aloft the advocate to the tower of success. Given these virtues, other qualifications will follow of their own account. This is the reason why the legal profession is regarded as a noble one.”

Thus, the legal fraternity centered on upholding and reinforcing the justice notion is the resemblance of nobility, which must be maintained and followed by the people immersed in it. In general parlance, ethics deals with the required qualities that encompass a well-founded standard of righteous behaviour qua the code of conduct elucidating what an individual is ought to do i.e. his rights and duties.

As like every profession, the legal profession is encapsulated in a code, which is avowed ethics. Undeniably, the bedrock principle on which this noble profession has built is professional ethics. Such legal professional ethics lay down the ethical code that a legal person should possess so as to keep up the law and justice by balancing the relationship between the bar and the bench.

A great position entails great responsibility, as like, an advocate being the authority qualified to plead should hold certain qualities and other pertinent skills. As far as India is concerned, legal ethics can be defined as the code of conduct stated either in written or unwritten provided for the regulation of advocates behaviour falls within the purview of Advocates Act, 1961.

Rules on the professional standards that an advocate needs to be maintained are mentioned in Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules. These rules have been incorporated in Section 49(1) (c) of the Advocates Act, 1961. It is pertinent to note that this provision empowers the bar council of India (A statutory body established under Section 4 of the Advocates Act, 1961) to make and regulate rules on the standard of professional conduct and etiquette to be observed by advocates.

Seven Lamps of Advocacy

Through the eyes of Sir John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, To succeed as a lawyer, a man must work like a horse and live like a hermit. Former Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia expressed the same while emphasizing the necessary character, which aids an advocate to remain at the top in the legal profession. As follows, the quintessential phraseology that describes one of the essential qualities of a great legal practitioner is Jack of all tradesmaster of none. Both the usages prescribe the qualities of an advocate that one must possess as engaged in the legal sector. Withal, legal ethics are governed and rooted in the principle of the ‘Seven lamps of Advocacy’ Book authored by Justice Abbott Parry. Such qualities deal with Integrity, Wittiness, Proficiency, Competency, Braveness, Articulacy, Rationality, and all other skills that are every legal person needs to be master.

1. Honesty

The statement that has always been used to lambast legal professionals, in general, is “lawyers are liars.” Nevertheless, one cannot overlook the reality that what layman concludes to be a lie maybe not be a lie in a genuine sense.

Per contra, lawyers are supposed to be honest since they have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients. Such honesty should be reflected in every single act of theirs viz. While delivering the Argument, thoughts, words, so on.

Honesty and straightforwardness resemble the quality of not being relied on the leverage of deceit, dishonesty, cheating, or any other unethical or criminal behaviour. If so, it will amount to a kind of professional misconduct and vitiate their growth.

Primarily, he should be a pioneer to reinforce justice in every possible way, not to be adept at deceiving. He should provide proper legal guidance to his clients. Honesty in the profession will efficiently help him to succeed in his field.

2. Courage

The nexus between courage and honesty are irrefutable. Refined legal knowledge, skills, and other qualities of truthfulness will enhance the ability to remain fearless under pressure and pain. But why advocates are supposed to possess this quality? This is not an open-ended question since courage is the defined quality of great lawyers attributable to eloquent speech, persuasive writings, and critical thinking.

Good lawyers always combine extraordinary work ethics with compassion. No matter how talented and result-oriented is an advocate; he can never find himself as an expert in this field unless and until he has courage. Courage connotes pacifists with a strong moral compass and the capacity to uphold their clients in front of the bench. Thus, lawyers should not back off his action even it might be a dissent one out of fear or danger advancing towards them.

3. Wit

Wit denotes the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure. In other words, it is the capacity to think clearly and speak concisely with an ingenious expression of thoughts. The phraseology wit lightens the darkness of advocacy implies the significance of this lamp. But why an advocate must possess this quality? Because, it imparts a great deal of critical analyzing skills as it is the outcome of cleverness, intelligence, smartness, and keen-mindedness.

Withal, Advocacy is the art of conducting cases in court, which comprises arguments, producing evidence, cross-examinations, and convincing the jury or the court. Substantially, a planned and prepared speech will never help you out in court, but quick-wittedness will. But, it is pertinent to note that people often compare law with the spider web because of its analogy to the latter’s entanglement feature i.e. it only entangles and holds the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful will easily break through them. An advocate must possess sufficient wit to bridge this gap.

4. Industry

This lamp recommends advocates to be excelled at all the required skill set to sustain or succeed in the field of law. Law is not static but dynamic as it evolves with the needs of society and adapts to the changing status quo. Pursuant to this, an advocate should update himself in compliance with the adage ‘There is no alternative to hard work.’

At the same time, no one can become a master in law, as Savigny opined “law is like a language which develops with the life of people” i.e. “law grows with the growth and strength with the strength of people and its standard of excellence will generally found at any given period to be complete harmony with the prevailing ideas of the best class of citizens.” Thus, if the law gets amended in compliance with societal needs, lawyers should also be acquainted with the latest law.

5. Eloquence

This lamp plays a pivotal role in assessing the abilities of an advocate, which determines his career success rate. Eloquence is the art of speaking; in fact, it is a panacea for all other incompetence. But, one must know that an eloquent speech is way more different than mere deliverable speech as it holds a long-lasting effect on the bench as well as the clients and the listeners.

In general, the word eloquence implies an error-free fluent communication that has a persuasive effect but never prescribes to deliver a grandiloquent speech that sounds better than the actuality. Fluency of speech can be developed, but it is a continual process that demands an acquired keen knowledge on the subject, followed by the practitioner.

Steps to bring off this skill,

  • Noticing other parties faults
  • Presence of mind 
  • Efficacy in argumentation with justification.

6. Judgement

It is the most important of all the Seven Lamps of Advocacy. Judgment in advocacy is a skill by which an advocate ascertains the collective case facts by discerning both merits and demerits of the case at hand. Anticipating the possible counterarguments and tackling the same by having an intellectual capacity to see the right turning point of the case. Basically, it is the deed of translating good sense into good action.

An advocate is obliged to inform the true legal status of the case to his clients. He should be adept at picking option which seems righter at the time of the decision, withal, figuring out all the possible contingencies that will arise.

7. Fellowship

While conducting the lawsuits advocates obviously opposes the other to uphold the interests of their clients. But, such a battle of words in the court hall shall not bother the friendly relation between them, because they are opponents but not enemies. To facilitate this interest, after having obtained a Certificate of Enrollment under section 22 of the Advocates Act, 1961, advocates are made required to obtain membership in bar associations.


The collective crux of the aforementioned seven lamps of advocacy elucidates the qualities of a successful advocate and provides that an advocate has to uphold justice by all fair and honourable means, fearlessly. In addition to that, in the book named Professional conduct and advocacy”, Mr. K. N. Krishnaswamy Aiyer pioneered one more lamp called Tact. This eighth lamp i.e. the Tact discusses the people skill, in toto, and explains why an advocate should develop his ability to deal with people.

FAQs on Seven Lamps of Advocacy

What are the Seven Lamps of advocacy?

The seven lamps of advocacy are honesty, courage, wit, industry, eloquence, judgement and fellowship.

What is the 8th lamp of advocacy?

Tact is the 8th lamp of advocacy. Tact is an intellectual ability and quality to deal with people.

Who gave the eighth lamp of advocacy?

V. Krishnaswamy Iyer, an Indian lawyer and former Judge of Madras High Court, in his book “Professional conduct and advocacy” gave the 8th lamp of advocacy which is the “Tact”



[1] AIR 1993 SC 1535.

Also Read – The Duties of An Advocate Towards His Client

Snegapriya V S

A third-year student of law at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT School of Law), budding first-generation lawyer cum legal researcher with multiple publications in various web journals and portals on different subject matters of law in issue. Being a zealous-natured person with thoughts enrooted in epistemophilia has boosted my passion for research writings by interpreting diversified legal facets. As a perceptive observer and reader, I pay greater attention to the overlooked legal fields where divergent challenges might arise, that include cyber law, environmental law, consumer law, and several constitutional provisions. Besides, I prioritize construing legal problems with social psychology. My dream and vision are to catch myself as a skilled legal adroit.