How Advocate Works

In the legal sense, an advocate is often used to represent businesses, employees, and individuals. Most often, they will be representing clients in matters related to employment, labor, and unions. Employers, employees, or unions will each be assigned an advocate to represent and argue for their client's best interests and legal rights. The two parties can negotiate to make this happen. If more intervention is needed, mediation and arbitration are the next steps.

Example of Advocate

An example of an advocate would be if Jerry was working for Sam's Company doing material handling. Jerry had worked for this company for many years, but it had recently changed owners. Because of the change in ownership, many policies have changed. Jerry now found himself working longer hours.

The Problem

As a result of expanding business, Jerry became overworked, often unable to take his lunch break. He soon realized that there was also a shortage in personal protection equipment (PPE). He no longer had access to goggles, gloves, and other things he used daily to not only make his job easier but safer as well.

Jerry went to his manager and asked if they could order more PPE. He also requested to shift his hours back to his original schedule. His manager responded by saying there was no room in the budget for additional PPE, and his new schedule was mandatory.

Jerry then wrote a letter to the company owner and explained the situation at hand, hoping that the owner was simply unaware of the working conditions. However, Jerry received a response that was dismissive at best.

The Solution

Jerry decided it was time to call his laborers union. The union assigned Jerry an advocate named Sarah. Sarah sat down with Jerry to hear his complaints. She then notified Sam's Company that she would be representing Jerry and the other union workers. Sarah then met with John, who was representing the company. They decided that mediation was the best way to discuss the issues. They soon came to an agreement about all the changes that would be made.

Through Sarah's advocacy, Jerry was able to get the required PPE. His hours would stay the same as they followed all labor laws, but he would now have his lunch break enforced every day.

Advocate vs Defense Attorney

A defense attorney represents a client to advocate on their behalf. However, their role does differ from an advocate. Advocates are involved with employment and labor concerns, while a defense attorney operates in the criminal law world.

A defense attorney presents evidence on a client's behalf to prove their innocence of a crime in a court of law. In many cases, an advocate's role only goes as far as arbitration. While the role of a defense lawyer exists solely for the purpose of representing during court proceedings. Defense attorneys are not limited in what their role may be, and the cases they represent may vary wildly from insurance fraud, robbery, or even murder.