November 17, 2020
Court Day Prep
You’ve worked with your lawyer to prepare for months. The case is prepped, the motions are filed, and the day is almost here. So, how can you ensure you’re ready for the big day? Any appearance in court before a judge or a mediator can be intimidating, and preparation includes more than just knowing what to say, and what not to say. Here are our top do’s and don’ts of preparing for your day in court. These tips are the best way to put a good foot forward both in person and virtually.
Do’s for Your Day in Court
- Do be on time. In fact, be early. This will give you time to find the courtroom, meet with your lawyer in advance, and ensure you’re not late (which can result in fines or even a warrant for your arrest). If your court date is virtual, be sure to login early to ensure you don’t have any technical issues.
- Do dress professionally. As they say “dress to impress” because how we look makes an impression whether we like it or not. How we dress shows respect for the judge and other court officials and says “I take this seriously” to all present.
- Do bring everything you need including paperwork, your identification, a water bottle, a snack, a notebook, and a pen. Pack this the night before so you’re ready the day of and not scrambling when nerves may come into play.
- Do practice communicating and answering questions ahead of time. Failure to plan is often a plan to fail. Knowing what to expect and how to respond will put you more at ease on the day of your court appearance. It will also give you a chance to learn what will best help your case, and what to avoid saying that could incriminate you or be damaging to your case.
- Remain calm, take deep breaths, and pause before speaking. A collected demeanor says a lot about you and means you’ll be more likely to give clear, concise answers that support your case. While emotions run high in the courtroom, losing control is never a good idea.
Don’t Make These Mistakes
- Don’t try to manipulate the court or officials. Tears, overreacting, and large displays of emotion can do more harm than help. Emotions are normal, but you need to keep them in check.
- Don’t forget to make eye contact. Look at your lawyer, the judge, or whoever is speaking to you. If you’re nervous, choose a focal point, like their forehead, and take slow breaths.
- Don’t lie or omit information when talking to your lawyer. This is perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to court prep. As lawyers, we can’t prepare a solid case without all of the facts, and getting surprised in court is never a good thing. Answer your lawyer's questions with candor. If you don’t trust your lawyer, find one you do trust! Be honest, be thorough, and don’t leave anything out!
If you’re headed to court, keep these tips in mind to ensure you have the most favorable outcome possible. As always, finding the right counsel to represent you is the most important piece of a successful legal battle. We’d love to support you through all of your legal needs!