Whether you are in court for a civil or criminal matter, or you are the plaintiff or defendant, you are expected to act a certain way and adhere to certain rules when you are in the courthouse. Every time you appear in court, you are being watched and analyzed. The judge, opposing counsel and the jury are examining you and determining what kind of person you are and if you have any credibility. Your actions and behavior in court could either favorably or unfavorably affect your case outcome. Here are a few tips to help you succeed and act appropriately when you go to court:
1. Make Sure You Arrive Early
You should make sure you factor in enough time for you to get to the courthouse on time. Account for possible traffic, in addition to the time it will take you to go through the security screening at the courthouse. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled hearing.
2. Dress For Success
When you go to court, all eyes will be on you. The general rule of thumb is that you should dress professionally and conservatively. Men should wear slacks or dress pants, a button-down shirt, a tie and a jacket or sweater. Women should wear a dress or slacks and a blouse. Women should be especially careful not to wear anything too revealing. Both men and women should be sure to groom themselves appropriately.
3. Be Respectful
Respect can take you a long way. When the judge is talking to you or asking you a question, make sure you are looking at the judge and making eye contact. Never interrupt the judge while he or she is speaking and always wait for the judge to finish their question before you answer. If you need to address the judge, always refer to them as “your honor.”...