To achieve a successful outcome in any legal matter, preparation is key. It can be intimidating to appear before a judge and jury, especially if it is your first time. However, putting your best foot forward from the beginning will give your case an excellent start towards the results you're seeking.
The following are several tips for preparing for your first court appearance:
- Get to the courtroom ahead of time. If your court proceedings are scheduled at 9 AM, then you should arrive at the latest by 8:30 AM. Plan for traffic or plan out your route if you are taking public transportation. If you are late, not only are you wasting you wasting everyone's time, but your tardiness can set back the entire court schedule.
- Dress for success. How you look affects how you are perceived, and how you are perceived could have a substantial impact on your case. The courtroom commands respect, and that respect starts with dressing appropriately for the occasion. Men should wear a full suit or a button-up shirt and slacks. Women should wear business attire, such as a conservative top and dress pants or a skirt at least knee-length.
- Be polite. Being nervous is perfectly acceptable, as long as you are polite. Make it a point to be nice to everyone, whether it is a bailiff or clerk. Judges are aware of how you treat their staff.
- Do not speak out of turn. When you are represented by a lawyer, you will most likely not have to say a great deal in court. Just listen quietly and pay attention.