BLF Tip of the Week
Expectations when going to Court: How you should dress.
Sometimes your case requires your attendance in court. Court can seem like a foreign place. Most clients have never been to court before. Here are things you should consider before attending.
Always ask your attorney what time your court appearance is set for and where you should appear. Sometimes, the lawyer will want to walk into court with you. Other times, the attorney will advise you to arrive at court and have a seat inside. Showing up on time always means showing up early. Showing up late to court is a sign of disrespect to the court, the judge, and the process. Arrive early. Early arrival also allows you wiggle room incase you get lost or there is an unforeseen traffic issue. When you arrive, listen. Listening means being attentive to whether your name is called. If your name is called before your attorney arrives, simply tell the judge who your attorney is. Sometimes the attorney has multiple appearances in different courts. If you don’t see them, do not immediately stress out. However, you should confirm your court appearance before the day of court and ask what to expect. A good attorney will walk you through what will happen, even if you are simply going to court to get another court date.
How should you dress for court? Your dress reflects your level of respect for the court, the judge, and the process. Always dress professionally. When in doubt, ask the attorney for advice. Never wear shorts to court. Never wear bluejeans to court. Always treat your court appearance as an opportunity to show everyone how seriously you take your matter through a professional appearance and demeanor. Never wear flashy apparel or jewelry. Ask yourself, what message does my attire convey?
When in court, always have your cell phone on silent and never play with your phone while waiting to appear before the judge. Some courts don’t allow cell phones. Ask the attorney about this in advance.
Always come to court well rested. Yawning or acting bored in court can be damaging to your case, even if it has nothing to do with the facts or law. It’s about showing meaningful respect to the process. When addressing anyone in court, you should exercise respect- “Yes sir and no sir.” Or “yes ma’am and no ma’am.” Respect goes a long way. Even if someone is seemingly rude to you, be respectful.
Should you go to court alone? We always encourage attending court with someone who supports you. Perhaps bring a close friend or family members. Do not bring children or infants to court-sometimes bringing children to court sends the wrong message and court is a difficult place for a child to remain silent and give the court its due respect. Support is fine, but be thoughtful about who you bring. If the person you bring will hurt your case, then leave them at home.
Going to court can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. For questions about going to court, contact our office. For more information about the firm, go to www.BLFNews.com.