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6 Dos and Don'ts Inside the Courtroom

Attorneys Appearing in Court

Based on the appearance attorney specialists of Attorney on Demand’s experience, here are the top 6 dos and don’ts in a courtroom:

Always be on time

For some this tip might go without saying, ye it’s unfortunate how many usually take the little things like being timely for a trial or hearing for granted. Judicial economy is intricately connected with a lawyer’s preparation in court. Do not be the link in the chain which makes an engine choke. Make plans to get to the courthouse a minimum of 30 minutes before the appearance is necessary. Do not underestimate the weight of a courtesy call that advises the court that you’re running late.

Dress in a professional manner

Most offices have unofficially adopted business attire that is casual. But, be mindful that a courtroom isn’t bound by your workplace protocol. Keep a jacket, dress, suit, or tie available in office for those emergency appearances. Think of every court appearance as a first impression before a judge.

Always be prepared

Recently, a local attorney appeared on the 2nd day of a rape trial and was advised that he did an inadequate job at representing his client and then refused to proceed as counsel. Despite this honesty, that judge put him in contempt of court then sent him straight to jail. There isn’t any excuse for a lack of preparation. A client deserves more than a mere “shoot first, aim later” approach. Conduct your research. Address critical issues that are pursuant to the court’s scheduling order so you can avoid any last-minute delays.

Know relevancy of the cases you rely upon

It is convenient when it’s possible to use prior case arguments or law in new litigation. But it is embarrassing when you don’t know that your key case was overturned, or another case that has an identical fact pattern is out there which better supports your position, and you missed your chance to use it. Confirm whether jurisprudence still is good law before you cite it in your pleadings. Address any jurisprudence which weakens an argument by emphasizing relevancy and factual differences.

Show respect to your opposing counsel

Sure, it might appear to you that the opposing counsel never has heard of the “high road” and doesn’t know what “best behavior” actually means. But it never means you ought to stoop to their level, particularly in front of a judge. Return calls and document all responses to counsel. At all times, be professional because it might affect your credibility in front of a jury or judge. You would be surprised at how rapidly a jury or judge is able to sense who the culprit is. Be certain it isn’t you.

Know court rules and be courteous to judge’s staff

Even though it is a fact that social media is changing the way the majority of folks communicate, nothing is able to replace the significance of making a phone call or stopping in to speak to the judge’s staff concerning courtroom rules before a court appearance.