Legal Topics

Author: Priyanka Saxena on Jul 15,2017

Preparing for Your Day in Court

Whether you're making a case against someone or having to defend yourself, going to court can be a difficult experience for anyone. Your lawyer will be there to counsel and coach you through the process, but you can make the situation a lot smoother through effective preparation and the right attitude.

What to Bring to the Courtroom

The first thing to remember is to be punctual and formal. Arrive early at the courthouse so that you'll make your trial on time and not have to deal with a judgment being made without you. Don't forget to dress for the part, leaving at home any shorts, jeans, t-shirts, or revealing clothes. The more professional you look, the better you'll be received in court.

You should also make sure that all your forms are in place, including any financial declarations you've had to make (i.e., for a child custody or divorce hearing). It's good practice to make sure that the other party in a court case has copies of every form you've submitted to the court.

Finally, bring copies of every piece of evidence and documentation that you'll be using to support your side of the legal dispute. This includes any memos, pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns, and photographs relevant to the case. As with your court forms, there should enough copies of each item to share with the court and the opposing legal team. The same standard of notification applies for any witnesses you'll be bringing in to testify in support of your case.

What to Say and Do in the Courtroom

If you know nothing about how to handle yourself in court, just remember this: Always be polite and always be precise.

Except for when a lawyer needs to call out an objection, it's never a good idea to interrupt anyone while they're talking. Remain calm throughout the proceedings and try to keep your words and actions as orderly as possible.

Always remember to address the judge as "Your Honor" and to be precise with your language. You don't need to know every piece of legal jargon when addressing the judge or the jury, but you should be clear about your argument and stay close to the facts of the case when presenting it. It is also acceptable for you to say "I don't know" to a question or to admit when you don't remember an exact figure for a time, date, or amount of money when questioned about such details.

When faced with a legal dispute, it's not passion that determines the success of a case but how well an argument appeals to the judge and jury. Having the facts on your side and enough evidence to support it can make the difference, as well as presenting yourself in a calm and professional manner.

Image by Eric Chan on Flickr

Subscribe Your Email for Newsletter