Having to appear in court can be intimidating and may frazzle your nerves. You want to be prepared and have an even and balanced disposition. Here are some helpful tips on how to behave in court.

How to Behave in Court -- LEE LEGAL -- DC VA MD

The court room is the location for justice to be carried out with the judge representing the law. The way you conduct yourself is just as important as the matter before the judge. Good manners are usually parallel with common sense, but we can always improve! Here are some helpful hints.

Arrive early

Plan to arrive at the courthouse at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appearance. Take only your keys and court documents with you to expedite getting through the security check. If something unplanned occurs, be sure to give the court a courtesy call to inform them that you will be late. Call the chambers of the judge in your case to alert them that you will be late. This should be rare.

Dress professionally

Your first impression before the judge cannot be undone. We all know what business attire is. Don’t let your wardrobe give the judge any reason to question your judgment.

Be mindful

If you do bring your cell phone, ensure that it is turned off in the courtroom. Communicate clearly and be polite to everyone in the courtroom. That includes the judge, court staff and even opposing counsel. Be mindful of your behavior. Intentionally smooth out any rough edges you may have toward your adversary. Self-edit before you speak.

Be prepared

Brainstorm your case way in advance of your court date. Know the court rules and expectations. Saying “no one told me” will not make a difference or reflect well on your case as a whole. Have all your relevant exhibits and documentation. Don’t make excuses or blame your issue on someone else.

Maintain a calm disposition

Always remain cool, calm and collected. Never raise your voice. Only speak when asked a question by the judge. Speak in your own words. Memorizing what you are going to say is not recommended because it diminishes your credibility. Never use expletives; you could be found in contempt of court and jailed! Do not speak in anger, either. Attempt to always remain objective. Do not resort to exaggeration or sarcasm. Ever. Remain respectful of everyone in the courtroom at all times.

Behave in court

Although having to appear in court can be stressful, don’t sabotage yourself! Carry yourself in a manner that will be beneficial to your outcome. You don’t have to overthink it. Remain calm and confident in your communication. The court room is something most of us eventually experience. Learn from it.

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