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Thursday, January 15, 2015

What to Wear to Court

It seems like a simple or trivial thing to worry about. However, the simple and trivial are often the things that make great differences in the outcome of your case. Judges are people, just like everyone else. Their opinions of the litigants before them can be changed based on some of the simple and trivial steps you take. Some simple steps you can take that would increase the judge's opinion of you include how you dress, how you act, and how you talk.

The first major area that can determine how a judge looks at you is how you are dressed. Many local courts, such as Alexandria, have dress codes. They do not allow graphic t-shirt or baggy clothing. Whenever you are going to court, always make an effort to dress appropriately. You do not have to wear a suit and tie. Khakis and a nice dress shirt will do. Make sure to shower, shave, and groom as much as possible the day of your hearing date. If you look professional, the judge is more likely to listen to your case.

The second major area that can determine a judge's opinion of you is how you act while you are in the court room. Divorce, and other areas of the law, can be highly emotional. Many of the clients I have worked with can become irritable and angry with the court. They may speak out of turn or yell at the other party. Do not do these things while you are in the court room. If you have an attorney, let them do the talking for you. Remain calm and your case is more likely to resolve in your favor. The judge is not necessarily your enemy.

The final thing you can do to increase the judge's opinion of you is being careful with your words. Do not use profanity or slang. Always try to use professional language. Refer to the judge as "your honor" and only speak when you are asked a question. When you are addressing the court, make sure you stand up and look at the judge.

These simple steps can increase your likelihood of success at trial. Although trial can be an adversarial process, it is best to keep the anger outside of the courtroom.

Another attorney's opinion on what to wear to court.
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