No one wants to make a bad impression at court, so here are three courtroom etiquette tips that will help put you in the judge’s good graces:
Be on Time
Court is not like a college lecture: You can’t sneak in five minutes late and hope that the professor doesn’t notice as you take your place at the back of the classroom. Judges expect everyone who has business in the court to be on time. If you’re told to show up at a certain time, then be sure that you are there a little bit early. The last thing you want to do is get off on the wrong foot by holding up the court proceedings with your tardiness.
TV and movie depictions often include scenes of people mumbling or chatting during a trial, but this is not acceptable behavior in real life. Be as silent as possible, and if you have to confer with counsel, make sure to do it in an undertone. Sit down, don’t talk, and turn off your cell phone. Judges do not take kindly to interruptions.
Be Suitably Dressed
You want to make a good impression on the judge, so it’s not a good idea to show up looking sloppy or dressed too casually. Wear something you would be comfortable wearing at a job interview. Women should wear a button-down shirt, a skirt that falls past the knee, or a pair of slacks. Men can wear pressed khakis and a button-down or a suit. If you wear a hat, then be sure to take it off once you’re inside the building.
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