If you follow our blog, you will quickly realize that, as lawyers, we care a great deal how our clients appear in the courtroom. Too often, I see defendants waiting in Court wearing wholly inappropriate outfits, that show an unnecessary amount of skin, and occasionally highlight some unsightly tattoos. We wanted to take the opportunity to tell our friends and ENLawyers family what you should do before going to Court. Whether you are appearing for a speeding ticket or murder case, the same rules apply. All Courts have “local rules,” meaning that the Judges expect a certain type of behavior in court both from lawyers and their clients. Local lawyers will be knowledgeable about these rules, but many of the rules are simply common sense.
Top 10 Client Tips from your Maryland Lawyers
- Be on time to meet up with lawyers beforehand.
- Bring your paperwork to Court and keep it in a folder. This way, you look prepared and have access to anything your lawyers need or Judge requests.
- Bathe, Shower, Shave, and if you are going to wear a fragrance… sometimes less is more.
- Dress like you are going to Church, Synagogue, Mosque or any other holy venue that demands your body be covered. Lawyers don’t wear expensive suits because of their comfort. Lawyers dress up out of respect for the Court. That means, hide errant tattoos, and wear pants that hide the protruding thong, leave the 8-inch heels at home. And if you are going to ask the Court to limit any fines, don’t show up to court with a Fendi bag, Manolos, and stop wearing $300 sneakers to the court that are nicknamed “dope dealers.” Just remember, the Judge is sizing you up!
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do… or when in Court, do as the lawyers do. When addressing the Judge, speak clearly, loudly and respectfully. Keep your answers short, and refer to the Judge as “Your Honor.” Refrain from using colloquial words, such as “yeah” or “naw.” This shows a lack of respect for the Court.
- Absolutely no chewing gum in court. Please spit it out, there is nothing worse for lawyers than listening to a defendant snapping gum while talking to the Judge. Trust me, it never ends well.
- Leave your cell phone at home or in the car when you park. Sheriffs and Judges have a pet peeve for cell phones that ring while the court is in session. Plus, if the Sheriff seizes your ringing phone, you have to wait until the end of the day to retrieve it.
- Please do not react! Let the lawyers react. That is what you pay the lawyers for. If you’re upset with something the Judge says, don’t roll your eyes, make noises, or interrupt. You paid your lawyer to stand up for you, so let the lawyers do their jobs.
- If you need to talk to your lawyers or a friend or family member who accompanied you to court, step outside into the hallway. Judges do not appreciate whispering and passing notes any more than your 7th-grade math teacher did.
- Call your favorite ENLawyer to be sure you get the best possible result!