If You Go to Court . . .

These are some of my favorite tips for people who find themselves on their way downtown to the courthouse for the first time.
  1. Get dressed for court, not for your regular job.
    The idea is to be respectful of the court, which symbolically shows that you respect the law itself. Also, best not to wear expensive Italian shoes or a Rolex unless you want the relatively underpaid judge want to teach you who really has the power.
  2. Be on time.
    Take the am traffic into account and get there early. As above, it's all about respecting the court.
  3. Turn off your cellphone!!!
    You really don't want that to happen to you.
  4. Don't talk to anyone when court is in session.
  5. Don't chew on anything when court is in session.
    Gum, candy, whatever. Respect.
  6. Don't roll your eyes or otherwise make faces during another person's testimony.
    The judge can see you but it's not your turn yet. You will be chastised and it will affect the impact of your own testimony adversely.
  7. Don't nod or shake your head during someone else's testimony, either.
  8. If you are at counsel table with your attorney, don't tug on her sleeve to get her attention.
    Also, avoid loud scribbling of notes, passing notes to lawyer. Calm and composed wins the day.
  9. As a witness, answer the question and then shut up.
    Don't try to tell the court what you want to say. Just listen to the call of the question and respond directly to it in as few words as possible. Another question will be along in a moment.
  10. Otherwise, be your own, charming self.