Whether it’s your first trial or your tenth, going to court will always be a stressful experience. A court appearance is something you and your lawyer should carefully plan, because these few hours in front of a judge can have a large impact upon your mental health, your financial health, or even your freedom. In order to improve your chances of a good result from the court date, you should do a minimum amount of preparation.
Here are the 4 things we consider most important when preparing for a court date:
1. Logistics and preparation
Try to visit the courthouse prior to the actual court date. Make sure that you arrive early on that particular date. Dress according to the event and make sure to avoid bold colors – keep it simple and elegant. Your outfit is more important than you think, as are all the other “small” details. Making the best possible impression with the judge can help your case, while the smallest slip-up, like being late, can be fatal.
2. Seek mediation instead of revenge
Remember, you’re going to court to undo a wrongdoing, whether this is your wrongdoing or someone else’s. Your lawyer is paid to help your case and the judge (and jury) are also people. Try to remember that the final objective is justice and balance, not trampling the opposing party. Try to keep a positive, yet firm flow of mind and actions. Plus, if it’s clear that you’re only trying to hurt and humiliate the opposition, you won’t have the luxury of a sympathetic judge. Be careful how you define “winning”.
3. Prepare together with your lawyer
There really is no shortcoming here. Your lawyer can prepare you for everything from court procedures, do’s and don’ts, as well as how he plans to fight for your case. You need to understand how the trial will undergo, what your rights are, when are you allowed to speak and not, as well as other small details. Understanding all these steps are key not only in building a strong case and having answers for the opposition’s questions, but also in avoiding some costly mistakes that can turn the court against you.
4. Understand “winning” and follow-ups
Get your objective straight from the beginning. “Winning” might not mean a lot if you end up paying your lawyer more than you won in the court room. Understand the fine details of your case – how much you’re entitled to, how much or what you want to obtain, etc. Only then can you clearly see your objectives and decide how (or if) you want to proceed. More often than not, settling with the opposing party is a good deal, since most people want to avoid a costly and long legal procedure.