1. Arrive on time. Many times, people do not give enough time to find parking, to go through medal detectors, it might not take a cell phone; which in most courts they do not allow, and you may have to go back to the car. So, giving yourself plenty of time this is very important you don’t want to miss a hearing or have your case prejudice by showing up late for a hearing.


  1. Dress in a way that shows respect for the Court. You do not necessarily have to go out and buy an expensive suit before Court, but at least dress with as much respect as you can.  When I worked as a prosecutor in the Lynn Juvenile Court and District Court, I would see people back in the day with marijuana shirts that were being charged with marijuana possession.  Appearance should not matter, but the reality of is it is consciously or subconsciously it can make a big impression for both the Judge and the other side.


  1. If it all avoidable, do not bring your children into court. If you could make arrangements with someone else to have your children, (a) it is not good for kids and (b) it does not make a good impression for you in court. So, if you have a relative, daycare or babysitter that would be important.  In addition, you want to make arrangements when the child gets out of school, for someone who can pick the child up because it is unpredictable on how long you will be at Court.


  1. When a Judge enters or leaves the room, the Court Officer will tell you when to sit or stand. If you are unsure, the idea is if the Judge is standing then you should stand and usually you can sit once the Judge is sitting, but you can listen to what the Court Officer has to say. If the Judge addresses you or you address the Judge, it is important that you remain standing, do not have gum in your mouth and make eye contact with the Judge.


  1. The Judge will let you know when to speak. Do not get into an argument or discussion with the otherside or the other lawyer. Speak directly to the Judge not to the otherside.


  1. Speak clearly and organized. Many times, people are nervous, but it is important to think ahead of time about what you want to express to the Judge. Sometimes having notes are helpful. If you can avoid rambling or making your arguments hard to understand it is important.


  1. Always address the Judge as your Honor. If not your Honor, then Judge or at least sir or madam, but be as respectful as you can. The Judge is the one that will be making some of these decisions.


  1. Be careful of where you talk. Many times, you can talk right outside of the courtroom and the Judge and the court officers can hear you or the otherside can hear you. You also want to be careful, there has been circumstances where even other attorneys have talked about the negotiations with their clients just outside where people that are litigants can hear and can very much limit some of the effectiveness if otherside knows your arguments or knows confidential information.


  1. Make sure that the Court has your up-to-date information. Sometimes you move. It is on you to make sure the Court has your current mailing address and physical address so that if someone needs to go to your home or often sends paperwork or notice that they have your current information.  As a bonus, I am reporting the concept that going to court and if you have the free time to use the restroom, use it while you can because you do not know how long you are going to be in Court. So, if there is a Court recess, you might want to use the restroom.  As a double bonus, you might want to bring a book or a magazine because it is likely that you will have a lot of waiting time in Court, but if you bring a book or magazine, make sure it is an appropriate one.