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How Do I Conduct Myself in Court?

Everyone has seen the court TV shows and movies depicting court rooms and procedures, but being there in person is a different beast, especially if it's your first time. Here are key things to remember:

1. Stand when the judge enters the room and sit when they say "please be seated."

2. When addressing the court, refer to the judge as "Your Honor." Speak up for the court record.

3. Do not speak over other parties, the judge, or court room staff. Treat the judge and the court room staff with respect. The only interruption that is acceptable is to object when the opposing party is presenting objectionable evidence.

4. Avoid making gestures or faces. The judge sees everything and will not view eye rolling, mocking, or other such gestures favorably.

5. Pay attention to everything being said.

6. Ask to be excused when the proceeding ends.

It's important to dress the part as well as act the part. Dress as though you are attending a formal business event. First impressions can be memorable, and you don't want to be remembered because of a tank top or shirt with an offensive phrase. Be on time. Do not bring children to court. Do not chew gum, do not text, and please, please turn off your phone!

Most importantly, be prepared.

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