Making A Good Impression On The Judge
Whether it’s a bail hearing, a discovery dispute, or an appellate court argument, the importance of making a good impression on the judge can’t be overstated. If it comes down to a close case, getting the judge on your side early can make all the difference in getting him or her to rule in your favor. Follow these tips to make sure you get off on the right foot:
- Be on time and dress to kill. It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it. Show up on time. I’ve been in situations where judges are notorious for being late. Don’t let this lull you into thinking you can stroll into the courtroom a few minutes late. The judge can be as late as he wants, you cannot. If the judge is late, he might be more forgiving if you are waiting on him, however it’s a bad look if it’s the other way around. Additionally, it would be great if the strength of your case and the persuasiveness of your arguments were all that matter, but that’s just not the world we live in. Appearance matters and you should always show up to court looking like a professional.
- Be prepared with documentation and or relevant case law. It sounds simple, but this is one that’s easy to mess up. If, for example, you are arguing based on testimony that was given previously at a deposition, it’s a good idea to have a copy of the transcript with you. Now the judge won’t have to decide between your summary versus your adversary’s summary. This will set the record straight, rather than force the judge to decide between your summary versus your adversary’s summary. It also makes you look prepared and credible.
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s obvious that we should be zealous advocates for our clients; however you should always behave in a professional manner. Let your adversary lose their cool. Resist the urge to raise your voice or get into shouting matches in front of the judge. Decisions are never made based on who screams the loudest.