When it comes to courtroom conduct for legal teams, you might think we can all behave ourselves at all times but that’s not always what happens. Legal proceedings, including depositions, are filled with emotion. If the parties are going to court, it’s likely they’ve been trying to settle their dispute and have been unsuccessful. For the more serious cases, witnesses likely don’t want to be associated with the events and are not exactly pleased to be pulled into a deposition. Take heart. We’ve all been involved in highly emotional cases; it’s how we act, and react, that can make the difference in the case.
Emotions tend to run high when we are running around at the last minute. That translates to speeding to appointments whether it’s a golf outing, dinner reservations, or court appearance. For you professionally, it means leaving members of your legal team and your clients waiting for you to arrive. You may even leave a judge waiting and some aren’t as understanding as others which can get you in a bit of trouble. To be punctual, try these hacks:
- Choose your clothes and accessories for the next day out before you go to bed. This saves you the time and stress of choosing what to wear when you’re already late.
- Set multiple alarms for multiple times in multiple rooms. If you have to hop out of bed to turn off an alarm, you’re more likely to stay up and get ready to leave.
- Keep an updated shared calendar like iCal or Google Calendar on your laptop and phone. In addition to a shared calendar with your legal team, you may want to have a shared calendar with your spouse and kids in so you know where you have to be at all times.
Remember your manners.
No matter how late you are or how stupid the other drivers on the road were to make you late, keep your cool and remember your manners. Apologize and don’t make a habit of it. If you’re presenting in court, it is especially important to keep your cool even when opposing counsel may be trying to get a reaction from you and/or your client and witnesses.
- Don’t talk over others. Not only is it rude, it’s challenging for your Oklahoma court reporter to follow the conversation.
- Avoid whispering and note passing. It is distracting and takes away from the proceeding. Instead…
- Get organized. Assign each member of your legal team their own tasks so you can work together flawlessly when it matters for your clients.
When it comes to courtroom conduct for legal teams, it’s all about professionalism.
Juries take notice when the legal team appears fractured or disorganized and it can influence how they decide a case.
Not only should the team act professionally, they, and your client and witnesses, should dress in business or business casual attire. Leave the jeans and sneakers at home in favor of polished closed toe shoes, dress pants or skirt, and dress shirt or blouse. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression so dress and act like you know what you’re doing! While in some areas of the country it may be okay to be less formal, we recommend the highest professionalism and courtroom conduct for legal teams and the people they represent.
At Steno Services, we take pride in our team and yours. Contact us for your next deposition!