posted by Miranda Richard
As a litigation attorney, one of my tasks is preparing clients for court hearings. Many clients express trepidation at the thought of testifying but it need not be an anxious experience. There are a few things to always keep in mind when going to court.
The first and most important tip is to be yourself and tell the truth. Credibility is often a key aspect of any hearing where a client must testify. The easiest way to appear credible is to tell the truth – and, after all, you will be required to take an oath and agree to tell the truth. It is difficult to pick apart a story that is truthful. Do not worry about things which you think may make you look bad. Your job is simply to testify. It is your attorney’s job to address anything that may be negative for your case – and this skill can help distinguish more seasoned attorneys from those who are still learning the art of direct and cross-examination. If you feel there may be something that will come up that you have concerns about, let your attorney know ahead of time so that he or she is prepared to respond to that information.
The second thing to keep in mind is your demeanor in the courtroom – and even in the courthouse. You always want to be courteous to everyone as you are not likely to know who the key players are in your case with regards to court staff, judges, the other side’s attorneys, and the other side’s witnesses. Courtesy and friendliness goes a long way in most settings and you want to practice those skills in the courtroom just as you would in any other professional setting. Being nice to others also helps you to put your own best foot forward – which can calm you down as you enter the courtroom.
Look for Part 2 in my next blog.