For many litigants, their trial is the one and only time they will ever step foot inside a courtroom. They are anxious, nervous, and maybe upset about having to be there. These feelings are normal. Nevertheless, proper courtroom decorum can make a difference in the outcome. Remember these points:
1. Dress and groom yourself appropriately. Judges and their staff are entitled to respect and that starts with the first impression you make by stepping foot in the courtroom dressed nicely and making a good appearance.
2. Behave well. This means being courteous and attentive, following the courtroom rules established by the judge. This also means not overreacting to things said in the courtroom. Let your lawyer do the arguing. Try to refrain from shaking your head or showing displeasure with statements by opposing counsel, witnesses, or the judge.
3. Be yourself. Avoid devices like false indignation and crocodile tears. Judges and juries don’t like them and your attempt to manipulate their emotions may have the opposite effect.
4. The rules apply everywhere, not just in the courtroom. Bad behavior in the elevator, parking lot, restroom, or hallway is likely to be observed by someone involved in your trial, whether it be a juror, courtroom deputy, clerk or someone else. Assume you are being observed wherever you go and comport yourself with the utmost respect and poise.