When people speak of courtroom etiquette, they’re often referring to the behavior of plaintiffs and defendants. However, attorneys must also adhere to a strict code of conduct, no matter how high tensions rise during a trial. South Source offers the following tips on how attorneys can make a good impression in court, on their clients, the judge, and even the jurors.
While courtrooms often have a specific set of rules attendees must adhere to, there are a number of general rules all attorneys should be aware of. Respect for the judge is of the utmost importance. It’s polite to stand when the judge, as well as the jury, enters the courtroom. The same can be said when an attorney is addressing the judge during the trial. Additionally, the judge should always be referred to as “your honor”. In a sense, the judge is the personification of the law in court, and attorneys must show respect for the law in all its forms.
While court battles can get contentious, attorneys must remain polite and civil. It’s a good idea to refer to others as sir and ma’am when speaking in a court setting. It’s also crucial that an attorney remains respectful when in disagreement with a judge or the opposing counsel. In terms of dress, all attendees should wear clothing that would be appropriate in a business setting. This means no jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers.
Finally, electronic devices can be extremely disruptive during a hearing. Along with following any directives posted by the court, attorneys should take the time to set their devices to silent. A ringing phone not only looks unprofessional, it can also garner the ire of the presiding judge. This is especially true if it’s been explicitly stated that no electronic devices are allowed.