Businesses and people can and do go to court every day. Whether you’ve been summoned or you’re trying to collect damages for injuries, patent violations or copyright infringement, you need to know how to survive your day in court.
A lawyer can help prepare you for the day’s events, but a little proactive preparation on your part is also a good idea.
1. Seek Mediation First
Litigation is a battle with different rules that are very formal and costly. Litigation reduces settlements and awards while making lawyers and others richer in the process. Mediation is a faster resolution that is:
- Less formal than litigation
- A middle ground where all parties are satisfied
- A cost-effective way to end a court claim
Mediation may not require a lawyer, or it can be a low cost option that does require the help of a lawyer.
When seeking mediation, there’s often less stress than with litigation, and the battle of “winning and losing” becomes less of a focus.
2. Forget About Revenge
Court cases are about defending your rights and using the law to ensure your rights, or your business’s rights, are not infringed upon. But a lot of people go into the courtroom with one thing on their mind: revenge.
The problem with revenge and spite is that it:
- Costs more money in the long-term, leaving you with less of a settlement.
- Causes people to bet more than they can lose.
- Clouds a person’s judgement, allowing them to overlook potential settlements.
If you go into the courtroom with revenge on your mind, you’re putting yourself at a financial and legal risk. Revenge isn’t the key most important thing in a court case. Focus on the law and the legal aspects of the case – justice will come later.
Discuss your case with your lawyer and find the legal aspects of the case you should be focusing on. Even in a civil matter, your focus should always remain on the law and never on the revenge aspect.
3. Wear the Right Attire
Walking into the courtroom with a hat, sweatpants and a hoodie isn’t your best option. You must represent yourself properly, and clothing does matter. First do matter, and it’s up to you to represent yourself in a professional, respectable manner.
If you want to create a professional self-image, you can choose to wear:
- Sports coats
- Long dress pants
- Button-down shirts with long sleeves
- Knee-length dresses, skirts or pants for women
Represent yourself in a professional manner and it will have an immediate impact on your first impression and court case.
4. Communicate With Your Lawyer
Your court case is ultimately in your control. It’s common for people to give all of the control to their lawyer, but your lawyer works for you. The right lawyer should communicate with you at every chance you get.
- Be fully engaged with your case
- Remain in control of major decisions
Lawyers who take control of a case, seeking unrealistic settlements along the way, often lead to rejected offers and cases that may not go in their client’s favor. You should be in charge of all major decisions in a case.
If a settlement is offered, you should be made aware of the offer and have the final say in whether or not to accept the offer.
You also need to communicate costs with your lawyer. There should be a performed when major costs arise. For example, if an expert can sway a case in your favor, they may be worth the extra $5,000 you might receive in a settlement.
But if booking an expert comes with just a 10% chance of a small increase in the settlement, you’ll need to determine if the cost is worth the potential benefit. Your lawyer will discuss your options with you, but you should have the final say.
Your day in court is a big concern, but it doesn’t have to be stressful and filled with anxiety. If you follow the four tips above and hire the right attorney, you can enjoy a less stressful day in court.