Preparing for a legal proceeding should be a joint venture between the client and the legal team representing them. From preparing testimony to filling out all legal paperwork, collaboration is key to making the proceedings go smoothly and in the client’s favor.
Communication between the client and the legal team is critical in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the court date. Let’s take a closer look at some of the preparation that should take place during that time period before the legal proceeding.
In the Weeks Prior to Court Date
Read the Complaint & Understand the Options
In the weeks (and potentially months) before a court date, there is much to do to prepare for the case. Lawyers and their clients should review the legal complaint and all paperwork against him/her. This tends to be different depending on whether it is a criminal or civil complaint. However, regardless of the type, it is important that the client (defendant) understands the charges or the suit that they are up against.
In reviewing the paperwork, your attorney should go over what the legal options in your case are including what you plan to plead and what the consequences for each plea may be. There should also be a plan of what the strategy is as evidence and testimony are collected.
Review Evidence & Testimony in the Case
it is important to review all the evidence that will be presented against you in court and how you plan to counter that evidence with your lawyer,. It is also critical to review the testimony that you plan to give or others may give in your defense. This understanding is key to being able to help your legal team mount a solid defense in your name. There should be open and honest communication between the client and the legal team.
In the Days Prior to Court
As the day to your court case gets closer, it is important to learn a little about what the proceedings will look and feel like. First and foremost, confirm the date and time of the court proceedings with your lawyer.
Here are a few other things to consider in the days leading up to your day in court.
- Review all paperwork and organize it so that it will be easy to access on the day of the proceedings.
- Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and have something to eat on the day of the proceedings.
- Arrive at least fifteen minutes early to get through the security line and locate the room. Your lawyer may have you arrive even earlier to go over your case briefly before meeting with the judge.
- Dress appropriately. Dress professionally and give the court recognition that you understand the seriousness of the case.
- Have a calm demeanor as the case unfolds. That means no interrupting or outbursts.
- Review the etiquette of the courtroom which may include understanding what to call the judge (your honor), when to stand, and when to speak.
As you prepare for the legal proceedings, follow the advice and guidance of your lawyer as their experience and knowledge of the court system can help put you at ease and help you understand what steps happen next.