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Proper Etiquette

Oct. 27, 2022

The purpose of this blog is intended to set forth instructions to a potential defendant in criminal and traffic Court cases.  I assume that, at my age, my opinion as to the proper attire and deportment are not as relevant or valid in today's world, but I can only instruct and pontificate upon what I believe to be common sense advice. 

An individual appearing before a tribunal that will render a decision impacting the individual must present an appearance that gives the tribunal an additional incentive to rule in favor of the applicant.  This applies in criminal court cases, traffic court cases, municipal variance applications, etc.  It is important to make the Judge or Board Committee deciding your matter to like you and to find you worthy of their application of discretion in your favor.  Attire, grooming and presentation are crucial to induce the parties determining your fate to look favorably and supportingly upon you.  It becomes one more factor for the decider to take into consideration when analyzing the details of the care presented before them. 

As an Attorney that handles many real estate transactions I find it interesting as to the appearances of the parties that participate in closings.  Many people just do not seem to care, or find it important, to dress professionally at their real estate closing and I guess that is fine.  It is not my place to judge an individual who is successfully completing an expensive transaction based upon their attire.  I find it equally interesting that many people do dress up professionally and even traditionally in celebratory garb when they come to my office to sign paperwork which involves one of the largest purchases and transactions of their lives. 

Equally important to ones appearance and personal presentation is the demeanor and attitude that a person shall present when appearing in a public tribunal and even when appearing for private transactional matters.  Especially in Court it is crucial to answer questions directed at you in a professional., direct and no argumentative and focused fashion.  Nothing will deter a Judge against you more than a bad, argumentative attitude or a failure to answer questions clearly and directly.  Equally as important to your lawyers presentation is the individual applicants personal presentation as well.  There are a lot of instances where the decision will be a close call and the ability to wine over a decider of your fate by presenting a likeable and supportable face and personality matters.