Five Tips For Making A Good Impression In Court
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When dealing with a family matter issue, you do not have to go at it alone. Give us a call and we can discuss the entire case during a comprehensive attorney consultation.
Let's Discuss Your Case - We're Here For You.
When dealing with a family matter issue, you do not have to go at it alone. Schedule your comprehensive attorney consultation now and we can discuss the entire case.
When you walk into a courtroom for your divorce or custody trial, you are literally placing your future and everything that is important to you, in the hands of a stranger. The judge doesn’t know you, but over the next few hours, she/he is going to listen to your testimony and consider the evidence you present – and weigh it against the testimony and evidence presented by your opponent. Then the judge will make a ruling that could alter the course of your life in a good way – or maybe a not-so-good way.
Obviously, having an experienced, skillful attorney is critically important. But is there anything that you, personally, can do to increase the odds of winning your case? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Here are five tips for making a good impression in court:
- DRESS NICELY: All your life, you’ve heard about “the importance of making a good impression.” It has been repeated so often that it has pretty much become a trite phrase. But ignore it at your peril – because that old, worn-out saying happens to be true. Judges are human. Your judge will form an impression of you, and the initial impression might be based on your appearance. Whether that is fair or unfair – right or wrong – doesn’t matter. It’s a fact. So, why take a chance? Dress nicely. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) look like you’re ready for a walk down the “Red-Carpet” – that would be overdoing it. Just a clean, attractive attire is sufficient. Something a judge would see as appropriate and respectful. Why should you care? Because it is the judge who will decide your fate.
- BE PREPARED: There is no substitute for being prepared when you take the witness stand. In Arizona, Family Law cases are tried by the judge. In other words, your judge will be acting as both judge and jury. The Family Court judge’s role is not only to apply the law but also to determine the facts. You can increase your odds of prevailing by being well-organized and well-prepared. If you are represented by counsel, your attorney will assist you in preparing for your case. He or she should spend a great deal of time, before the trial, discussing your objectives, and preparing you for your testimony, so that you can effectively tell your story. The attorney should also prepare you to withstand the opposing attorney’s cross-examination. If you are well-prepared, you will be more confident, and you will be much more likely to create a good impression.
- BE ATTENTIVE: Paying attention to the proceedings, and listening to what the attorneys and the judge are saying, can give you an important edge in your court case. Trying to follow what is happening in the courtroom can give you important clues into what the judge is thinking, and the type of evidence that he or she is looking for. When you know how the judge is learning, or what she/he wants to hear, then you can make adjustments “on the fly” and tailor your presentation to achieve the best results. Not uncommonly, it is the client who picks up on something important that her (or his) ex- says on the witness stand – and by pointing it out to the attorney, the client might be able to change the outcome of the case. An attentive and engaged client can help the attorney immensely. So be attentive.
- CONDUCT YOURSELF APPROPRIATELY: How you conduct yourself in the courtroom can determine whether you win or lose. Keep in mind that throughout the proceedings, the judge is sitting up there on the bench looking down at the participants — and watching you. Your attorney may be making a strong legal argument, but if you are slouching in your chair, signaling to a spectator in the gallery, sending a text message on your cell phone, not paying attention, or acting in a manner that the judge feels is inappropriate, you are undermining your lawyer’s efforts to represent you. There is one particular type of behavior that judges roundly hate: and that is when a client sits at the table and makes faces as the opposing party testifies from the witness stand. If you think that vigorously shaking your head or laughing derisively will help the judge understand that the other party is lying, you are dead wrong. This type of behavior is much more likely to turn the judge against you. So when in the courtroom, conduct yourself appropriately at all times.
- CREDIBILITY IS THE KEY. The most important asset you have in a court case is your integrity and your credibility. Where two parties to a litigation are telling stories that are contradictory, a judge will tend to rule in favor of the litigant that is the most believable. Have you ever watched Judge Judy or another of the TV judge shows? While those shows are not at all similar to a real court case, there is still something that can be learned from watching them. The lure of these shows is that when you are watching the people present their cases, it is as though you are seeing the matter from the same perspective as the judge. Two people come before the Court. Each has a completely different story and we, the viewers, are the “trier of fact.” We know that one of the parties is twisting the facts, but we don’t know which one. We listen intently and try to determine the truth. If one of the parties is caught in a lie, or if a party is unprepared and doesn’t seem to be consistent in reciting the facts, then we start thinking that this person cannot be believed. On the other hand, if a party is well-organized and appears sincere, we tend to lean in her favor. In the end, we will rule in favor of the person who seems to be telling the truth. And that is what the judge will tend to do in your Family Law case. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of telling the truth; of being well-prepared; and of dressing and act appropriately and respectfully. It all comes down to credibility. When you step into that courtroom, make sure that you are the one the judge sees as being the most credible and believable litigant.
Hiring a strong, experienced attorney to represent you is important — but always keep in mind that you and your lawyer are a team. You can help yourself, and increase the odds of winning your case, by simply making a good impression.
Family Law Client
I had a very legally and emotionally difficult case and was fortunate enough to have Mr. Frank’s legal assistance. Mr. Frank was extremely professional, reliable, and competent. He always kept me informed of my case, and he gave me great legal insights. His litigation expertise and easy disposition allowed me to be comfortable and less stressed considering the situation. Mr. Frank always treated me with respect and valued my input. I felt part of a collaborative effort rather than the usual attorney-client relationship. It was a pleasure working with Mr. Frank, and I would most definitely recommend him to my friends and family.
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I am very satisfied for all you have done for me throughout my divorce and custody cases. You listened to what was important to me and you made it your number-one priority. The safety of my children meant the world to me and you helped me keep them safe. You are excellent in the courtroom. Throughout all of my court cases and different issues with my ex-husband, you helped me stay calm and grounded. I believe in our justice system since I was lucky enough to have an amazing attorney. Mr Gary Frank, you were a godsend in many ways, and every time I look at my children and know they’re safe I thank God for finding such a great attorney. I would recommend your services to anyone! Thank you once again for all your hard work.
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I was going through a family court case & did not have a lawyer. I needed help filling out paperwork & knowing what to do in court. Mr. Frank met with me on several occasions & helped with properly filling out all of my paperwork & informing me of the correct way to file it. He gave me his cell phone # & always returned my calls promptly.
Gary was recommended to me by a relative. I was in a long-term abusive marriage and had had enough and was ready to put an end to it. while being “ready” I was scared to death as I was someone with low self-esteem and so afraid of how my Ex would respond. Gary gave me the courage to stand up for myself and helped me work thru my insecurities so that I was able to testify in court and breath. He walked me through all the steps of what we were going to do so that I understood. he was always ready to answer any questions/concerns I had in a timely manner (and I had a lot). I have recommended Gary to several friends going thru a divorce and I will continue to do so. I can’t thank him enough for his help and what he has done for me.
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Gary and Hanna are the most amazing and compassionate attorneys in AZ. They go above and beyond and would highly recommend them to anyone! They work with you and actually care about the well being of your children vs. Money (unlike most others). I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for my own family. Angels.
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Gary, I see your LinkedIn posts every now and then and just wanted to send you a quick note. Wow, the last 6 years have been a whirlwind. I just want to thank you again for the support and guidance you provided to me 6 years ago. It has made a monumental difference in my life. My son’s mother and I made the mutual decision to move (out of state) about a year and a half ago. Ironically, we live in the same neighborhood now, we’ve got our parenting plan at about 50% time each, and we walk him to school. We get along, and it honestly can’t be any better. My son is now in 1st grade, and he has a brother who is a year and a half. In the past 6 years, I’ve evolved from the scared, immature, insecure person who sat in your office to a confident father of two boys. Your input and guidance had a lot to do with that, so, thank you. I do miss Arizona – in due time, hopefully, I’ll be back.
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Successful Relocation Case
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November 2009 I retained Mr. Frank for almost two years to represent me in a visitation modification filed by my ex-husband. Mr. Frank quickly and efficiently became familiar with my case and was very honest about all the potential results that could occur. I truly feel that Mr. Frank had my children’s best interests in mind…