With the advent of COVID-19, the practice of family law has changed dramatically in almost every respect. And one question I am often asked is how we have a trial without going into the courtroom. Almost everyone is now familiar with the concept of video-conferencing, whether through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or similar programs.
How to prepare your virtual hearing? do’s and don’ts
Robert B. Fried, Esq.
But now, your attorney is not sitting beside you in court. You are in one location; your attorney in another location and the Judge in yet another.
How do you prepare for this hearing? How do you act during a hearing? Essentially, what are the do’s and don’ts?
1. Take a look around the room you will be using for the trial. The Judge and the attorneys will see you and what is behind you. Make sure there is nothing offensive or inappropriate – the simpler, the better.
TIPS: STAGE YOUR BACKGROUND. GREEN PLANTS OFTEN ADD A SIMPLE AND NICE TOUCH.
2. What are you wearing?
Always dress respectfully before the Court. You may not be in the courtroom but you do not want to give the judge a negative impression – pretend you are going for a job interview and dress accordingly.
Tips: Choose your outfit few days ahead your court hearing.
3. Keep your poker face
Unlike a courtroom, everyone else involved, including the Judge and the other attorney, are looking at you directly and can see your facial expressions, much more so than when you are actually in the courtroom. It is important to keep your emotions in check --- extremely important!
Tips: Print a good listener chart and HAVE it visible at all times.
4. Accident happens but NOT today
It is a good idea to mute your microphone when you are not talking. A “hot” microphone has embarrassed many a politician over the years. Saying something by accident in your divorce case can be more than embarrassing. Don’t let that happen to you!
Tips: Just Mute yourself.
You do not want distractions
Make sure you will be alone in the room. Not only do you not want to make a mistake when talking; you want to make sure there are no “side conversations” or a third party says something which is overheard by everyone on the remote hearing.
Learn More Contact Robert Fried, Esq. 860-728-6644 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This may be a “virtual” hearing, but the Judge’s decisions are not virtual. They are very real and may impact your life for years to come.