Courtroom Etiquette: How to Dress for Court


Lawyers are in court all the time. It is likely that you will not have spent nearly as much time in a courtroom. Learning appropriate courtroom behavior or etiquette will help you to fit in and feel more comfortable.
Everything from how you dress to how you talk can impact your case. This article will be the first in a series about proper courtroom etiquette. We’ll start with how to dress for court.

Formal dress is not required in the courtroom but it is polite to be neat and professional. 

If you had to come to court directly from work, it would be worth mentioning that. The judge will understand.

Always try to appear neat and clean. The courtroom is a serious place and your appearance should reflect the importance of the occasion and appropriately dress for court.

Here are some quick tips:

* Dress conservatively and, when appropriate, wear good quality clothing.
 If you own a suit, wear it, if not your Sunday best is always a safe bet.

* Try to wear slacks instead of shorts and if you do decide to wear shorts make sure they are a respectable length.

* Avoid wearing loud colors or all black.

* Avoid wearing flip flops or tall high heels.

* Do not wear tinted or dark colored glasses in the courtroom. Judges or bailiffs will ask you to remove them even if you have them on the top of your head.

* Wear only functional jewelry (e.g., wedding ring and wrist watch). No large bracelets, chains, rings, cufflinks, tie tacks and earrings.

* Avoid wearing items that may identify a personal association or belief. Political buttons, club pins, college rings, religious jewelry may trigger some prejudices.

* Never wear any shirts with vulgar or profane text on it. The courtroom is not the place to make those statements.

* Make an effort to conceal any visible tattoos.

* Take the loose change out of your pockets. The temptation to fiddle around with it while you are in front of the judge may difficult to overcome.

In the courtroom, as in life, you are often judged before you open your mouth—so dress accordingly. If you follow these tips you are sure to make a good impression on your court date.

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