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Courtroom Etiquette – Appropriate Behavior and Preparing For Your Court Appearance

Published on January 28th, 2020

The old saying “you never have a second chance to make a first impression” has a great deal of relevance when it comes to courtroom etiquette. How you conduct yourself during your court appearance or administrative hearing in Chicago may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. 

Plan for Your Day in Court

Allow plenty of time, planning to arrive to the courthouse or hearing facility early, and account for possible commuting delays or difficulty finding a parking spot. Allow extra time for security screenings that often entail long lines.

Make sure you know where your courtroom is in advance. Never miss a scheduled appearance in court. If an unavoidable, serious emergency arises, contact your attorney immediately.

Double-check with your attorney prior to your court date as to what documentation you are expected to bring.  Keep these papers organized and ready to go.


Dress appropriately – business casual at a minimum. Men should appear in a suit and tie, women should choose a business suit or dress, if the case is set for trial. 


Once inside the courtroom, be polite to everyone, even the opposing counsel, control your emotions, and never make offensive gestures or facial expressions. Don’t interrupt when others are speaking and direct any questions to your attorney, not the judge or courtroom staff. 

Never bring any food or drink into the courtroom and turn off electronic devices, especially cell phones, before you enter. If you are a parent, arrange for someone to watch your children and confirm this before your court date. 

Stand when the judge or jury enters and leaves the courtroom. If you are asked to address the judge, stand when doing so, and always refer to the judge as “Your Honor.” These rules apply to court appearances as well as administrative hearings. Chicago judges and juries appreciate respectful behavior. 

For more information on an administrative hearing in Chicago, contact Johnson & Goldrich at

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