The short answer is - absolutely!
Over the past couple of months and into the foreseeable future, many of us litigators and our clients will be appearing before Courts via videoconferencing technology for a meaningful and substantive hearing. As the old adage goes, one party has to wear the black hat and be the bad guy and one party has to wear the white hat and be the good guy. And as litigators, we always want the advantage that, in the Court’s eyes, our client is being the good guy, which has been much easier to accomplish in-person.
But now we are faced with the challenge of still presenting well in front of the Court, while we sit in our office or home. So what can we do to make sure we still retain that edge? Most of this should be common sense, but there are plenty of viral videos demonstrating that is not the case. Here is a list of things I use and recommend to my clients to use to help to make sure we make a good impression on the Court:
- Make sure your technology works – do a test run and learn how to use mute.
- Invest in quality cameras and microphones – we may need to do this for awhile.
- Wear a full suit or appropriate formal attire – no shorts.
- Make sure you and your client are appropriately groomed – nice cameras pick up a lot.
- Have all of your paperwork in order – in other words, make sure exhibits are marked and agreed upon with opposing counsel prior to the hearing.
- Finally, look at your camera. All the time. If you aren’t taking notes, it looks like you are texting your buddy; that won’t gain you any points with your client or the Court.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it’s a framework for you to build off of to make sure you maintain the advantage you had when you were litigating cases in person, which is something we all hope we can do again soon.