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Poll on personal/physical appearance in courtroom


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Just curious what the general consensus is on this:

Should you:

A) Look like a million bucks. Perfectly coiffed hair, flawless makeup, nicer outfit than JDB attorneys.

B) Look nice, but understated. Don't want to stand out.

C) Look clean, but not attractive. Wear nothing of value. Appear destitute.

Must be prepared in every way! Thanks!

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Look on youtube if you need to, you can get lots of actual courtroom arguments. This is a no brainer. Look professional. Men wear a suit and tie, women wear a business suit. Your appearance should not detract from your argument. You are not there to impress the judge with your physical attributes, you are there to impress him with your legal position. Nobody can tell how much money you have by the way you dress. That's not the purpose of a court appearance. Failure to follow simple rules of decorum just makes you look unprofessional.

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I live in the capital of casual, so what would pass as acceptable here would probably draw some unwanted attention elsewhere. Unless you are an attorney, a sports coat, nice shirt with a bolo tie, blue jeans and some polished cowboy boots would not be out of place.

IMO, if you're dealing with a JDB, go in there with a power suit on.

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I dressed every time, even for a three minute hearing or just to deliver something to the court clerk, in a suit, polished shoes, clean shave, and power tie. I don't care what anybody says or how it is supposed to be, looks matter and you size up the other side by the way they look.

That gets you in trouble if your selling cars and you assume the old guy in overalls has no money and their loaded. In court, I'm going dressed to kill each and every time, no questions asked. It's also Your Honor before every statement or question and yes mama and no sir from the bailiff at the door to the law student doing the research grunt work.

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I agree with the people who said to dress. I used to dress up just to take tests in college. If I knew I looked polished, that did a lot for my self confidence, and I performed better on tests.

I say that you have a lot to worry about in court - let the way you look not be one of them!

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I don't shine up nicely. Literally, it's like polishing a turd. I have long wavy hair and a neatly trimmed beard. Nothing unkempt or messy, but I just don't look right in a suit. The closest I came to appearing in court was our 341 meeting with the BK trustee. It's a very stressful situation as it is. The night before, my wife asked me what I was planning on wearing. Great, as if I'm not stressed out enough, now I have to make a fashion statement. I decided I would wear Black jeans (the closest thing I have to dress pants), black hiking boots, a maroon dress shirt and a black leather vest. I topped it off with my favorite tie. I have two ties I wear for funerals and weddings. A black one, and one with the Tasmanian devils face grinning wildly, respectively. I chose Taz. When it was our turn with the trustee, the first words out of his mouth were "Wow, I love that tie!" I told him Taz has been with me through a lot, and couldn't see keeping him from this. We all laughed and the stress was gone from there on.

Now, I'm not sure if a judge would have liked Taz or not, but I believe I would wear him if I had to and take my chances. Maybe it's not what you wear, but how you wear it....

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I have not dressed up. I do go neat and clean with a little makeup and my hair fixed. But my clothing is not professional. I have been disabled and at home over 10 years now and I don't have dress clothes or suits. I just wear nice clean casual comfortable clothing. Not rags. Someone told me I should go to court looking a mess and disheveled but I don't know why. I don't think the court cares whether you were broke and thats why you didn't pay your bills. You probably have a better chance looking like a first class citizen in my opinion. That ones that said to dress up are probably right. I just don't own that type of clothing anymore.

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I have not dressed up. I do go neat and clean with a little makeup and my hair fixed. But my clothing is not professional. I have been disabled and at home over 10 years now and I don't have dress clothes or suits. I just wear nice clean casual comfortable clothing. Not rags. Someone told me I should go to court looking a mess and disheveled but I don't know why. I don't think the court cares whether you were broke and thats why you didn't pay your bills. You probably have a better chance looking like a first class citizen in my opinion. That ones that said to dress up are probably right. I just don't own that type of clothing anymore.

This is my personal opinion, but look at what a large portion of a debt collection attorney's job is when dealing with somebody that fights back. It is to intimidate the hell out of you. It is psychological. If you show up looking like you are ready to throw some serious game down, it can detract from that.

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haha USAGI55 I live in surfer paradise. people wear shorts and flip flops year round. And thats the general wardrobe around here. EXCEPT for lawyers! There costume is 3 piece black suits and ties.

It's casual around here too, except for the lawyers. You can go to the Santa Fe Opera, and you'll quite literally see some guy in full biker regalia standing next to another guy in a tux (aka tourist,) and nobody cares, so long as the guy in the tux isn't causing any problems.

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If you show up looking like you are ready to throw some serious game down, it can detract from that.

That's it right there. In theory, you should be able to walk in with shorts and flip flops. Really I don't think there is anything the Judge could do to you about it. Your not part of the bar.

Larry Flynt when to court wearing a diaper, a war helment, a shirt that said F**K this court, threw oranges at the Judge, and told the Supreme Court they were eight assholes and a token C***.

It just makes a statement and the bottom line is people judge you in the first 10 seconds on how you look and talk.

P.S. I don't recommend the Larry Flynt approach. I think he had a few bucks backing up his stunts. :lol:

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That's it right there. In theory, you should be able to walk in with shorts and flip flops. Really I don't think there is anything the Judge could do to you about it. Your not part of the bar.

Larry Flynt when to court wearing a diaper, a war helment, a shirt that said F**K this court, threw oranges at the Judge, and told the Supreme Court they were eight assholes and a token C***.

It just makes a statement and the bottom line is people judge you in the first 10 seconds on how you look and talk.

P.S. I don't recommend the Larry Flynt approach. I think he had a few bucks backing up his stunts. :lol:

I agree with all of this. When I worked in sales, appearance made a huge impact on the amount of money that could be made. It may not be right, but it's the way the world works (in my opinion). I will be dressed to impressed on Monday! Thanks for all of the input. If I could give this forum a hug, I would!

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I agree with all of this. When I worked in sales, appearance made a huge impact on the amount of money that could be made. It may not be right, but it's the way the world works (in my opinion). I will be dressed to impressed on Monday! Thanks for all of the input. If I could give this forum a hug, I would!

I had a nice hot smoked green chile bacon cheeseburger tonight, if that makes you jealous. 8-)

IMO, appearance is going to be important more often than people would like. Some places more so than others. I have pulled off the dumb hick image with the intent to blindside somebody gig successfully. Image is going to be important when you want to convince somebody of something. If I want to convince the opposing side in any conflict that I am poor and they will have to fight like hell to get nothing, I'm going to dress like I'm poor but trying. If I want to convince the opposing side that I am going to destroy them, I am going to try to exude more power than they do, and that is going to manifest itself, in part, in how I dress. If you want to overwhelm the other side, construct an overwhelming argument and then top it off by looking overwhelming.

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I had a nice hot smoked green chile bacon cheeseburger tonight, if that makes you jealous. 8-)

IMO, appearance is going to be important more often than people would like. Some places more so than others. I have pulled off the dumb hick image with the intent to blindside somebody gig successfully. Image is going to be important when you want to convince somebody of something. If I want to convince the opposing side in any conflict that I am poor and they will have to fight like hell to get nothing, I'm going to dress like I'm poor but trying. If I want to convince the opposing side that I am going to destroy them, I am going to try to exude more power than they do, and that is going to manifest itself, in part, in how I dress. If you want to overwhelm the other side, construct an overwhelming argument and then top it off by looking overwhelming.

I am in fact, quite jealous of your green chile burger! I have a dwindling supply of the good stuff in my freezer. Saving the rest for a big pot of green chile stew on a snowstormy night!

Now, I am pretty confident that I can out-overwhelm the competition in the appearance department (i am not bragging - just checked everyone out when I went to file my appearance and was decidedly UNDERwhelmed.) Now I just need to pull together an overwhelming argument and I am money!

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I have to disagree.

I am a small business owner. I work outdoors, in the field. Climb roofs, poles, towers, grain legs. Run cables and whatever it takes to make the Internet work.

I wear/wore my work clothes to court. Clean, but obviously a working man taking time out of his work day to deal with this sh**.

Making it clear that my time is just as valuable as theirs.

One of the games they will play with you, if you let them, is making the pro se 's wait until all the lawyers are done because their time is 'more important' or because they are 'on the clock'.

Personally, I prefer to look like a country hick or mountain man. Long hair, full, thick beard.

I prefer to look like I have no idea what to do or what is going on. Really tends to make the opposing counsel underestimate me.

And as I never saw the same lawyer twice, it was fun to see their faces each time I was able to win the motion or hearing...

By the end, I think the judge was enjoying watching them underestimate me as well...

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I have to disagree.

I am a small business owner. I work outdoors, in the field. Climb roofs, poles, towers, grain legs. Run cables and whatever it takes to make the Internet work.

I wear/wore my work clothes to court. Clean, but obviously a working man taking time out of his work day to deal with this sh**.

Making it clear that my time is just as valuable as theirs.

One of the games they will play with you, if you let them, is making the pro se 's wait until all the lawyers are done because their time is 'more important' or because they are 'on the clock'.

Personally, I prefer to look like a country hick or mountain man. Long hair, full, thick beard.

I prefer to look like I have no idea what to do or what is going on. Really tends to make the opposing counsel underestimate me.

And as I never saw the same lawyer twice, it was fun to see their faces each time I was able to win the motion or hearing...

By the end, I think the judge was enjoying watching them underestimate me as well...

I think that all of this this applies in more than just court, but you have to use what you can pull off. I don't want to show up somewhere and look like a slimeball who put on a suit because, well, I'll look like a slimeball in a suit. If I'm going to wear a suit, I want to look like somebody who means business, and I can pull that off. As I've said before, I've pulled off the dumb hick look and used it to my advantage. Mostly, I just dress how I'm comfortable when I'm pulling that one. If you don't listen to what I'm saying because I'm wearing Wranglers and beatup HH boots, that's your problem. If you can show up without the suit and embarrass the other side, then you ought to video tape some quality entertainment for us.

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If you dress like a lawyer the difference between you and a lawyer disappears. I have actual data on this I wore suits for more of my hearings but once I actually did where my nomex jumpsuit to court. The judges eyes clouded over and denied my motion and was actually snarky to me. the clerks were mean to me also on that day.

So if you look like a lawyer the clerks are nice to you because they don't want a lawyer complaining about them.

the judge also most of the time hears the traffic docket. So you want to distance yourself from their lame excuse crap that pisses the judge off.

anything you can do to make the case go better then so be it. Judges socialize with people who where suits all the time. So if you want a ruling in your favor you have to dress like you are a member of the good ole boy club, not a member of a biker, or street gang.

and a suitable tie makes you seem a member.

just saying

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Grazie to the OP of this thread! I had almost forgotten this aspect of going to court!! I'm enjoying reading everyone's viewpoints and experience on this topic.

I don't shine up nicely. Literally, it's like polishing a turd. I have long wavy hair and a neatly trimmed beard. Nothing unkempt or messy, but I just don't look right in a suit. The closest I came to appearing in court was our 341 meeting with the BK trustee. It's a very stressful situation as it is. The night before, my wife asked me what I was planning on wearing. Great, as if I'm not stressed out enough, now I have to make a fashion statement. I decided I would wear Black jeans (the closest thing I have to dress pants), black hiking boots, a maroon dress shirt and a black leather vest. I topped it off with my favorite tie. I have two ties I wear for funerals and weddings. A black one, and one with the Tasmanian devils face grinning wildly, respectively. I chose Taz. When it was our turn with the trustee, the first words out of his mouth were "Wow, I love that tie!" I told him Taz has been with me through a lot, and couldn't see keeping him from this. We all laughed and the stress was gone from there on.

Now, I'm not sure if a judge would have liked Taz or not, but I believe I would wear him if I had to and take my chances. Maybe it's not what you wear, but how you wear it....

workingpoor, you sound like you looked meraviglioso! I especially got a good laugh out of the "Taz tie"!! Fantastico!! ::rockon::

It's casual around here too, except for the lawyers. You can go to the Santa Fe Opera, and you'll quite literally see some guy in full biker regalia standing next to another guy in a tux (aka tourist,) and nobody cares, so long as the guy in the tux isn't causing any problems.

::spew:::LolPointUp::roflmao: :roflmao:

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I think it all comes down to whatever works best in the court you are appearing in. You don't have to look like Brad Pitt, but you don't want to insult the court by showing up in sweats. (See My Cousin Vinny) I've never seen a lawyer who didn't show up in a suit and tie. In the end, the appearance gets you in the door. Your argument is what really counts. A negative appearance will just irritate the judge. I actually had a judge compliment me on my appearance. This proves that they do take this into consideration. It isn't about how much money you have, it's about respect for the court.

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I think one of the dangers of going to court dressed to the nines is sending a message to the creditor attorney, and the judge, that you have the money to buy fancy duds, but won't pay your debts.

I certainly wouldn't advise wearing sweats, cut-offs or flip-flops, either.

But between those extremes. You want to show respect for the court, but not convey an image that you have wealth.

Be especially careful about how you dress, and what you take with you, for a debtor's exam. Leave the nice leather jacket, expensive watch and other jewelry, and cash in your wallet, at home. I have read that the creditor can get a turnover order requiring you to turn over these nice items to them right then and there.

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