I came across a must read post by Robert Mues of the Ohio Family Law Blog about how to dress for court. With all the preparation going into your case, planning your attire is probably not high on your priorities. However, it is an important part of your presentation and the impression that you make on the judge can have a lasting effect.

Case in point: I was sitting in court waiting for one of my cases to be called and watching a hearing in progress. The case was a parenting action, with two pro se parents appearing before the judge on a contested temporary hearing. The mother appeared neatly groomed and dressed, and seemed reasonable and articulate when presenting her case. The father, on the other hand, was dressed in torn cargo shorts, a thin, white tank top and work boots. He appeared sloppy and careless, and despite the fact the he seemed to have some good points about his case, it was hard to overlook his exterior when assessing his credibility. A pair of slacks or khaki pants and polo shirt would have gone a long way.

Attorney Mues advises litigants to dress as they would for church or an important job interview. Good advice. I would add that you should not overdress either. If you work as a mechanic, and rarely dress in a suit, steer clear. If you are an accountant and go to work every day in a suit, it is a good choice. Pick an outfit that will give a good impression, but an outfit that you will feel comfortable with and fits your personality and profession.

So, while you are going over your testimony, reviewing your proposed orders and preparing your exhibits, take a few moments to pick out and press your clothing for court. Making that good impression will kick start a good presentation to the judge.