How to Dress for Various Events in Your Lawsuit
Lawsuits are unfamiliar to people, and you will likely have a lot of questions during the process. One question that may come up is what you should wear to various events in your case, including meetings with your lawyer, depositions, or when you have to appear before the court. It is perfectly normal to be uncertain about how your appearance should be for these events, and when in doubt, you should always feel free to ask your lawyer.
For meetings with your lawyer, you typically do not need to dress any particular way. Lawyers understand that you are working around your normal life schedule of work, childcare, and other obligations, so if you need to arrange a meeting with your lawyer after your work shift or in between running errands, it is understandable that you may arrive wearing whatever outfit your day called for.
For other case events, such as depositions or a mediation, however, you should be more conscientious of your attire and appearance. While you do not need to wear a suit and tie or “Sunday best” for these events, you do want to appear presentable and nicely dressed. Depositions and mediations are an opportunity for the opposing side in your lawsuit to meet you and determine how you would appear to a jury if your case went to trial, so they will certainly be paying attention to all aspects of your presentation. You want to be well-groomed and dress somewhat conservatively. Button-down shirts and blouses, sweaters, slacks or khakis are all appropriate choices. You may also wear jeans to a deposition or mediation if they are clean and without tears. Skirts or dresses should be a length that is below mid-thigh, and along the line of a choice you would wear to church or a wedding rather than a night out at a bar or club. If you have tattoos, you may consider covering them, particularly if they could convey a controversial message. You want to make sure that your hair is not in your face and that nothing will be distracting you or the conversations that will be taking place. This could mean removing jewelry which may jingle or cause you to play with it. Particularly for depositions, where you will need to wear a microphone, heavy necklaces and earrings can interfere with the recording or just get in the way of your ability to sit comfortably and talk.
Appearing before the court will be the time when you need to dress the best. Particularly for trial, you should make sure that you have clothes ready that are more akin to what you might wear to church, a wedding, or an event like a play or orchestra performance. The court and judges view everyone’s attire as a sign of respect for the courtroom and the proceedings, and that is why you will see lawyers in suits, ties and jackets. This can be a time that a suit and tie are appropriate for you as a client as well, but you can also wear button-down shirts, slacks, or other attire that is not jeans or t-shirts. When in doubt, you want to err on the sign of dressing more formally anytime you appear before the court.
None of this is to say that you should not be yourself during your lawsuit, and wearing clothes that are more formal may be out of the norm for you, but there are many factors at play in your case, and you don’t want your appearance to be one that is overlooked and potentially a detriment that you did not even consider. Knowing what to wear for case events in advance of them can also help ease the anxiety of an unfamiliar situation, and help you be more prepared and feel more comfortable in a situation, such as a deposition or trial, that you would otherwise be unsure of.