Court hearings have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. As a result, many court hearings are now held via ZOOM. This means that you and your attorney will attend the hearing via an online connection. While the hearing is remote, you still must prepare for your hearing. Sometimes a ZOOM hearing can be more challenging than an in-person hearing. There are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your ZOOM court hearing.
Ensure a Reliable Internet Connection
The ZOOM hearing requires that you connect online. To prepare for the hearing, make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection and a quality computer. It is important that your connection is secure and that you can stay connected for the duration of the hearing. If your connection drops off, you could risk legal issues as a result. Test the connection ahead of time and check the call-in number to make sure you are prepared.
Choose a Quiet Location
It is helpful to find a quiet location where you will be undisturbed for the length of the hearing. If you must attend while you are at work, make sure to find a suitable conference room where you will be alone. If you have children or pets at home during the call, make arrangements to keep them occupied during the call. The last thing you need is to have a pet barking in the background or a child crying for your attention during the meeting. Have a relative or friend available to attend to the needs of your family.
A ZOOM court hearing is the same as an in-person hearing. You must respect the court and the judge at all times. Choose the appropriate clothing for the hearing and ensure that it is the same as you would wear if you went to the courthouse. Wear professional or business attire for the meeting. While the camera generally remains on your face and upper torso, be aware that you could end up accidentally showing the rest of your body. Therefore, make sure you have complete business attire and shoes for the meeting.
Proper Court Behavior
Remember that when you are engaged on the ZOOM call, it is the same as being in the courtroom. There are standards of courtesy and decorum in court. You must listen and not speak unless you are asked a question. Do not shout out, and do not make inappropriate facial expressions. Stay alert and do not eat, drink, or smoke during the meeting. Be sure to put your phone on silent and stop alerts that could come from your computer. Do not take photos of the proceedings as this is not allowed. Always keep the camera pointed in your direction unless you receive other instructions. Do not end the call until you are told the hearing has ended.
Prepare With Your Attorney
A ZOOM hearing typically means that you and your attorney will be calling in from separate locations. If that is the case, make sure you discuss the hearing ahead of time. Understand what will occur during the hearing and what your role will be. If you need any documents or exhibits, ensure that you or your attorney have them ready to present. If you must present an exhibit, take time ahead of the hearing to practice with the camera to make the presentation as smooth and professional as possible.
ZOOM court hearings can be an expeditious option for some participants. If you are involved in litigation utilizing ZOOM, prepare for it with your attorney. To learn more about ZOOM court hearings, contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online.