I always tell my clients to dress nicely for court (“like you would for church or a job interview,” a senior lawyer told me years ago). Chicago family lawyer Bryan Keehl describes one litigant who overdressed for the part:
In court a few years ago, I was sitting quietly watching a mother stand before the judge beseeching him to increase her level of monthly maintenance. She had no attorney, but her arguments were sound. His income was up, hers was down. She had sacrificed her career to stay home with the children, and the family had lived high on the hog. Though perhaps a little dramatic, she was composed, well-spoken, and appeared sincere. She explained that her level of child support was woefully inadequate, that she was two months behind in her rent, and she didn’t have money to feed her children. Before the ruling was made, I felt fairly confident the judge would not give her what she was seeking. Sure enough, the judge denied her motion without much of an explanation.
To begin, she strolled into the courtroom in a full-length fur coat…
It could be worse. I’ll never forget seeing one guy charged with impaired driving come to court wearing his “It’s not a beer belly, it’s a fuel tank for a sex machine!” T-shirt.