How an Attorney’s Professionalism in Court Impacts Their Career


Attorneys are often tasked with presenting their case in front of juries and judges, but sometimes their case may involve either an in-house or opposing counsel that presents their own case.

Regardless of who the opposing counsel may be, it’s important to maintain professionalism when presenting your case in court to the judge and jury. To help ensure you’re presenting yourself as professionally as possible in court, consider these tips from David L. Sokoloff & Associates to keep your professionalism in check

What Goes Around Comes Around

Lawyers can never lose sight of how they are perceived by their colleagues, opposing counsel, and by judges. While every case is different, an attorney’s job performance will always reflect upon them when it comes time for a promotion or review.

As such, it is important to always act professionally and treat others with respect when appearing in court. Judges notice everything from your appearance to how you speak; being well-spoken does not mean speaking above others; rather showing respect for all involved in cases before you.

An Unprofessional Attorney Will Lose Clients

When appearing before a judge or jury, you’re under professional scrutiny. You should comport yourself professionally and make every effort to be organized and respectful of court time.


Remember that you’re a representative of your entire firm, and how you behave will affect your company’s reputation for years to come. A lawyer can lose credibility as well if he acts unprofessionally during court proceedings.

Connections Matter

Law is a social profession. The best lawyers are those who understand that their interactions with judges, jurors, opposing counsel, and clients have a profound impact on how they’re perceived.

An attorney needs to know how to dress, how to speak, and – most importantly – how to act before a judge or jury. While no two cases are exactly alike, there are always particular rules and customs that attorneys must follow when representing their clients in court. Below is an overview of some of these practices.

It’s Bad for Business

In any industry, not just legal services, one of a business’s most important assets is its reputation. Unfortunately, a professional’s behavior in court can have serious effects on their reputation—and it doesn’t take much to get them there.

What does it take to lose clients or have an otherwise positive reputation tarnished? How do you avoid these mistakes while still doing what is necessary for your client?

Take Pride in Your Work

Attorneys who take pride in their work, both on and off of their cases, tend to be more successful than those who are lax about keeping up with details.

They also have better reputations than lawyers who are always handing off responsibilities to others and asking them to perform tasks they’re not qualified for.

Professional Attorneys Create a Good First Impression

First impressions matter. Whenever we meet someone for the first time, we evaluate them quickly and form an opinion of them. Lawyers are no different than anybody else—they’re evaluated quickly when they walk into court or step up to argue a case in front of a jury.

They have one chance to impress upon their audience that they know what they’re doing; make sure your attorney understands how important it is to maintain a professional presence.

Appearance Matters

If you don’t make a good impression in court, no one will take you seriously. Remember that—in addition to your client’s case—you’re being judged by everything from your appearance to your level of professionalism.

Different Practice Styles = Different Results

There are several different practice styles lawyers use when representing their clients. While none of these is necessarily better than another, it is important to know what type of attorney you are working with and that they can represent your needs.

It is easy to get confused when lawyers refer to their practice or profession but understand that there are actually many different practices of law. Some examples include business, bankruptcy, litigation, estate planning, and criminal defense.