Does your attire matter in a civil lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Civil Litigation |

When you are entering litigation in an Ohio courtroom, all eyes will be on you. One of the most important people in the room, of course, is the judge. If you hope to win a favorable ruling in a civil lawsuit, you’ll want to dress for success. Your appearance and demeanor will make an impression on the judge that may influence the court’s decisions.

Many courts publish websites that often include helpful information. It is not uncommon for a court to post a dress code for proceedings. It’s always a good idea to check the website of the court you’ll be appearing in to see if there is an official dress code. In the meantime, this post provides a basic overview of the type of clothing that is and is not acceptable in court.

What to wear for a civil lawsuit

The following list shows numerous clothing options that most judges would deem appropriate for legal proceedings:

  • For women, a dress that is neither too tight, too low-cut or too short
  • Also, for women, a skirt that falls to or below the knee or dress slacks, paired with a nice blouse or shirt with a blazer and low-heeled or flat dress shoes
  • For men, a suit or dress pants with a long-sleeved, collared shirt, a tie and a belt

If you’d be comfortable wearing your outfit to an important business meeting, then it’s probably okay for court proceedings, as well.

Avoid these clothing items in a court of law

The clothing shown in the next list is not appropriate for litigation. In fact, some items may cause the judge to expel you from the courtroom. Avoid this attire:

  • Jeans, especially the kind with rips or shredded fabric
  • Tennis shoes
  • Tight shirts or clothing with low-cut neckline
  • Stiletto heels
  • Baseball caps or hats of any kind
  • Clothing that exposes shoulders
  • Shirts with images or words
  • Shorts or pajamas
  • Pants sagging below the waist
  • Open toed-shoes or flip-flops

None of the clothing on this list is going to help you make a positive impression on a judge. Some of it, in fact, will likely get you kicked out of the courtroom, which, of course, is counterproductive to the goal you’re hoping to accomplish.

You can’t win a civil lawsuit on clothing alone

While the clothing you choose to wear to Ohio court proceedings is an important part of your case, you must also act respectfully and in a manner that demonstrates that you are taking proceedings seriously. If you’re not sure how to dress or act in a civil lawsuit, it’s wise to seek guidance from someone with lots of litigation experience.