August 19, 2020 View from the Bench

Credibility Matters

Establishing credibility begins long before you arrive in the courtroom

By Hon. Karen L. Stevenson

The lawyers who appear in front of me generally bring their “A” game to every hearing, conference, or trial. Briefs are usually thoroughly researched and well-written. For evidentiary hearings and trials, the witnesses and experts are carefully prepared to testify and ready for rigorous cross-examination. Sometimes, though, attorneys forget that one of the most important things you bring with you when you walk into court is professional credibility.

One of the most important things attorneys bring into court with them is professional credibility

One of the most important things attorneys bring into court with them is professional credibility

Credit: PeskyMonkey | Getty Images

Credibility is “the quality of being trusted and believed in” or “the quality of being convincing or believable.” From my perspective as a judge, a lawyer’s credibility is an essential element of effective advocacy. Establishing credibility begins long before you arrive for your first appearance. It begins when you sign the first submission to the court.

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