Teachers used to tell us: there is never a stupid question. That’s
absolutely true, especially when it comes to court.
The biggest misconception out there is that the courts shut down because of COVID-19. They didn’t shut down. Like many of us, they transitioned and they are now online. So this is the time to ask questions and make sure, you are moving forward with your cases and getting your day in court.
1). You need to have zoom. Download it to your smartphone, tablet or computer at https://zoom.us.
If you are worried about cost, don’t. Attendees don’t need to have a paid zoom account. However, if you can pay for one, it will make things easier.
- A). Once you log into zoom, set your name, phone and email. Add a photograph so that the court
- and your attorney can identify you. Again, it’s not mandatory, but it will make life easier for yourself, your attorney and the court, something that is appreciated more than you can imagine.
- B). Make sure you have the latest zoom software. Worst case scenario, we can make do with using zoom through a browser, but when possible, install the latest Zoom Client for Meetings app or software at http://zoom.us/download.
2). Settings on your Zoom account. Zoom allows you to ask it questions every time you are on it. Use it. You are already nervous enough because it is court. Trying to remember everything on top of that is nearly impossible. There is nothing wrong with the software helping you through the process.
- Allow Zoom to ask you to confirm when you want to leave a meeting, so you do not accidently exit because of a missed key-stroke or inadvertent bump against your computer.
- Turn OFF HD video: HD video means more work for your computer and internet connection. Turning HD video off helps prevent poor performance and missed connections.
- Allow Zoom to show participant names: Seeing 5 or more video screens at once is confusing. It helps to have their names under their video so you can know the participants in your hearing.
3). Practice, Practice, Practice. You don’t want court to be the first time you try zoom. Practice with your lawyer or friends so you are familiar with it, and know the functions. That includes private chat with your lawyer during the hearing, muting your screen, and turning off your video if you need to.
4). Our Recommendations: Our job as attorneys is to make you look good in a situation you may never have thought you would be a part of. Even if we aren’t at your side, that still holds true.
- Mute your phone, tv, and notices on your computer. Even if you are at home in your living room, you are attending a court hearing. Make sure you aren’t the one interrupting it. The reality is, the Court can still fine you or hold you in contempt for interruptions.
- If possible, use a computer. Tablets, iPads and smartphones are convenient, but typically, their performance is limited when compared to your computer.
- Avoid using battery power only and plug in. Streaming video kills a battery. The last thing you want is to drop off because your laptop or phone died.
- Do your best to frame yourself in the center of the video screen. Take up most of screen and make sure you are at eye level. Even though they can be cute, avoid virtual backgrounds.
- Find a quiet place so there are not outside noises and distractions or echos.
- If you are at home, make sure you are the only person on the internet network. That way, you have done everything to make sure you have the strongest signal possible for court.
- Finally, turn off all the other applications on your computer. Remember, everything is changing, sometimes by the day.
We are here to get you through the process. Hopefully one of the changes will be to allow us to have zoom hearings together at our office. In the meantime, no question is dumb. Call us at 734-692-3033 and we can walk you through any questions and concerns that you have.