The time between when the courtroom opens and when the judge comes onto the bench is probably the most important half hour of your day when you’ve got a case in court. In criminal court this is when the State’s Attorney checks in their witnesses and determines whether or not the State is prepared to prosecute. It’s during this time that defense lawyers meet with the State’s Attorney to discuss whether a case can be resolved without going to trial. In civil courts the time before the judge takes the bench allows opposing counsel to meet for one last attempt at working out an agreeable settlement. Final plea negotiations and settlements are often made with just minutes left before a civil matter goes to trial.
What does this mean for you? If you have a court date then you should get to court ahead of time. Don’t miss your opportunity to work with your lawyer and the opposing side. Being present when the courtroom doors open can afford you and your lawyer a significant advantage in resolving your case. By coming early you maximize the chance that you’ll get a good outcome without having to resort to having a trial. As any good trial lawyer will tell you, getting what you want without going to trial is the best way to win your case.