Wednesday 13 March 2024

My First In-Person Court Attendance

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual court hearings have become the norm, and in-person court attendances are harder to come by. That’s why when I got assigned to attend Small Claims Court in Burlington in person, I was overjoyed!

While I have made several court appearances virtually during my articling term, I had not attended any in-person hearings, so I was hit with a wave of excitement. 

As an aspiring litigation lawyer, I have always dreamt of physically speaking in a courtroom, and here was my opportunity to do so.

As articling students of a litigation law firm, we are often given the opportunity to attend court, so I wasn’t as terrified going to court as I was the first time. Nonetheless, I made sure that I was prepared and took advantage of all of the information available in the file. I also spoke in great detail to the assigned lawyer, who walked me through everything. Once I felt like I was prepared and had finalized my submissions, I rehearsed them again and again.

Despite all of my preparation, I was still nervous the morning of. I was worried about all of the things that could potentially go wrong, including not finding the courthouse or getting stuck in traffic and being late for court.

It definitely felt a little odd having to drive to court instead of joining a Zoom meeting. However, I made sure to leave super early to account for traffic time. I arrived at the courthouse a little earlier than expected which I didn’t mind as it gave me time to rehearse my submissions once more. I entered the courthouse and found the courtroom where my matter was being heard. Once it was my turn, I made my submissions, and the Deputy Judge told me that her endorsement would be sent shortly. I couldn’t believe how smoothly everything went and how quickly it all finished. Getting to physically attend court was a fantastic learning experience and now I can’t wait for my next in-person court attendance!

by Chanpreet S.