Days Before the Hearing

Warning: The information in this guide is not a substitute for the advice and help of an attorney. Speaking with a lawyer about your situation is a good idea. 

Checklist Steps

Sharing your evidence early allows all parties to review the evidence and follow along effectively during the hearing. The court coordinator will need time to prepare your exhibits for presentation during the virtual hearing.

Evidence that is not sent on time may be banned from presentation during your hearing. Check the local and court rules to find the deadline for when you must send copies of your electronic evidence to the court and your opposing party.

You can share electronic copies of your evidence by e-mail, but e-mailing several documents can be difficult. It is a good idea to use a file-sharing platform like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box. Using a file-sharing platform allows you to organize your evidence with digital folders and share the link with your hearing participants. Make sure the folder you share only contains information that you want to be accessed by the other party. File-sharing links give anyone with the link access to everything in the folder.

Remind your witnesses of the correct time and date of your hearing. Make sure they have the correct information to access the virtual hearing and will dress professionally.

If your witnesses do not have access to the proper technology, help them create a plan to appear at the hearing in a space that is free from distractions.

If you do not have access to a laptop or computer, consider using your local Texas Legal Services Center Virtual Kiosks. Be sure to follow the instructions listed for the kiosk site to call or make an online reservation to use the kiosk before your hearing.

If you plan to use your personal computer or laptop, test your equipment to make sure that your internet connection, video conferencing software, and microphone are all working properly. Consider using a headset for better sound quality.

Even with preparation, technical issues can still occur during a virtual hearing.

If you experience technical difficulties:

  • Stay calm.
  • Tell the court coordinator about the issue.
  • Follow the court coordinator’s instructions to resolve the problem.

Many court coordinators provide instructions on how to contact them if you have any problems on the day of the hearing. Make sure their number is with you so that you can act quickly if you encounter technical difficulties.

Practice using features such as screen sharing so that you will feel comfortable using them in your presentation. The more comfortable you feel with the equipment, the smoother your presentation will be.  Fewer distractions will help the judge focus on your evidence.

Read the materials in TexasLawHelp.org’s Virtual Court: Technology section to learn about using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, or CourtCall for your virtual hearing.

Locate a quiet space to attend your hearing and check the space around you for things that may be distracting or inappropriate while you are on camera. Try to organize your space so that it looks professional.

Avoid virtual backgrounds and filters during your hearing. While they can be fun, they also may stop working mid-hearing and take away from your presentation.

Removing all distractions from your area will keep the judge focused on your presentation.

Note: Other people should not be present while you are conducting your virtual hearing. Children, pets, and other loud distractions are not allowed in your virtual hearing space during the proceedingjust like in a physical courtroom.


Source URL: https://texaslawhelp.org/checklist/days-before-the-hearing