So, you have a pre-trial conference on your debt collection case but haven't retained an attorney yet? Many find it intimidating to attend a pre-trial conference without representation. The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced attorney like Holland Law Group, but if you find yourself in court without a lawyer, here are some tips on how to be prepared:
Don't throw away that summons! The paperwork you were served has some important information. While some courts have returned to in-person proceedings, many remain on zoom. Your summons will inform you if you are to appear in person or virtually. If you are to attend virtually it will have information on how to join the zoom meeting, including a user ID and a passcode (if required).
If your appearance is virtual, download the zoom app on your laptop, phone, or tablet. On your court date, ensure you are in a quiet place with a strong Wi-Fi connection. You don't want to join the meeting, just to lose connection and miss your case being called.
Whether your appearance is virtual or in-person, dress appropriately for court. Virtual courts have the same attire requirements as in-person courts. If you are dressed inappropriately, you run the risk of being removed from the meeting.
Be respectful to the court and others in the courtroom. The proper way to refer to a judge is: ‘judge', ‘your honor', ‘ma'am', or ‘sir'. If your appearance is virtual, mute your mic until your case is called.
Pay attention as cases are called, and when you hear your case called, let the court know you are present. If your case is called and there is no response, the plaintiff will request a default, and the court will grant it. Once you announce yourself, you will be asked if you admit or deny the claim. This is a legal question and answering incorrectly could allow the Plaintiff to obtain a Judgment against you. If you decide that you want an attorney, like the ones at Holland Law Group, let the judge know.
The pre-trial conference is not the time to argue your case. The judge will not hear arguments at this time, and you may accidentally say something that harms your case.
Even after your pre-trial conference it is not too late to retain counsel; there is still much to be done to resolve your case. Here at Holland Law, we litigate, file motions, negotiate with opposing counsel, conduct legal research, and engage in discovery. Experience matters, and we will work tirelessly to reach an outcome as favorable to you as possible. If you have questions about what we can do for you, call us at (941) 744-5450 for a free consultation. Whether you live in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, or anywhere else in the state, we are ready to help with your debt collection case.