Any advice on how to overcome anxiety and nervousness before a court hearing (besides preparation)?

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Go to a private room and do the Superman pose for 30 seconds, taking up as much physical space as you can. Arrive to court early in case your bowels react to stress and you need some time.

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I’ll try this! Thank you!

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You could also observe the same judge’s hearings before you appear. Since you mentioned this first one will be on Zoom, they should be easy. I’ve found that whenever I’m nervous, it’s usually because I’m u comfortable with the unfamiliarity of something. Watching the judge, seeing how they interact with counsel, hearing the questions they ask, all go a long way to taking the element of unfamiliarity out of the equation.

Also: judges are just people. And they’re very busy (especially in state court). You’ve submitted a great brief already: anything you say at the hearing is not going to tank the case; the worst that could happen is you stumble on your words or something. But like I said, everyone is busy, and no one will ever remember.

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Thank you! Your last comment was a solid and reassuring reminder.

All of this plus: try not to overthink the details just before the hearing. Stay high level and have a list of the most important points you need to make. If you’ve done the prep work, you’ll surprise yourself with how the details will come up you in the moment. If you try to drill yourself on the weeds that day, you’ll get in your own head too much. Trust your prep.

(FWIW, brain science backs this approach.)

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Thank you!

Every new associate gets this way. It’s just repetition. Keep track of mistakes you make and see. Most of the anxiety is the unknown. Also practice aloud answering questions

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Thank you! The anxiety definitely is the unknown.

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Xanax. Just kidding (or am I?). Some deep calm breaths, and tell yourself that even if you mess up, no one’s going to die over it. Is it an in person hearing? Federal court?

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Actually, a beta blocker like propranolol would work nicely.

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I get nausea before things like this sometimes. Emetrol helps a bit.

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Thanks!

Seems you have a bit of performance anxiety. I was prescribed a beta blocker for it. It’s an option for now until you grow more confidence in the courtroom.

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Try to find and read hearing transcripts of appearances in front of that judge or other hearing transcripts on the same or similar legal issue you’ll be addressing.

Just remember that pretty much everyone has gone through it. Everyone in your office, opp counsel, everyone in their office, and the judge as well. If it’s your first solo then it’s probably pretty low stakes, even if it doesn’t feel that way, so the worst thing that happens is you lose. It will feel like the end of the world, it’s not, just roll on to the next hearing.

Get comfortable with the idea that you won’t always win, even if you prepped, even if maybe you should have. It happens to everyone.

Keep track of how the hearing is run procedurally, what the judge expects of you, of opp counsel, throughout the hearing. Be polite in the judges court they have long memories. And learn from your mistakes. After, go back to your office and confer with a senior attorney you trust if you have questions or want to know if x could have been handled differently.

Possibly ask around your office to see who has appeared before judge x before and do they have any tips.

If you do really have a panic issue though seeing a doc for a beta blocker might not be a bad idea as live court can be high stress. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you need a tool like that.

Beta blockers, phosphatidylserine, meditating in silence right before, EFT tapping, any Meg thee Stallion playlist

Believe in yourself! If you don’t, then no one else will.

Practice your presentation out loud and standing behind a table so that you can visualize yourself in the courtroom.

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