Confidence in court comes from the same two fundamental sources as confidence in any other field, knowledge and experience.
Knowledge doesn’t come easily in the area of law. The requisite is in depth study in the statutes that govern the issue you are facing. Granted in the area of mortgages and subsequent foreclosure law the field is vast and extensive and at times very difficult to come to an understanding of.
A trick I learned out of necessity is when trying to wrap my mind around a statute is to read it two or three times of more. When reading a section or subsection of a statute I found it’s best to read it all the way through with no intention of understanding it. The first time is just to familiarize my mind with the words themselves and the order they are in. Then I will read it again and again until understanding comes.
I have also found that if by the time I have read a subsection of any statute understanding is not apparent, I will read the preceding subsection or perhaps two or three preceding subsections and then I tend to get what my target statute is purporting to present.
If when reading a statute, the one I am reading makes reference to another, I will go read that. If that one refers to another and another I will read them all. By the time I have gone down all of the ‘rabbit holes’ I will undoubtedly have a relatively good understanding of my target statute.
When you have a fairly good comprehension of what a statue purports copy and paste the poignant portion into Google Scholar or Justia. Find case law in where the statute has been cited in other motions, pleadings, and court opinions and see how that statute was argued. Then you will have a better idea in regard to how you can do the same.
When researching case law it is important to research winning cases in where a similar argument was successfully pleaded out. This way you will know what to do and how to do it. In the opposite it is equally important to research those cases in where your intended arguments were pleaded in loosing arguments so that you will know what “not” to do. Sometimes knowing what you should not do is more valuable than knowing what you should do.
When you take your law to court and you know your law to be factual and on point
Experience on the other hand is different. One does not have to pass the bar, that is to say enter the court arena for the purpose of arguing points and authorities. Court experience can come in many different ways.
One of the best ways to gain experience in court is to simply go watch. All of our courts are open to the public with the exception of some state’s supreme courts. When you go court watching, one of the things to pay particular attention to is court procedure. Watch the lawyers what they do. Watch and listen to how they present their arguments, their evidence, watch how they object and how they respond to objections.
Watch how the attorneys carry and hold themselves. Body language speaks volumes. A good attorney will be very fluid in his/her gestures. A poor attorney or an attorney who is; (1) not confident in his argument, or (2) who has no argument at all will sometimes tend to be flamboyant, and melodramatic. Try to avoid this behavior. Judges know when you don’t have a valid argument so don’t let it show in your body language.
Having command and control of your emotions is vital to your court presentation. There is no escaping the fact that you have an emotional attachment to your case and your opponent knows this and he is waiting for you to get frustrated. This is his cue to pounce and knock you off your axis. Once off balance it is very difficult to regain your composure to proceed.
Also avoid buttering up the judge. Judges don’t mind a “brief” compliment, but don’t over do it. This will curry no favor from the bench and it will only work against you.
Mock trials are an excellent way to build your confidence. If you know a group of individuals in your area who hold mock trial, go, participate, and get your feet wet. It is far easier to get used to a courtroom setting when you have nothing tangible to loose.
If there is not a group in your area, start one. You will be surprised to find out how many people just like yourself who have issues of their own and who will be glad to join you in your efforts. Meetup dot com is a great place to put the word out. This way you will also build a good support group of like minded people who can also go to court with each other to offer moral support and also be witness to any of the shenanigans that might take place in court proceedings.
Keep in mind at all times that in the trial court you can expect to loose. The point in the trial court is to set the record for appeal. If you present your case well, all of your arguments are on point, and your evidence is on record the chances of prevailing on appeal is far greater.
Keep your head up, your hands out of your pockets, and act like you own the place because you do. Good luck.