Getting through security is just the first step to a successful filing.
More Unstated Rules for the Courthouse Road:
1. Be patient because things will be confusing.
2. Be persistent because things will be confusing.
3. Be polite because things will be confusing
This rule is also know as “Be Kind, Rewind”
No matter how many times you have gone to a courthouse, the place will be different every time you go. Different guards, elevators that may not work, people who are lost, people who are even more lost than you are, and, yes, people who are even grumpier than you are can transform a once really nice place into the Courthouse From Hell. Getting through this infernal region depends on using the those three rules.
Be patient. Once you get through all the roadblocks and sail into the clerk’s office, don’t expect things to go smoothly. Sometimes you just have to wait and being patient is a survival skill. One time at my local courthouse the line waiting for a clerk was outside of the door. I kept reminding myself that time takes time and other usual meditation devices. And when those didn’t work, I stood for a while on one foot and then another and when those things didn’t work, I struck up conversations with other harried individuals in the line.
When I got to the front of the line I was still in a pretty good mood, which was good since the caption on the case had gotten swapped with a different case. The clerk and I sorted out what the problem was but it would have been harder if I’d been in a grumpy mood. Much harder.
Just keep saying to yourself “the clerk is here to help me so let me help him understand what I need.” Help them to help you. Make sure you have your filing fee, your complaint, your service copies and other information available if you are making a filing. And if you run into the caption issue, as I did, keep asking questions to clarify what is going on. Be persistent.
Don’t forget, you only have had 30-plus minutes in this hell. That clerk has been in courthouse hell since 9 in that morning and will be there long after you are gone.
Always thank the clerk once you have gotten through with the filing and remember to smile on your way out of court. And if you have gotten on friendly terms with the Clerk ask them what caused that really long line. You might get a cool answer like I did. It involved overbooked judges, too many juries, and juries just walking out without notifying the clerks office. So the clerks were sorting through what seemed like a jury revolt when it was a miscommunication and procedural issue. Yoicks!!
And you think you have a tough job.