What is a Notice of Appearance?

By Jedidiah McKeehan

There may come a point in your life when a lawsuit is filed against you and you decide that you need to hire an attorney to represent you in court.  Or you may have filed a lawsuit on your own in general sessions (small claims) court and then decided at a later point that it’s a good idea to have a lawyer help you instead of trying to handle the case on your own.

If you do that, how does your attorney go about notifying the court that they are now involved and will be representing you?  They do that by filing a document that is called a, “Notice of Appearance.”  This document does not contain any earth-shattering information and usually only has one or two sentences of content.  It will simply state something to the effect of, “Comes now attorney XXXX XXXX, of XYZ law firm, and hereby enters his appearance on behalf of Defendant XXXX.“  That is generally all that is contained in a Notice of Appearance.  The notice will be sent to the court as well as any and all parties (or their attorneys if they are represented) who are involved in the case.

What is the point of this document?  It does not seem to serve much purpose.

Judges and courts always want to know when attorneys are involved in cases.  They know now to contact the new attorney instead of an unrepresented party with notification of all future court dates.  Further, all other parties and attorneys involved in the case will know that there is a change to the prior location where they sent their correspondence and pleadings.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.

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