The Chicago Bar Association

Make sure to timely submit your exhibits (or they might not be considered) - and for the hearing lay out the exhibits on a table/desk in front of you

  • In Illinois, and many other jurisdictions, exhibits must be received by the judge and the Employer at least 24 hours before the hearing (or they might not be considered). So if you have documents that you believe should be considered for the hearing you need to make sure to timely send them to the judge and the Employer - check the rules closely in your jurisdiction (and follow those rules).
  • Depending on the rules of your jurisdiction it is usually best, if possible, to send the exhibits by fax (to both the judge and the Employer), as that way you have proof of both when you sent the exhibits and when they were received.
  • Keep in mind that these hearings are frequently scheduled to be held every half hour, so you need to be very selective about what exhibits (if any) you will submit for the hearing. Note that when I represent an employee I usually will have very few, if any, exhibits that I submit for the hearing.
  • If you are to submit exhibits then you want to submit exhibits that are relevant to the issues of the hearing, and as a general rule of thumb you want to submit documents that are favorable to you in this regards and/or that help to disprove the Employer's allegations that you committed misconduct/ resigned.
  • For the hearing it is generally advisable to have the exhibits laid-out on a table/desk in front of you, so that they are easily accessible if the judge, Employer/Employer's representative, or you wants to refer to an exhibit (and so you do not need to fumble around looking for the right exhibit).
  • Being able to quickly access the exhibits, and also refer to them if necessary will make you look organized in the eyes of the judge (which is a good thing), while being unable to locate an exhibit will either put you at a huge disadvantage during the hearing or will result in a delay and frustration on the part of the judge, which may negatively impact you.
  • Sometimes, if there is a point from a document that you plan on pointing out during the hearing, you may want to highlight that point for yourself with a highlighter and/ or a sticky note as a memory aid/ helpful reminder.
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