1. Confirm your date and time. Review your unemployment insurance hearing notice, and contact your attorney to confirm your hearing date and time. Your attorney will likely arrange to meet you before the hearing is scheduled to begin.
2. Prepare your attorney. Turn over your case documents to your attorney as soon as possible. You should not need to bring any evidence with you on the day of your hearing, unless you discover it at the last moment, or are directed to do so by your attorney. Your attorney will prepare extra copies to present to the Judge and your former employer at the hearing.
3. Dress Professionally. Your attorney will wear professional courtroom attire to the hearing. You should show the Judge and the system respect by dressing professionally.
4. Block the day. Unemployment hearings are scheduled to last between 1 hour and 1.5 hours, depending on whether the parties are represented. However, Administrative Law Judges have the discretion to continue taking evidence as their schedules allow, and your hearing may even continue on a second day. You should not have anything else to worry about on the day of your hearing.
5. Prepare your body. Testifying and attentively participating at your hearing requires energy and concentration. Get a full night of sleep, eat a meal, and take any medication before the hearing. If you are taking any medications that may affect your ability to hear, understand, or respond to questions or participate in the hearing, notify your attorney.
6. What to bring. You should bring a bottle of water, a pad of paper, and pen, unless otherwise directed by your attorney. If you have a cell phone with you, please silence it before the hearing begins.
7. Appear on time. Meet your attorney 30 minutes prior to the start of your hearing in the lobby of the Wisconsin State Office Building, or at your designated hearing location. For hearings in Milwaukee, we recommend you park in the McArthur Square parking lot between the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee County Courthouse, and the Milwaukee Police Department. Street parking is metered, and you will not be available to plug the meters during your hearing.
8. Come alone. You may want to secure a ride from a family member, friend, or significant other. Your companion is welcome to attend the pre-hearing prep session (provided you agree to waive your attorney-client privilege) and wait in the lobby until the hearing concludes. In order to reduce distractions, we ask that our clients' friends and family members do not enter the hearing room.
Watch Attorney McLeod in a PBS special about unemployment insurance here.