Lawyers Share Their Craziest 'Well, You Didn't Tell Me That' Client Experiences In Court

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THAT would have been nice to know?

The two people in life that you must always, always tell the truth to is your doctor and your lawyer. Naturally we should always tell the truth in general, but it's not life or death to lie to a priest or a friend (for the most part). Your lawyer is your champion, they can't rat you out and the more they know -good or bad, especially bad- will only serve you in the long run. So don't let them be surprised in the middle of a courtroom like it's an episode of "One Life to Live."

Redditor u/youngster_matt wanted to hear from officers of the court about the times they were blindsided by asking.... Lawyers of Reddit, what is the biggest "well you didn't tell me that" moment you've had in your career?

Jawed!

shocked jaw drop GIF Giphy

Recently had a client's fact witness (an employee of the client) reveal at his deposition that he had signed an agreement which pays him a substantial bonus if the client wins the lawsuit. Our jaws dropped. How can you possibly give believable factual testimony at trial if you stand to earn a windfall if one side prevails? Ugh.

Lintlickker

In a What????

My wife's most recent: guy said his company fired him on a racial issue

Turned out the employer had an overtly racist, anti Asian culture

Oh, but the client also kept coming to work and threatening the employer with a hand gun

...in a funeral home.

Dr_D-R-E

The worst part? 

When defense counsel asked my personal injury client, a tall, 50ish, leather-vest-wearing biker, to describe the worst part of the neck injury he suffered when his motorcycle was hit by a car, he calmly replied, "The worst part? That I can't give oral sex - you know, cunnilingus - as well as I used to."

After a long pause, defense counsel asked him to repeat the answer. My client did. He wasn't faking. He seemed genuinely sad.

It was the first time I'd heard about that from him. It was heartfelt, unusual, and interesting, on a number of levels.

mrsnrub77

Oh Maury....

GIF by The Maury Show Giphy

Came out in open court that my clients brother was her child's father. She'd been super dodgy about dad's identity and this was a restraining order hearing against brother.

sailorsucia

by the stats....

I had a client who claimed she was discriminated against by her employer due to disabilities she sustained after a car crash. She said her disabilities were so bad she couldn't drive or sit at her desk for any amount of time, and her company refused to accommodate her by letting her work remotely.

Needless to say, it was embarrassing when opposing counsel told me my client played in a full contact lingerie football league and had telecast videos of her on Youtube playing, running, getting tackled, and dancing in the end zone on the very date her doctor (who lost his license) gave her a note saying she was bed-bound.

I showed her the footage and she continued to lie despite having a freaking stat sheet for receiving yards when she was supposedly in the hospital. Never been angrier at a client.

epgenius

Teeth

I represented a client who was suing for jaw and mouth-related injuries. I retained her regular dentist to act as her expert witness. Two days before our impending trial, my client casually mentions that she will be arriving at the courthouse with her dentist because they had become romantically involved and lived together for the past a year. She had more than a year at her disposal to tell me this little bit of wonderful news.

And so I immediately became more agreeable to a last minute pre-trial settlement.

countcocula

What the....

Had a client tell me that they had just signed a bunch of claim releases that ultimately tanked their case, after I had explicitly told them to let me look at all documents prior to signing since I had seen something similar that they had signed almost a year back.

They'd signed one of these while we were gathering documents and about to take a deposition and when I saw my client's signature on it, I just facepalmed because his signature ended up waiving away any rights they'd had to payment. Ugh.

Evolone16

I've Lost Count....

oh come on jim carrey GIF Giphy

I had one client that failed to tell me about a DUI... his third or fourth. I found out when he was on the stand...

It was uncomfortable to say the least.

Panama_Scoot

Playing Perry....

Obligatory not a lawyer, but I watched this unfold as the foreperson of a jury. Defendant decided to be his own lawyer; accused of pulling over and switching drivers in a car while being pursued by police for driving without a license while on probation for DUI (officer pursuing was the same officer who arrested him for the original DUI).

Playing Perry Mason, defendant put his buddy on the stand and asked point blank, "Who was driving the car that day?" Buddy replied, "you mean before or after we switched drivers?"

It was all we could do to keep a straight face.

cat9tail

Not so Public....

tiffany pollard knife GIF Giphy

A client in a hearing for domestic violence, forgot to tell me that maybe, just maybe she had buried a knife in her husband's hand and that she had also forgotten that she used to threaten him in front of her neighbors, her family, colleagues and pets. It was a cool and crooked audience trying to defend the shamefully indefensible.

Marte1984

Don't Lift...

A bit of a legend, but I got to read the actual trial record when a guy who claimed total loss of the use of his right arm, testified for 45 minutes he had hurt his left arm. He even lifted his allegedly horrifically injured right arm above his head to demonstrate which appendage was screwed. One of his attorneys just packed up his crap and walked out.

DeLaRey

'yes I made it up'

Public defender, doing a felony assault case with a twist - victim claimed that the very unique assault incident happened twice, identically, two days in a row (so imagine she claimed he threatened her with an icicle and she called her sister and the sister told her to eat a fruit snack or whatever but two days in a row).

During direct she was adamant that things happened this way twice, yes it sounds crazy, yes but it happened, yes she was so scared and he assaulted her etc.

She sounds pretty believable and I'm starting to get worried.

Cross examination - I start asking questions to set her up for an impeachment. Finally I ask '(victim name here) are we supposed to believe that these unbelievable made up sounding things, happened to you not once but twice?

Then she quietly says 'yes' and I push 'yes, what?'

'yes I made it up'

This admission put me in such a shock I didn't even know what to say. I asked a few more questions and sat down and the DA attempted to redirect the question as if I had intimidated her. Client walked on the felonies but went down on a misdemeanor time served assault even after all of this. But I never again had a victim admit they they were making things up on stand.

pollypeony

Get another Hustle...

hustling wolf of wall street GIF Giphy

I worked for [insert major airline] and found out through a mind-numbing contract review that they were double dipping.

They had entered into an exclusivity agreement with one [insert major airline repair provider] and, without telling me that had asked me to engage in a separate exclusivity agreement with another provider so they could get a second, $25mm rebate. They intentionally had 2 separate attorneys for each transaction so we wouldn't know about the double dipping. I don't know if $25mm sounds like a lot to you, but when you're talking about airplanes, which cost $, I am not going to get disbarred so you can make a little extra money. Quit on the spot.

KenComesInABox

Cuffs in 15....

The most common is that they don't have prior arrests or convictions. That usually ends when you hand them an inch thick catalogue of their activities since their 18th birthday.

The post violation phone calls are fun.

Someone will violate their bond or a protective order before trial, they will get caught, they will then call and attempt to explain that everyone was lying.

One guy showed up for a status on probation date, something that only happens with people who have a habit of getting violated, and he reeked of weed. I informed him he was going to be dropping that morning. He stated that he would drop clean. I said mess it.

Probation took him down. He was back and in cuffs in 15 minutes. He had tried to poke a-hole in a condom filled with clean pee to beat the drop. The probation officer was looking in a mirror at this guys meat as he pulled the pee condom out of his boxers and tried to create a stream with a needle. His pants were covered in someone else's pee because that's how stabbing condoms works.

DeLaRey

Forged...

Not me, but I just read about the recent disbarment of one of my law school classmates.

Apparently he told his client that they won the case. They did not win the case. In fact, the case was languishing from inaction on the part of the lawyer. He then created fake documents saying they won the case. Forged the judge's signature on the fake documents. Then had the audacity to bill the client for the time it took to "win" the case.

Imagine the surprise of the client when another lawyer at the firm called her up and said "remember how you paid your lawyer for a bunch of legal work and he said you won your case? Yeah, none of that happened."

So yeah, he got disbarred. Weird that it happened to somebody I know.

52ndstreet

"Ms. Smith"

Client intake working pro-bono in a fair housing clinic. Have a really solid case based on what "Ms. Smith" has told us. Her Landlord "John" was calling her a "good for nothing N," - "worthless piece of blah," etc... I think we have a really good case to ensure this woman won't have to pay her current landlord (or any landlord) any rent for a LONG time.

I ask the question that ALWAYS has a bad answer, how long has it been since you paid rent? It had been a few months, but I can work with that.

25 minutes of listening (a lot of venting is going on) and documenting the case later, I start getting all of the final information. I ask for the landlord's address. "Ms. Smith" lets me know it is the same address. I'm surprised. I ask if it is a duplex. "Ms. Smith" says no.

I ask for the landlords full name. "John Smith."

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Ms. Smith, is John Smith in any way related to you?"

Ms. Smith: "yeah, he my dad."

Em-barrister

Call me X....

Sexy Secret Agent GIF by Madonna Giphy

Friend and classmate of mine was parked downtown, which is not a great neighborhood. Someone comes up to her window to carjack her. She slowly rolls down her window, and in her most disappointed voice is like "Come on X, I just got you out on bail"... X then proceeds to apologize and walks away.

kingofthenorthwpg

Flames Away...

Kinda the opposite of what you meant, but what's a good lawyer story if it doesn't follow the letter of the law while breaking the spirit of the law?

My grandfather was a lawyer for a big oil company. They ordered a whole bunch of steel pipe for a new pipeline, and when the construction workers tried to work on it, they found it was somehow magnetized.

The pipe was so magnetic, their blowtorch flames didn't go straight, so they were having a really hard time welding the pipe sections together.

My grandfather tried to sue the pipe manufacturer, but they just said that nothing in the original contract specified the pipe couldn't be magnetic. So the lawsuit fell through, and from then on, they had to specify in every contract that the metal not be magnetic.

Veritas3333

Seriously?

Standing outside of the courtroom, first on the docket. Matter is for a divorce order, after having to get substituted service because the other party was hiding out in another country. Client says to me "Oh, I think I am already divorced in [country]. I got some papers a month ago."

Matter is called 30 seconds later. I explain to the judge that I've just been told this at the door. Judge gives me a look that is half piteous, half "are you freaking kidding me?", then reschedules the matter with instructions to confirm whether the client was divorced elsewhere. Turns out that they were.

Client proceeded to leave a bad review because we couldn't get her a divorce order, despite the fact she was already divorced.

hatori_snow

devil the deets....

judge GIF Giphy

In criminal law, most of the time the story I got from my client and the story I got from the police reports were vastly different.

For example, I had a client charged with armed robbery. His story was that he needed money and the guy was going to give him some money but never did and it was all totally innocent. The other guy said he took $500 at gunpoint.

The police reports revealed that he was arrested a couple hours after the alleged incident and had $360 in cash on him. He didn't understand how that detail was relevant.

MedianNerd

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