Lawyers Break Down The Hardest Client They Ever Had To Defend In Court

Lawyers Break Down The Hardest Client They Ever Had To Defend In Court
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Everyone is always looking for a lawyer. It can be difficult to find and settle on one; there are quite a few reasons why lawyers don't take certain cases. There could be no money to be made from your case, first and foremost. Other lawyers could have rejected the case or the statute of limitations could have expired. The case could just be weak.

This isn't to say that lawyers take open and shut casework, but they certainly don't want to take on clients who will make their lives more difficult, either.

After Redditor gallimimus asked the online community, "Lawyers of Reddit: Who was your hardest client to defend in court?" people shared their stories.

"One of my clients..."

One of my clients stabbed a McDonald's employee through the drive-thru window and when he was arrested they found four grams of powdered morphine in his sock.


"Had a woman..."

Had a woman charged with violating a no-contact order. The order said that she wasn't to come within 100 yards of her ex's house. Cops pull up to ex's house and she's standing in the front yard, waving her arms and screaming.

I was wracking my brain for something to argue to the jury as a reason to find her not guilty. Didn't really come up with much.


"The owner..."

Workplace accident caused the death of a worker. I represented the company, defending against charges of negligence, various health and safety violations. The owner clearly didn't take safety seriously and constantly complained about how this was hurting his business.


"My hardest clients..."

I do family law. My hardest clients are the ones that low key alienate their children from an ex over personal feelings. They don't see it or why the behavior is a problem and they are usually very unlikeable people. Don't get me wrong, I have repped bad people who still manage to be likeable, but not these walnuts.


"And this was all after refusing..."

Got a DUI client who had kicked his trial date down by almost two years. Had a history of DUI but had cleaned up his act until this one.

His story: he was sitting in his car waiting for a ride when he got picked up, no keys in the ignition, talked to the cops by opening the door, no way he could have hoped to drive the thing.

Cops' story: keys were in the ignition and the window was down. No one disputing that he was wasted.

His case was winnable but for one thing - he couldn't close his damn trap shut on the stand. If I asked him the time, he told me where his watch was made and what the name of the clerk was who sold it to him. Classic mouth-diarrhea sufferer.

His friends were his other witnesses, and I couldn't have asked for better ones. The police were the prosecutor's witnesses, and I poked holes in their testimony left and right. The case was far from an airtight acquittal, but I had more than enough reasonable doubt to win...

...except for my client. Who revealed on the stand that it was his fourth DUI - when, as far as anyone on the jury was concerned, it was his first. Then he couldn't keep his story straight on how he talked to the cop - opening the window vs cracking the door (makes a difference because the key would have had to be in the ignition for the windows to roll down.) And if I tried to rein him in, he went off on another tangent.

And this was all after refusing to plead to a stipulated first offense, which would have been fines and traffic school - instead, he torpedoed his own case, got convicted, got something like 60 days in jail and a ton of costs, and I got frustratingly close to a win.


"One of the kids..."

Lawyer here. I don't normally do litigation, but as a pro bono project (and for some experience doing a different kind of law), I served as guardian ad litem for these two kids stuck in a high-conflict child custody dispute. "Guardian ad litem" basically means that the court-appointed me to represent the kids whose parents are fighting over them (this is oversimplifying slightly). In other words, I didn't represent either parent, but both parents wanted me on "their side" since my opinion of the case would be influential with the judge.

It was a complete s*** show. Both parents were low income, basically living off of various forms of government assistance. Each had several other kids with other partners. The mom said that the dad sold drugs and that both kids were conceived via assault (and the dad was recently out of prison for sexual assault); the dad said that the mom is a prostitute who neglected the kids (and there were various reports from the kids' school that corroborated this). One of the kids (the sister) was super cute, but the other (the brother) called his sister a hoe in open court and said he hated her.

Luckily the parents agreed to a joint custody arrangement before it went to trial. This experienced confirmed for me 1000% that I do not want to be a litigator, especially in family court.


"The guy who told the judge..."

The guy who told the judge he was going to strangle me in front of jury if he didn't remove me from his case.



Client showed up drunk for a preliminary hearing on DWI. Had him wait in hall, told the judge he was out there. I didn't mention he was drunk. Somehow convinced the judge to continue prelim based on the total creative concoction. If he'd come in the judge would have locked him up for public intoxication and been hot at DWI sentencing. Maybe the judge remembered his pre-bench days just gave us a break.


"In the end..."

I was defending in a DUI case where the guy argued that the reason there was alcohol in his blood is that the cops used alcoholic hand sanitizers when arresting him and the alcohol was on his skin where the needle went... due to the ethical code of the bar association, I had to ask several questions about this from an expert witness who had 20 yrs of medical experience, the witness kind of understood why I had to ask these insane questions; nonetheless I felt like a moron.

In the end, I could still get a better sentence than his plea deal.


"Clients who keep breaching..."

Clients who keep breaching their restraining orders or mutual no-contact orders. I'm a family lawyer, so I'm not defending them when they're charged for it, but those charges then mess with their careers or get brought up later when we're trying to figure out parenting.


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