The law can be very dramatic. Courtroom fighting has turned into some of our best reality shows... thank you OJ.... and lawyers are basically the Meryl Streeps of the courtroom drama. When a lawyer finishes their argument to hand off to the jury, it's a great moment.
Reddior u/NotGonnaRage wanted lawyers to speak up about the drama by asking.... Lawyers of Reddit, what's your best most badass "I rest my case" moment?
Pain in the Neck....Giphy
I was representing a woman with a severe neck injury. Opposing counsel presented a test result that showed her cervical exam was normal. I felt almost bad when I pointed out he had the wrong cervical area in mind. FlintBlue
The Age Thing.
As a young attorney, I had stated a claim that an insurance company was dragging out a case in bad faith, in hopes that my elderly client would die before they had to pay him. I was requesting that the trial date be given priority due to my client's advanced age. The judge was no spring chicken himself, and seemed skeptical when he asked exactly how old my client was, maybe thinking that he was in his 70s and must merely seem ancient to a baby lawyer like me.
When I responded that my client was 92, and the case has already gone on for 5 years, the judge was visibly shocked, and immediately granted my motion for priority, shutting down the insurance company's attorney's attempt to respond. They wrote us a check for a million dollars the next week. DigitalMindShadow
Sack of Crap.
So I call up my client's disgruntled former employee about a contract dispute that he started and that got my client into litigation. After two questions, it was obvious he was a lying idiot. I didn't want to call him as a witness; he was prone to act unpredictably. I took down his story as we talked, which was easily proven false by documents and which cast my client in a false and bad light. I did not tell him how I'd caught him in lies.
Fast forward one day: I submit a list of known witnesses to opposing counsel, as required by the rules. Witness number one was the lying sack of crap.
Fast forward to trial: My opposing counsel calls the lying sack of crap as his first witness and the lying sack of crap acts like a lying sack of crap. He tells the same story on the witness stand that he told me on the phone. I took emails that he wrote and entered them into evidence and proved him a clear liar. My client didn't breach the contract, the party suing did.
After the lying sack of crap left the witness stand, I asked the court for a brief recess -- granted. I approached opposing counsel. My client was still willing to sign on to the walk-away settlement where no money changes hands and no fault was admitted. We offered the deal two months before and it was angrily rejected. Now, suddenly, it was accepted. very_large_ears
My sister got t-boned by a car, causing a concussion when I was younger. Long story short, we were in court with the judge, who asked the driver if he had ever sped before.
"No, your honor, I never speed" was his reply.
The judge asked him a couple more times if he was sure, if he never sped. Ever? The driver was adamant that he never sped and never had before.
A few minutes later, my sister's lawyer gave the judge some paperwork. She read it, and said to the driver, "It seems that you have some past driving violations. Can you tell me what they are for?"
The driver had to pay medical bills for my sister. JugglingBear
Do I know you?Giphy
Guy in a divorce case transferred money to the "Equity Preservation Corporation." I looked at the corporate filing; there were only two shareholders. Knowing who they were, I asked on cross examination. He denied knowing them. I then asked about them by name. He admitted they were his parents. wasabiverse
The Crazy Judge.
I'm relatively junior so I'm hoping to beat this one day. I defend professionals and brought a motion to dismiss a case on the basis that the plaintiff could not prove my client was negligent as she had not served the required expert evidence.
As opposing counsel and I waited for our motion to be heard we were sitting in the courtroom. The judge, who I did not know and who had not read our materials, wanted to talk to the parties of a short trial which was to be heard after our motion was argued. That matter was also a professional negligence matter and the plaintiffs had no expert support.
The judge then spent 10 minutes explaining that he had practiced in professional negligence for many years and was well versed in the evidentiary requirements to prove the elements of professional negligence. In fact, he said, "I very rarely use the word impossible in this court room, but it is impossible for you to be successful without expert evidence."
Our matter was then called and I reveled in explaining to the judge that he was about to hear a motion to dismiss a professional negligence case on the basis that the plaintiff had no expert evidence.
I won. sudzthegreat
I represented a company that was sued for breach of contract by a former independent contractor. Dude basically alleged that my client wasn't paying him correctly in accordance with the contract.
During his deposition, dude admits that he never reviewed any documents to make sure his allegations were true, never reviewed his complaint before filing it to make sure the allegations in it were true, and had no idea whether or not my client actually failed to pay him in accordance with the contract.
Basically, he tells me that he was suing my client because he didn't think their agreement was fair (even though he agreed to the terms when he signed the contract). The kicker is that he admitted that he OWED my client money.
At arbitration, he tries to flip his story and starts giving testimony that is the exact opposite of his dep, so I whip out his transcript and undermine his testimony bit by bit. Needless to say, I won that case. ellewoodswannabe16
Corporate lawyer, so I don't have cases to rest. But once opposing counsel was forcefully insisting that it was ridiculous for me to expect a certain provision in a contract we were negotiating, and I pointed out that this provision was standard in his own firm's contract forms, as I knew from several prior transactions I'd worked on across from them. Pretty exciting stuff.
He took it in stride and said (jokingly), "Well, of course it's fine when we ask for it." -Zev-
Not a 'case winning' moment, but a 'motion winning' one for sure (think of cases like a big conflict, with motion hearings as little conflicts).
Opposing attorney was insisting that 'Rule A' meant they could do X. I tried, multiple times, to point out 'Rule A' literally did not say that.
During the hearing, the judge reached behind them, grabbed their 'Rules of Civil Procedure' (basically a dictionary of rules), placed it in front of the other attorney, and said "Show me where Rule A says X."
Other attorney did not take the hint, read rules out loud for a brutal 5 minutes, and gave the book back. I said "Judge I have nothing to add." It was pretty fun. MeowSchwitzInThere
Opposing counsel decided that I had coached my witness and gave him lines to repeat, that he was lying. Short version is that he asked the witness if he spoke to me before he testified. Witness said he had. Attorney looked like he thought he had me. Attorney asked the witness what I told him, what instructions I gave him.
Witness looked him dead in the eye and said, "First thing he told me was to tell the truth no matter what. He said the lawyer is never the one who goes to jail, that he isn't going to jail for me, and if I lie, I'm on my own." Attorney looked like someone took the air out of him. Everyone in the courtroom simultaneously looked at me. Only time I've smirked or laughed in court. I wanted to put my feet up on the table like I was Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, hands behind my head, and say, "I'm done with this guy." Reptar4President
Whose the Fool?
I was on the losing end. Represented a guy who had bought a company and the company failed spectacularly within months due to a number of reasons I could attribute to the seller, and they had clearly lied about the company's finances to induce him to buy. I was suing to rescind the deal, have your company back and give my guy his money back. I laid out my huge case and thought I had it in the bag, and then opposing counsel asked my guy:
"Isn't it true that you listed this business for sale a month ago" "Yes" "And you did sell it correct? You signed a purchase and sale?" "Yes but he never finished paying me, he has more payments to make. I'll just give his money back when you guys give me my money back"
My idiot client had me suing over a company that he had legally sold. Fool never told me. Game over on the spot. ElvisAaron
When I was in law school, I had to argue a case for an exam. I was the last in my class to go so there wasn't anyone arguing against me. I opened with a motion to dismiss since opposing had failed to show. The judge grading me chuckled and said "touche counsel." I still had to go forward but we got off on the right foot and I ended up with an A. Dr_Julian_Helisent
A lawyer friend of mine had written a blog post about a legal subject.
Opposing counsel filed a motion (again, as others pointed out, this is like the small "battles" which are part of the overall "war" of the lawsuit) in which they had to cite their reasoning for their arguments. In this particular motion they chose to dig through the website of my friend where they found that blog post which they chose to cite in their own arguments.
Basically, they were going for an "Aha!" moment. "You can't argue against us because you yourself once wrote something which we think agrees with our point of view!"
Rather than dispute the nitty gritty details of their argument, my attorney friend simply responded with something along the lines of "I am honored to be cited as an expert in this area by my esteemed opposing counsel. Now, as their chosen expert, let me tell you what the law means and why they are wrong..." It was glorious.
They very quickly revised their argument. geekgreg
I was prosecuting some kid. He had an 'anti-social behavior order,' which meant that he was not supposed to go to a certain street. He had pleaded not guilty on the basis that he had not been there.
I opened my cross examination by holding up a map and pointing at the street. I said to him "you went here, didn't you?" He said "yes."
In England, we don't say "I rest my case." Instead I looked up at the bench, said "no further questions," and sat down.
It might not seem cool, but I got the defendant to admit the offense with one question. That never happens! unemployabler
Defendant in a bench trial for a speeding ticket said he couldn't possibly go as fast as the officer clocked him. He knew this because he video taped himself accelerating from a full stop to the location of where the officer sat. His experiment showed his vehicle could only get to 55mph and not the 67 mph he was clocked at. The ADA then moved to have another speeding ticket issued because the actual posted speed limit was 50mph. Frequentmusic
This one was so solid, it never even got to become a case. I once had a client who was an office assistant. The doctor she worked for trapped her in the copy room, grabbed her breast, and kissed her while she fought him off. Two nurses witnessed it as they came around the corner. She didn't return to work, and then called me for the sexual harassment claim. Investigation showed that the Doc had done this THREE TIMES BEFORE and was on his third wife because of this behavior.
I wrote a letter laying out the claim and asking for two years' salary plus $20k as a demand ($85k all in). I gave the doc three days to respond. On day three I got a call from the Doc telling me to go screw myself. I ended the call by saying "I know you've done this before, and I wouldn't want to be you when your wife finds out about this lawsuit. You're bringing this on yourself." A half hour later, literally as I was drafting the complaint to initiate the lawsuit, I get a return call from Doc saying "come get your money." It was beautiful. just-a-phase
IP lawyer - deep in a set of terms and conditions on a website, our client's details (name and contact details) where listed. So it is very evident that they just copy pasted our client's legal terms and conditions and missed a couple of details they needed to change.
I was handed the matter, did a quick ctrl+F for client details, and it was an open and shut case.
Not really that impressive, but saved me hours of time going through each term one after the other, noting exact similarities for a letter of demand. AnAussiebum
I'm Movin' on up!Giphy
It wasn't at trial, though we had one of those and I won it easily. Just always stuck with me because of how clearly the law supported my position to the point that it was inarguable otherwise (and also because of how ridiculous the claim of monetary damages was).
Guy moved out of his apartment, turned in his keys, then came back fifteen days later demanding access so that he could retrieve belongings that he had left behind which at that point had been trashed. It was just some minor furniture-type items (lamp shade is the only thing I clearly remember) and a box of his college notebooks (i.e. notes he took during class). He is furious and sues the landlord in small claims for $5,000 (state maximum) because his notebooks have such huge value apparently.
They hire me and I respond which moves the case out of small claims (it's just the way it works here after time in r/legaladvice I know this is not the case for every state but our rule is better than yours, but enough aside). This puts him at a huge disadvantage because now he can't rely on the lax rules of small claims so he goes out and hires a lawyer. The lawyer calls me to try to talk settlement, I know her pretty well so I wasn't rude or anything, but I kind of scoffed and was like no that won't be happening and direct her attention to a particular state statute then read it out loud to her.
This statute unlike everything else in the law isn't overly long or wordy or hard to follow, it just says bluntly that when someone actually moves out and gives notice of this, items left after ten days are abandoned, period, end of story. I could feel her deflate on the phone and encouraged her to dismiss the suit. She did not, we proceeded to a short bench trial in district court that we won. justsomeguynbd
Under His Eye.Giphy
Attorney in southern California.
Client charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance. Officer is going through the usual signs and symptoms. Cop testifies that both of client's eyes were red and bloodshot. Testifies that both pupils were dilated and moved slightly to exposure of light.
In my opening I had hinted that the officer will testify to some falsehoods. Client gets up on the stand and pops one of his eyes out. Client had a fake eye that could obviously not be bloodshot or have pupil dilation.
Not guilty. zealousdumptruck