Lawyers Share Their Craziest 'You Should Have Mentioned This Earlier' Experience

NOW a warning?!

Lawyers Share Their Craziest 'You Should Have Mentioned This Earlier' Experience
Image by Roland Steinmann from Pixabay

Why is it the two professionals we all tend to fib to most are our doctors and lawyers? These are the two people that need our truths the most, so that they can assist us in our dire situations. Maybe its shame or just pain stupidity? We as clients tend to be our own worst enemies, which makes our life and death situations that much more exhausting and arduous to overcome. Lawyers will tell you.... never have a surprise waiting for them! But do people listen? Read on to find out....

Redditor u/1CarefulOwner-NotMe was hoping lawyers reading along in the world would share some out their tales about certain clients by asking.... Solicitors/Lawyers; Whats the worst case of 'You should have mentioned this sooner' you've experienced?

The 44

jim carrey attorney GIFGiphy

My client was badly hurt in a car accident and promised me he was never hurt in one before.

He was actually "hurt" in 44 prior accidents, all of which he filed claims for, which is how I found out when the mediator showed me the defense's ISO report. The freaking look on my client's face. LMAO.


You just forgot?

Co-suspect was defended by another lawyer, who argued in his closing arguments that there should've been a police lineup during the investigation, since the suspects were brought into the station when the victim was still there.

Client turns to me and says that there had been a lineup and they were not identified. This was about 30 minutes after the alleged robbery. Nothing in the file suggests a negative police lineup. We do trials based on written statements by police, they are hardly ever in court to testify.

I mention what my client said in my closing arguments, the prosecutor's mouth drops and she becomes pale, hearing is suspended for further investigations.

Couple of weeks later, police officers are testifying in shame that they forgot to finish the report on the police lineup. Prosecutors case is thrown out for irreparable harm to the trial.


Listen to Jesus

Had a client charged with being a Convicted Felon in Possession of a handgun. She had been in a car that had gotten into a shootout on the interstate (in the middle of the night in a rural area at least). She was the passenger and her car pulled into the state trooper post in the county I practiced in. Her car was shot to hell so it was obvious something happened, but there was a gun in the car, she had a 30 year old felony theft conviction, so she was charged. She had some crazy story for what happened but it was obvious that it was a drug deal gone wrong, however that didn't matter for her charge really.

The discovery was really light, the driver of her car wasn't a convicted felon, and it didn't appear the state police had investigated the fact there was another car obviously shooting at my client even though the genesis of the shootout was just up the road in that same post's jurisdiction. Short of it was she had some legitimate defenses.

I had met with her multiple times, discussed her case in depth, and was preparing for trial. About two weeks from trial in passing she mentioned that a state trooper had interviewed her at the state police post, which was annoying because at this point the case was 7 or 8 months old.

So I look through the discovery again, don't see anything, but file a motion asking for any recordings of interviews. Sure enough the prosecutor was sitting on it, which is shady as hell, unethical, and common practice for that prosecutor office. I get the interview and all of four minutes in she tells the cop not only did she know the gun was in the car, but that she had been the one shooting. That pretty much killed every defense I had.

We had a come to Jesus talk the next day and she took her offer which was the minimum of five years to serve.


On Camera

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A person involved in a motor cycle accident, who sustained legitimate but not serious injuries, cctv showed the incident, they were very much not at fault.

They decided this was their big payday, claimed they could barely walk, had ptsd, serious back trouble, would never work again, the whole 9 yards.

They neglected to tell their lawyer they had been (i) working a manual labour job (ii) riding motorcycles again (iii) did a bungee jump.

All of which we caught on video/they documented via social media. They did not get the multi million pound settlement payment they expected and were pursued for fraud. It was a fun phone call after we sent the tape full of evidence.


Not Enough $$$

Had a guy with a DUI. Asked about any criminal history, he said no. So I started the paperwork for ARD for him (it's a first time offense program that seals the record and drops the charges once completed).

Get to the courthouse, talk to the DA, find out the guy had another DUI a year prior. Also was on probation from the first one still.

His excuse for not telling me was the first DUI was made up and he wasn't intoxicated, but pled guilty anyway. Unfortunately I ended up representing him for both bases, did not get paid nearly enough for the crap I went through, but I did manage to keep him out of jail so he could take care of his elderly mother. Made him give up his vehicles though.


So Pretty

Learned while my client was on the stand that she had "a little bit of a drug problem." She disclosed immediately after that she was going to fail the drug test the judge ordered because she had been a daily meth user for years. She was stunningly gorgeous, had held the same job for over 25 years, and was a rockstar mom to a kid with special needs. Unlike 90% of my clients, she was always on time, responsive, and did everything I asked.

To date the only high functioning meth user I've met. But heck that hearing would have gone quite differently had she mentioned that to me beforehand.

FYI, most of the time we can deal with bad facts. At the very least we can give you the advice you need to hear. But there isn't much I can do with surprise facts in the middle of a trial.


I'm sorry, other children?

I had a client on a family matter, we were in court and I was going on about how being a father was the most important thing in the world to him and his ex pipes up and says 'well, he never sees his other children!'

I'm sorry, other children?

That being said, many clients leave out embarrassing things until they get called out on them. Please tell your lawyers all the facts. We've literally heard everything and really don't care. Just let me prepare to explain that your weekend habits of drugs and sex dungeons doesn't effect your ability to parent.


Where to Begin?

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As a solicitor, one of the most annoying things I've had happen was, after an hour-long consultation with an older couple about changing the husband's will, the wife hands me a letter from his doctor which says the husband has dementia and does not have capacity to sign medical documents.

Like, you didn't think that was a good place to start?


"that's not me"

Ok, here we go. defending a lady in a simple neighbor dispute. neighbors said she assaulted them with a hose and threatened their kids, case was pretty weak bc my client was an old lady and she adamantly denied everything. anyways, it's just a small evidentiary hearing in front of the judge so there was no discovery ahead of time or anything like that. anyways, my client is on the stand, come to find out they have video footage of her smearing dog poop on their house.

Then printing out photos of their kids and writing racial slurs on them (family was Jewish), and covering her house with racist signs (like, papering her entire house). needless to say my jaw dropped. client then perjured herself on the stand-they play a video where it's obviously her, but she repeats "that's not me" over and over. most painful court moment of my life.


Show me the Money!!

money run GIF by Juan BillyGiphy

Divorce client came into my lobby one morning, panicked. She starts screaming about how the money was missing.

What money? I asked her. Apparently her and her soon to be ex didn't believe in banks, as they kept a suitcase with close to $100k in a safe in their bedroom closet. One morning she saw the safe was open and the money was all gone.

Y'all have no idea how hard it is to trace and prove the existence of that much money in loose 100s, 50s, and 20s is. Cost her several grand in fees alone for how much work went into finding it. When if she had just told us about it we could have placed it into a trust account pending the divorce.


Rest my Case

Spent several hours zealously arguing that my client was severely disabled and couldn't work due to a back injury. It was so bad that the poor dude couldn't even sit in a chair throughout the entire proceedings. Rest my case. Opposing counsel calls in a DEC representative who proceeds to produce record after record of my client's deer hunting activities. He sat in a tree, in freezing weather, for many hours, shot and killed multiple deer, and transported their carcasses out of the woods all on his own. SMH.


is it real?

In-house attorney here but I interned for a judge at our court of common pleas during law school. There was a case of a guy that asked two early 20 girls a ride from the mall to a gas station. He told them he would pay them cash for the trip.

During that trip, he sat in the back seat and had advised that he had a pellet gun that closely resembled a hand gun. He said he had only pulled it out to show the girls but never did anything further. That had been his testimony during all the proceedings.

He willingly takes the stand and the prosecutor is questioning him about the gun and how he handled it. This dude willingly admits that he held it to the passengers temple threatening to shoot her with what she believed to be a real gun. He also corrected the prosecutor during questioning telling him that he never stated it wasn't a real hand gun.

That jury verdict came about as fast as one could.


Not Sorry

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Special Ed case. School district was supposed to be providing services to the child in the home.

Clients told us the school district had never sent anyone to provide the services, they hadn't heard from anyone in the district about scheduling, etc. Brought this up during a pre-hearing conference with judge and opposing counsel. After the conference, opposing counsel sends me pages of affidavits and documentation of all the times the school district employees went to the house and were refused entry by my clients for various reasons (or clients just didn't answer the door when they were clearly home). Clients had no explanation about why they lied to me. They fired us shortly after and I was not sad.


Nobody Wins

My cousin was the moron client. He and his second wife are divorcing and she wants full custody of the kids, no visitation, just lots of child support. He's willing to a 50-50 split (at first) and finds an attorney for the case. They're going over everything when he casually mentions how the mom drugs them literally every night so they sleep and she can go out to the bars while he works the night shift. Cousin thought this was his smoking gun to beat her in the custody battle.

Attorney had to explain that, no you can't tell this to the judge or that you've known she's been doing this for years. You'll both lose the kids and they'll go to state custody. Both of them are petty incompetent and as you can imagine we don't interact with that side of the family much (this has all been retold to me by other relatives. So don't worry, cps WAS informed of all of this, I do not know the out come yet, I'd have to ask).


All she had to do....

There was a temporary order of protection in place, and we went to court on the lengthier Order of Protection. I talked strategy with my client the night before, but unbeknownst to me she reconciled with her abusive dirtbag baby daddy. I had 3 OP hearings that morning, and did not get a chance to talk to her until ~3 minutes beforehand.

We had the wrong judge. I knew as soon as she told me she was going to be arrested for violating the temporary order.

Sure enough, they both got a week of jail and I had to watch their 3 week old child for a few minutes before a bailiff carted her off to God knows where.

They both got fired for missing a week of work. They couldn't get the kid out of the system. Evicted, homeless, the whole nine yards. All she had to do was tell me they got back together. All she had to do.


Oh Karen

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Paralegal for insurance defense. One of my first cases, I was completing discovery with a very young client (barely 18). She claimed the city bus rear ended her when she was slowing to make a turn.

Then he got out of the bus yelling at her and screaming expletives. We submitted these responses. We come to find out months later there is actually video on the city bus (of course) of her trying to make an illegal u-turn and ramming herself into the side of the bus. Then SHE got out of the car and started screaming at the bus driver, who stayed silent in his bus. The video also caught her on her phone. Not the smartest person I've met.


"mention it sooner" 

With some clients, "mention it sooner" means "I never mention anything that might hurt my case." Like the case I recently had where I sued an electrical contractor based on their assertion that they had paid the guy to replace a box and he had left them with half their lights not working. What they didn't tell me is that they had an illegally installed secondary box doglegged off the first box that was controlling those lights and he had to disconnect that box because it presented a massive danger and code violation. Then they didn't want to pay him to correct the second box.

I've have plenty of cases some important fact was left out. That's why when I take notes from a client, I have them sign at the bottom that I did not leave anything out.

I had a persistent felony offender early in my career who told me this sob story about how she had lost her baby and it drove her back into drugs and breaking the law. I asked her about it during sentencing. The prosecutor gets up and he is familiar with her. He leads with "Are you still using the baby you killed 14 years ago as a crutch for your bad decisions?"



Criminal defense (Canada). Talked to a client in cells. Said that she was hanging out at her baby daddy's and then, as she was leaving, the cops came and harassed her, so she resisted, and that is why she is in jail.

Turns out she was getting aggressive with him and he kept trying to get away from her. He ended up calling the police. While he was on the phone with the police she starts beating him up. The police hear this and immediately respond.

She was trying to flee the scene after beating her man up while he was on the phone with the cops because he was attempting to passively solve the issue, but she wouldn't leave. Luckily she has no record, but, man, I felt bamboozled. I learned a healthy dose of skepticism whenever people told me things from there on out.

Ya gotta love it.


"Love Child"

my cousin vinny GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy

My father was handling a case of his friends family, about a property that this friend and his brothers and sister inherited. Horrible mess as you can imagine, deeply conflicted family.

After few years on one of the court hearing one brother mentioned a name, that never appeared during the entire lawsuit. Turns out there was one more brother, that they all decided to not mention, because he was "a black sheep" of the family. Years of tiring work went down the drain. From what I understand my father (who was doing it all for free, because he "owed him") got into argument with this friend,they never spoke to each other again and guy found a new lawyer.


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