Lawyers share their wildest client stories – Some are almost unbelievable


Jun. 4 2024, Published 9:52 p.m. ET

In the world of law, every case brings its own set of challenges. But sometimes, clients themselves become the biggest obstacles to their own success. Recently, a Reddit thread asked lawyers to share the most ridiculous things their clients had done to ruin their own cases. The responses were as astonishing as they were entertaining.

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One user, Youasking, shared an almost unbelievable story about a workers' compensation case gone wrong. "We tell him to stay off social media. No problem, he doesnt use social media. At trial, he tells the Judge he used to be a Spin Class Instructor, but since the accident, he cannot teach classes anymore." It seemed straightforward until it was revealed that the client had posted his full teaching schedule on Facebook. The insurance company had hours of footage showing him vigorously teaching spin classes after his supposed injury. "His potentially very lucrative claim, was quickly changed to a fraud claim against him."

Shoddy-Reception2823 had a tale of a client who faked a workplace injury only to blow his cover spectacularly. "We had a guy claim he dropped a pallet on his foot and broke it during work. Ok, he goes to the doc and gets a cast. Five days later he calls in that he got the cast wet and had to cut it off. Gets a new one. Five days later it was too tight and he cut it off again." Despite these efforts to maintain his ruse, a private investigator caught him on video putting up a chain-link fence in sandals. This video was all the evidence needed to expose his fraudulent claim, leading him to skip town to avoid consequences.

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Source: Photo by Lombe K

"You actually wore that to court?!" - This lawyer, probably.

Another jaw-dropping story came from bclinger, who recounted a defendant's unbelievable court attire choice. " I was on a jury where the defendant showed up in court day 1 wearing the same exact outfit as the “unknown suspect” in the video of the crime." Instead of a trial, there was a plea deal done in a few minutes. "Wild," bclinger concluded.

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AliMcGraw provided a story about a wealthy client's son whose actions in court were nothing short of disastrous. "The son shambled into the courtroom stoned off his ass, and loudly attempted to buy drugs off the bailiff." The judge and jury were unimpressed, and any potential leniency evaporated instantly. His lack of self-control cost him dearly, both in terms of legal outcomes and family reputation. "There wasn't a lot the lawyers could do after that."

Perhaps one of the most astonishing stories was shared by dixiedemocrat, who recounted a defendant's misguided belief in their legal knowledge. "With the utmost certainty in his voice, he yelled at the arresting officer that ‘It’s not domestic violence; I’m on public property!’" The defendant's confidence in this erroneous legal defense was laughable, and revealed a shocking lack of understanding about the law. The officer quickly disabused him of his belief as he took him into custody.

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These defendants are making things too easy.

cacotopic shared why they beg clients not to testify, especially when they have a solid defense without them. "I think some clients believe they'll be rewarded for being open and honest with the jury, so they 'come clean' on the stand," they explained. In one DUI case, their client, completely unprompted, blurted out, "In retrospect, I probably had a few too many beers." After testifying, the client returned to his seat and whispered, "So how did I do?" It left the lawyer utterly speechless.

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Another wild story from Hairofthedowndog involved a trial where a defendant made things worse by taking the stand. " Defendant 3’s attorney did a very good job of painting her as the victim of abuse. Her attorney had us feeling sorry for this poor, unintelligent, woman that had been groomed since she was 16 by a man 20 years her senior." However, under cross-examination, she became argumentative and was caught in multiple lies. Her own testimony ended up proving she was heavily involved in the crime, if not the mastermind. This turned what could have been a sympathetic case into a clear guilty verdict.

Shile often humorous and sometimes astonishing, these stories underline the importance of client cooperation and honesty in legal proceedings. They serve as a reminder that sometimes, the biggest challenges in a case come not from the opposing counsel, but from the clients themselves.

This article was written with assistance from artificial intelligence. Megaphone creates content primarily driven by people but aims for full transparency in how our storytelling is produced. To learn more about our policy on artificial intelligence, click here.


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