14 Lawyers Share The Very Worst Cases Of Their Careers

There are a hundred different kinds of lawyers, and while some of them get into it for the money or niche interest, I have to believe that at least some of them get into it because they want to help people.

These 14 lawyers probably spend at least a little bit of time re-thinking their choices after these fairly shocking cases – which were likely not at all what they expected when they graduated from school.

14. Nope. Don’t like that.

Neighbor is a retired prosecuting attorney. Told me about a sex trafficking case involving girls in their early-mid teens. Their pimp bought them a puppy that they got attached to and all took care of together.

Whenever they fell out of line, the pimp would send videos of himself abusing the puppy and threaten to kill it if they didn’t obey.

13. Uncomfortable to say the least.

We had a school excursion to our country’s seat of government and we also visited the court. You know, general how does our government and law stuff works. Well, the group was split over two court cases. One group had a somewhat wacky one involving a minor accident (I think). Small stuff. You know what we got? Two daughters suing their father for sexual misconduct and rape when they were minors.


We got to hear his side of him describing certain acts in such a way that they may or may not be sexual and such. It was, well, uncomfortable to say the least.

We actually got asked to leave, and this is highly unusual. I’m sure this is true in the US as well, but cases not involving minors are open to the general public and since the women were adults now the case was public (and was how we got in). So, we actually got requested to leave, because, well, having to testify about such a difficult event while one or two strangers sit in is one thing. Having over 50 16-17 year olds gawk at you, though, is likely going to hit a little differently.

So, yeah, we left, and trust me when I say no one had any objection to it. No one wanted us there, including us. The wait on the other group was long and boring, but man, I much much much rather be bored than having to listen to another minute of that case or something similar.

12. That poor woman.

Not a lawyer, but a translator. I once translated this text about a case, basically this mother’s kid set her house on fire whilst she left the USA to china to cremate her husband who died of terminal cancer.

The kid literally burned everything. All her life savings. Then the daughter went on to tell lies to all her family members in china saying how the mother is just accusing her. Was rough translating especially because the mother left to the USA in the 1990s.

Worked her a$$ off. Only to let her husband suffer years of cancer and her daughter to burn her house down.

11. Oh my god.

Not a lawyer but my Aunt was.

She was the state prosecutor for a case where a guy had gotten into an argument with another guy at a recreational baseball game.

After the game was over one guy left and went home. The other guy stayed at the baseball field with his son.

About like 30min to an hour later they are still at the baseball field and the other guy is back. He has a baseball bat and walks straight towards the dad at the pitching mound and starts hitting him over the head with the bat until hes unrecognizable. Kid frozen in terror while this guy murders his dad. He then walk over to the kid and does the same thing to him.

My Aunt was amazing at her job and got the guy sentenced to life in prison.

She lost her battle to cancer a few months ago. I loved listening to her stories. She was the best Aunt a guy could ask for.

10. A joke, indeed.

Look up “Ellen Greenberg Death Philadelphia.” I’ve seen robberies, assaults, child rapes, you name it. But nothing scares me like the failures of the system like this.

Basically this woman was stabbed twenty times, including ten times in the back of the neck and into the skull, into her brain. When the body was found the knife was in her chest. Which means she was stabbed in the brain prior to being stabbed in the chest.

The police convinced the medical examiner to determine the case a suicide because the door was latched from the inside when the body was found.

But here’s the kicker. The only person who told the police that the door was latched when they found the body (when the police arrived the door was open and the body was already “discovered”), was the FIANCE. You know, the person who in any other investigation anywhere would be the prime suspect.

So basically the cops took the word of the person who should be the prime suspect to determine that this woman who was stabbed twenty times, including from behind into her brain, committed suicide.

What a joke. It’s like seeing news stories about journalists critical of Putin committing suicide by shooting themselves twice in the back of the head and throwing themselves out the window.

9. Just incidental.

There were cases in the UK during the Falklands war in the 80s where the government claimed bullet wounds and lost limbs due to minefields were “incidental” injuries and not related to the fighting.

Like people just randomly generate holes in their chests and limbs fly off during birthday parties etc.

The government’s own records showed they were “buying time” in order that the claimants would hopefully die of their injuries and the cases could be shut down.

8. Unjust and sad.

I’m an interpreter not an attorney, but I had a school case to interpret regarding bullying. The school decided to have a court case decision made in house. It was 12 kids and their parents on a stage in the cafeteria.

The school officials were there and a school advocate who acted as judge. Apparently the seniors would trap the freshmen in a designated bathroom after lunch and jump them. Four seniors and eight freshman who were beat up individually, there were supposed to be nine but one was in the hospital.

They showed surveillance of how the seniors picked the freshmen to beat up and there were 2 teachers aware of this, in one of the videos one of the teachers helped the seniors by pointing out who the freshmen were. This was a hazing technique that was going on in this school for years but this case was to make an example of those involved.

The teachers involved were only mentioned when the bullies admitted receiving assistance in pointing out who to beat up, the teachers never got in trouble. Only one bully was expelled and all the freshmen were suspended.

It was unjust and sad. This case went on for 3 days and each case lasted 3 to 5 hours after school.

7. The cost of a life.

Slayer statute, interpleader case in federal court. Client murdered her husband to collect insurance proceeds. Found out that she promised to pay 2 dudes to bind his hands and feet with duct tape, execute him, and burn him in an alley, for $20k each, to be payed out of the insurance funds.

She lost.

6. Good luck clerk.

I was an intern at the time for the public defender’s office and witnessed a pretty good one.

Two guys walk into a liquor store, one of them is packing a revolver. They shove around the old store clerk and get him to open up the registers. After looting all the cash, the robbers walk out of the store to their car. The store clerk (who I think was also the owner) then goes to get his gun and makes chase. He manages to pop off a few shots at the robbers as they wheel away with great haste.

Now, there were two cops in the same shopping center (they were responding to a stabbing at a nearby AA meeting) and they hear the gun shots and see a car speeding away. As they turn the corner they see the old man with firearm in hand pointing down the road after the car. They yell an order to, “Freeze! Put down your weapon!” or something to that effect. The old man makes the mistake of turning before putting down the gun, so the cops then open fire.

The clerk is shot three times by the cops, but fortunately not fatally. Two to the torso and one that takes off his trigger finger (good shot I guess?) The robbers later crash a few blocks down the road, as the clerk was also a pretty good shot and managed to hit the getaway driver in the leg, causing him to pass out at the wheel due to blood loss.

5. So inappropriate.

A labor case in which, in the middle of the hearing the judge (60 years old male) start to flirt with my client (23 years old female) in a direct, straightforward way.

It was SO shocking that was one of the only cases I got speechless in a trial. Those hearings are closed here in Brazil so no jury, no recording, nothing.

4. I hate people sometimes.

Not a lawyer but I work for the DA in my area. Part of my job is digitizing old evidence.

Animal abuse is never fun.

Baby autopsies for shaken baby cases are pretty gruesome.

The worst was definitely the 15 year old rape victim who was left to rot in a field for 3-4 months before they found her. I had to make sure all those crime scene and autopsy photos are scanned in properly too. Can’t have them too blurry or miss one.

Close second is the father that beat his teen daughter half to death with an extension cord who had the family rally around him and pony up the bail immediately after arraignment. They didn’t give a s*%t about the girl.

3. Proof of neglect.

I got plenty because I work in child protection, but in appeals so I don’t see the worst of the worst. Important for this is that in my jurisdiction a lot of the lawyers who defend parents are contract attorneys who get paid very little and don’t always follow best practices. A lot of what we see are arguments based off the transcript without reference to the trial exhibits (I recently learned that this is common practice in criminal appeals, but in severance the exhibits are usually pretty crucial).

Got an opening brief in saying that mom didn’t actually neglect the kids, pretty standard OB stuff. Mom got pulled over for expired tags. Kids are in the car. Cops end up searching (I forget the reason, not important), find meth and a pipe. Still pretty standard.

During the stop and arrest, cops pull the kids out of the car and find that 2-year-old daughter has a rather old diaper on. When they go to change her, they find what the examining doctor later called the worst case of diaper rash he’d ever seen.

But there were pictures. I can’t say it was anything less than jungle rot. On a toddler’s genitals. No person who saw that could say the child wasn’t neglected.

Needless to say, I cited to those pictures very liberally in my answering brief. Severance was affirmed.

2. A sad story.

I was defending a guy who was charged with theft of property and breaking and entering. The DA offered a plea deal of 18 months in prison. He said he couldn’t be away from his family for 18 month.

Guy had some priors and trial could cost him to be gone away a lot longer but he insisted on taking it to trial. We strike a jury and he comes to the first day if trial. Surprisingly the DA was still offering the 18 months right before trial started. The evidence against him was overwhelming. I told him so, but he wanted to take it to trial.

We get through the first day and on the second day he doesn’t show up. The judge said to finish the trial without him, to which I argued against but we still had it. The jury found him guilty and the swore out a warrant for him. Later on that day I I found out he hunt himself overnight. He just couldn’t stand to be away from his family for 18 months.

That messed me up for a little while.

Yes hanged himself.

1. He can handle it.

Client paid a multi-million dollar settlement with a hand-written personal check. He was pissed and refused to do a wire transfer like a normal person. I think the other side had to scramble to find a bank to deposit the check. Banking regulations limit how much money a bank can hold on deposit.

You just can’t take a check that large to any local bank. The check eventually cleared, so I guess they figured it out. Good times…. That case will be on my resume for sure.

These would make anyone rethink their life choices, I swear.

If you’re a lawyer, share your own nightmare case with us in the comments!