16 Lawyers Share the Details Clients Didn’t Bring up That Made Them Lose Cases

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I do not envy lawyers in the least bit. I’m friends with some people in that profession and it really sounds like a stressful job filled with drama and uncertainty.

But that’s what makes some people tick, so good for them for getting it done on a daily basis.

AskReddit users shared their stories about clients who left out very important details that ended up causing them to lose court cases.

Let’s take a look.

1. Now you tell me?

“Opposing counsel: Isn’t it true you hit Victim in the face with a brick?

Client: No. Marcus hit him with the brick. I hit him in the back with a piece of wood.”

2. Oh, that’s why…

“A buddy of mine case as a public defender. A gal was busted on drug charges, and told him she didn’t have any drugs on her when they arrested her. He thought, ok we’ll use that. Turns out, she didn’t have any drugs on her when they arrested her because she just sold them to an undercover cop.”

3. That is creepy.

“Lawyer in the UK. I acted for a member of a famous paedophile-hunting group. My client was charged with various offences relating to his vigilantism, most seriously, causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He wanted me to fight the case on a public interest defence point that is not available to him in statute or at common law contrary to my advice. I followed his instructions as I’m bound to do.

“If the state won’t punish pedophiles properly then it’s left to men like my client to take the law into their own hands!” – a horseshit argument for a whole host of reasons.

His laptop was seized by police and submitted for forensic examination. He had a staggeringly huge database of child pornography on it.

He himself was a massive pedo.”

4. Lack of remorse.

“Friend of mine is a defense attorney. He was representing a guy with a lengthy record for assault. Basically this guy took an A/C unit and threw it at his girlfriend. My buddy tells me he was able to get a plea deal for 1 year probation no jail time. The judge is all ready to accept the deal when he asks the defendant if he had anything he would like to say.

The defendant responds,” yea I don’t know why they charging me with assault I never touched her. I just threw and A/C at her. This is bullshit.” Judge rescinded plea deal because of defendants attitude/lack of remorse, went to trial and got a year in jail.”

5. Boggles my mind…

“Minor traffic cases can be the worst for this, believe it or not, because they are short and simple and often times the client isn’t there, so if you get blindsided by something critical there’s often no chance to consult with them to turn things around.

I had a simple speeding case, 70mph in a 55. No big deal, if she does a driving improvement course they court will usually dismiss or reduce those, since her driving record wasn’t bad.

When I showed up for her, I found out that she had been driving 70 up an unplowed snow lane, to get around all the others cars travelling in the lane that had been plowed because they were driving too slow. I didn’t know it was even possible to drive 70 on fresh snow. The officer stated he’d already cut her a break by not writing the ticket for reckless driving, and the judge politely agreed he didn’t feel comfortable reducing it under those circumstances. When I called her up after court to confirm, she did, claimed she’d just forgotten to mention it.

Now maybe I’ve lived too much of my life in the South, but that just boggles my mind as a detail you’d forget when hiring a lawyer for that incident. I would have told her in advance that hiring us was a waste of money, not to mention the hassle of taking an 8 hour class, and she should probably just go ahead and pay this one. I legitimately do that all the time during consults; give my honest assessment if the case is even worth doing, and so by omitting that detail she harmed herself for no reason. At least she took it well and didn’t get defensive.”

6. Forgot about that, huh?

“That he filmed his offenses for his youtube channel.

The cops didn’t even know, a witness brought it up on day three of a trial.

It was a nice quick change of plea that afternoon.”

7. What a creep.

“Custody case.

Client failed to tell me he was previously convicted of felony child abuse for breaking 16 bones in an infant’s body.”

8. You are negligent, sir.

“Case as a paralegal.

Negligence case, client argued that a lack of street lights and a cyclist he couldn’t see was responsible for him hitting a wire pole.

Upon discovery, the first respondent’s report indicated that they found the driver in the driver’s seat, pants down, with porn playing on the phone.

Wasn’t difficult to figure out who was negligent at that point.”

9. You can see where this is going…

“Guy in prison hired me to request a modification of his sentence because he was doing very well, completing a lot of optional programs, no rule violations, etc. He had his family come in and pay and everything to get started. I asked the family and the client if he had requested modification before, because the law said that for his conviction, he could only request modification twice for any one sentence, regardless of if they were granted or denied. Swore up and down he’d never filed before.

You can see where this is going. After spending a few hours going over records and preparing documents, a copy of the CCS (the case record basically) finally arrived. He’d personally filed for modification SIX TIMES since he was sentenced with handwritten pleadings that were all denied. So the one he hired me for was a waste of time and would never be considered at all.”

10. Too shocked to react.

“I’m a court appointed attorney for qualifying individuals in family matters.

Termination of parental rights case. Have been fighting to argue that parent is stable, working lawfully, has a suitable apartment, doesn’t need psychotropic meds anymore, ready to be a parent, etc. After a few months of negotiating with all the parties and Department of Children, Court services; we have a pre-trial to try and convince guardians.

I meet with my client before the hearing to see if anything changed. “nope, all good, let’s get my kids”. Great, that’s not happening today, but let’s try…

We get going in court. My client, who is super hot headed and quick to anger, gets riled up and goes off on the guardians. Screaming in open court. It doesn’t end there, but reveals 1. that no longer is working; 2. no longer in apartment, 3. doesn’t want to have a relationship with guardians despite her kids loving them, 4. won’t send her kids pictures of the toys they miss and can’t have; 5. plans on moving out of state 6. thinks they can live as a family off of state aide when she gets then back; AND is 4 months pregnant. All in the matter of 15 seconds, I was too shocked to even react. Speechless.

Not the image of stability and parental fitness I’ve been trying to paint since last July.”

11. The most ridiculous case…

“Not my client, but the son of the opposing party (and presumably the party himself) lied about being blind to make himself seem more sympathetic as a witness. We didn’t know either until he took the witness box, their counsel asked him to take the oath, and he picked the card up and read it.

That was the cherry on top of a series of ridiculous events. The judge dismissed the whole thing in our client’s favor shortly after. I was a trainee at the time, but my boss, who was in her late sixties then, said it was the most ridiculous case she’d ever handled.”

12. Meth is bad.

“I’m a public defender in an area with lots of meth use. Meth makes most people talk. A lot.

So I can’t tell you how many clients forget to mention that they got to the jail still high and called their mom/girlfriend/buddy on the recorded jail phone and not only confessed to the crime, but also brainstormed whatever alibi or version of events I’m relying on to defend them.”

13. We’re back together now.

“I wasn’t a lawyer in this role, but was a law clerk.

This was a typical divorce case. This particular jury trial was about splitting assets and who would get what. It was a long drawn out case that took about five days. Right before the closing arguments the attorneys wanted to talk to the judge, it seems as though a couple of days prior the couple decided to get back together, and instead of telling the judge and their lawyers, they just kept it a secret.

We heard four days of evidence, arguments, brought in experts such as land assessors, financial planning people and the like AND THEY WERE BACK TOGETHER.

One of the attorneys asked to be dismissed from the case immediately and walked out the courtroom, the judge had to dismiss the jury and the the couple was adamant that they didn’t think that them getting back together was a detail any of their attorneys needed to know.”

14. Need to prepare those clients.

“Credit card theft/fraud case. When I was a young lawyer back in the late 80’s I was trying this guy on a cc case and the witness was the department store clerk. Before video surveillance the state relied heavily on witness identification.

As she described the “customer” that was purchasing the very unique clothing her store sold I asked her how could she be so sure it was my client. She looked at my client who was wearing the most obnoxiously yellow shirt imaginable and said “because not only does he completely match the description I just gave you but he’s wearing the exact same shirt I sold him.” The jury convicted him and I learned that day to better prepare my clients for trial.”

15. Completely dumbfounded.

“I am actually a lawyer, but I was only watching this trial, not participating.

So the case was, that Woman A had hit Woman B in the head with a heavy beer pint at a bar, and Woman B got pretty serious injuries. The defense claimed that Woman A had not hit anyone with the pint, but instead had just thrown the pint into a random direction, and it happened to hit B in the head, thus it was an accident and not a battery. Well, the prosecution had a CCTV tape from the bar, and it was shown at the trial..

And the tape CLEARLY showed in HD as A walked behind B, and smashed the pint to her head so hard that the pint shattered on impact..

I looked at the defense lawyer and his jaw literally almost hit the table. The prosecutor also noticed this and asked something along: “Thrown, eh?” And the defense lawyer said that due to technical difficulties he couldn’t get the CCTV tape open on his computer when he was reviewing the evidence. Woman A was found guilty.

So yeah, I was completely dumbfounded.”

16. They need to know the good and the bad.

“Client said his ex owed him a lot of money and that she was trying to get out of paying him back by getting a protective order against him. Seemed reasonable so I took his case.

At the hearing it came out that they were never a couple, that he was sending sex toys to her residence on a weekly basis and that she never asked for the thousands of dollars he gave her over the years (stripper).

We lost, he got laughed out of court and he learned a valuable lesson: tell your lawyer the good AND the bad stuff before trial!”

Alright lawyers, we know you’re out there!

Has this ever happened to you?

Please share your stories with us in the comments!