Most of the time, we’re happy when we win. We feel good about our accomplishment, we receive praise from others, and we might even make money. The same goes for lawyers–winning is the goal, right?
Well, yes, but winning doesn’t always make lawyers feel good.
You see, lawyers deal with messy situations and messy people. Sometimes their clients terrible human beings; sometimes the case requires them to keep benefits away from a deserving man, or represent people who they know are lying. It’s complicated.
Read on as lawyers explain the cases they actually regret winning.
44. A Very Big Problem
A woman wanted custody of her daughter. We used the state preference about custody going to the mother (judge bias), her improved economic situation, and some minor garbage like her grades and discipline problems at school to discredit the dad. Not even a month after we won the mother calls and says she had a “problem.”
She then explains the ”problem” was that her boyfriend abused the girl and after that, she had the gall to ask if we pick up HIS defense. One of the things that made me quit to government work.
43. Don’t Punish A Dog Because Of Your Failed Marriage
Family law is a little different in that you never really “win” per se. You may get more favorable rulings or better terms, but unless the opposing party did something illegal or mindbogglingly stupid it’s never a decisive “win” really.
Although I did have a case where my client fought really hard for the dog, and then ended up turning him over to a shelter. The ex-wife received an “anonymous” tip and was able to get him back quickly.
42. Well, Good Luck
I don’t practice criminal defense, but early in my career, another partner asked me to help out a client’s son with a simple speeding ticket. Well turns out it was the kid’s second or third speeding ticket that year and was for 25+ over. The kid’s license was about to be yanked but we somehow worked a deal with the prosecutor to get the kid supervision and keep his license. I told the kid to take it easy and let some time pass before he decided to risk any further citations. The kid’s dad was thrilled.
Eight months later I get a call from the kid’s father asking if I handle federal criminal matters–specifically bank robbery cases. I nearly fell out of my chair. Apparently this kid, with his preserved license, decided to volunteer to be the wheelman when his jerk high school friend tried to rob a bank branch inside a suburban grocery store. I wished him the best of luck and sent him on his way.
41. Never Asking Again
I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 30 years. I have tried over 100 cases and 20 capital cases. I had a case very early in my career where I hung the jury on the first trial. I got him acquitted on the second trial. I was able to get him a bond between trials.
As we left the courthouse, he was walking one way and I was walking another. I yelled back and asked, “You shot that guy, didn’t you?” He said “ yep “ and laughed. I have never asked since. It bothered me for quite a while.
40. Pretty Heartbreaking
I was representing the government at a social benefits tribunal. The applicant was an autistic man who was struggling to make ends meet but was trying his absolute best to contribute everything he could to society. He had a job where his manager was very accommodating and he was a very sympathetic person. He just wanted the extra cash to make his life a little easier for himself. Sadly, he didn’t qualify for the benefit, but I think he deserved it.
My closing argument was that no matter how much we empathized with this man, no matter how deserving we thought he was, he simply didn’t qualify and the tribunal had to apply the law. He was unsuccessful and when I left the building to head back to my office he was just sitting outside on the curb crying. That image has stuck with me for a few years. Pretty heartbreaking.
39. Money Does Horrible Things To People
We settled a case for several million dollars for a girl whose father committed suicide. The mother (who was divorced from the father) tried every way possible to get the money, but it was placed into a blocked account until the girl turned 18.
The DAY she turned 18, her mom told her they were going to transfer the money to a “better account.” Mom transferred it to her own account and fled the country WITHOUT the daughter. Screwed her own kid over for money, and essentially made her kid an orphan. Money does horrible things to people.
38. Not Really A Good Guy
I worked in criminal defense and represented a guy in a DUI. He had priors, so another convocation meant time, loss of license, and problems. Long story short, he was pulled over by police after they followed him leaving a bar. At trial, I elicited admissions from the arresting officer that during the 2.5 miles he followed him for, he did not observe a single moving violation—no speeding, erratic driving, driving over the lines, blowing stop signs, or running red lights. Didn’t even “stop suddenly” at red lights. I also got the DRE officer to testify that the accused only spoke Spanish and they couldn’t get an interpreter officer to the roadside to explain the field sobriety exercises, which the officers documented the accused “refused to perform.” The jury came back in 15 minutes. The guy was extremely grateful, and his lovely family was very gracious in thanking me and our office. Felt good about the whole thing.
A couple of months later I’m in the county to meet with a client, and I see him in one of the pods. Find out sometime after the trial he violently beat his 8-year-old stepdaughter. I think about that one a lot.
37. A Big Laugh
I represented this construction worker in a divorce. The wife stayed at home with the kids and had no money. Through the entire divorce, her attorney claimed that my client was hiding money. They had no evidence and the client vehemently denied it. We had a good settlement in the case and I considered it done.
When the client came in a few weeks later to pick his file he thanked me for my work and said: “… and she never did find the money I hid.” He had a big laugh and walked away. What a jerk.
36. A Deep Realization
As a former employment lawyer, I regret defending a company in a lawsuit in which the employee had an accident and lost her left leg and had the left side of her body covered in burn scars, which was the company’s fault. The case was more or less like this: this lady worked at a toll booth on a highway, and whenever she needed to go to the toilet she’d have to close the booth, and change the sign lights to red so no one would go through that lane.
Unfortunately, due to lack of maintenance, the lights did not change and when the lady was crossing the road, a car ran her over and dragged her 10 meters. After defending this case I realized I did not want that in my life; I wasn’t meant to be a lawyer, so I dropped everything and quit the week after.
35. He Might Still Be Alive
This is a strange one. I had a client where the Crown was seeking three to four months in jail. The judge for some reason takes sympathy on this guy with a bad record and gives him a fine. Serious charge but the facts were not particularly egregious and there was no minimum sentence.
Did my submissions make a difference? Perhaps. A month or two later, I find out he died accidentally. If he had gone to jail, he might still be alive.
34. It Doesn’t Feel Great
Defense attorney here. I’ve represented many clients in indecent assault cases. I’ve been lucky in that every one of them I was either confident they were not guilty or at the least knew there was reasonable doubt and an acquittal was the right result. There was one client, however, when I was not. It was a case where the alleged victim was highly credible in my opinion, and there was some physical evidence. I didn’t want my client to even talk to me because I was afraid he would accidentally confess and limit my options if he chose to testify.
The alleged victim testified and of course, came off as credible. I felt my cross was pretty ineffective too, as she answered my questions truthfully. I was fully prepared for a guilty verdict, but the jury came back with a full acquittal. I guess when you consider the evidence against the government’s very high burden of reasonable doubt, it makes a little sense. But this is a prime example that “winning” doesn’t always feel great.
33. Custody Case Gone Bad
I do family law and I represented a father who had lost most of his custody from substance use and imprisonment. He came to me saying he was clean and doing well and had his life together and it checked out. He had been clean for almost nine months not counting jail time and he seemed sincere in wanting to resume a full relationship with his son. The other side fought viciously to keep him at extremely little custody and supervised at that, but we prevailed and got an order restoring fairly frequent unsupervised partial custody.
Not long afterward, only about three months after the case, he was back doing drugs, sold most of his furniture, and for me, the most soul-crushing is that he set up a fake GoFundMe stuff for his child’s “cancer” (his child didn’t have cancer and has never had cancer so you know where that money was going). I withdrew my appearance at this point so I don’t know what happened afterward, but I imagine and hope his custody was taken away. Basically the net result of winning that case was that the poor boy had to witness his father get exploited for money. Worst case I ever won.
32. The Luckiest Woman
The one I particularly hated happened at my first law job. This woman was a long term client of my boss. In the past ten years or so, she has been caught driving under the influence eight times, violated home incarceration countless times, been caught with controlled substances a few times and attacked two people on home incarceration. My boss at the time was the master of getting people off for DUIs so she had only been convicted of a DUI third and always managed to stay on home incarceration with whatever releases she desired.
I always regretted her cases because that woman is truly a danger to the public. But I’ll be damned if she isn’t the luckiest woman alive in getting away with DUIs.
31. He Never Learned His Lesson
In one of my first cases after passing the bar exam, a young man retained me on a drunk driving charge. No one was hurt, but he totaled his car. During the trial, the arresting police officer testified that my client was clearly drunk at the accident scene, and that my client was loudly blaming the accident on the guy who stole his car, crashed it, and then fled before the cops arrived. However, according to two other witness statements tendered into evidence, it was my client’s friend (the passenger) who was screaming about the guy who stole the car, not my client (the driver).
The cop must have confused the two men during his testimony. This discrepancy raised a reasonable doubt in the judge’s mind, so she acquitted my client. At the time, the acquittal was somewhat unexpected for me (in my personal view, my client was clearly drunk and responsible for the accident, regardless of who was blaming the mystery jerk to the cops), but I was happy my young client got off, no one was hurt and lessons were learned. And I was quite euphoric to have won my first criminal case.
The regret? About a month after the acquittal, my young client called me at 3 a.m. from the police station saying, “It’s me again! The police arrested me for drunk driving again! Can you help me?” Not only did I answer no, I instantly regretted getting the earlier acquittal. My client apparently didn’t learn any lessons …
30. It’s All About The Money, Money, Money
There was a case that I saw that involved a claim with fee-shifting, meaning that if the plaintiff won, their attorneys’ fees would get paid by the defendant. The defendant pushed an aggressive legal position at trial that the judge agreed with, and won, avoiding a few thousand in liability to the plaintiff and a few thousand in attorneys’ fees. So far so good.
But then the plaintiff appeals all the way to the state’s high court, requiring a ton of briefing and time. The high court agrees with the plaintiff, reverses and sends back to the trial court, which now enters judgment against the defendant for a few thousand in damages against the plaintiff and tens and tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees from the appeal. The defense lawyer probably regretted winning at first on that aggressive argument to the trial court.
29. Not A Veteran
I used to represent veterans to get their service-connected disability benefits. I represented a homeless veteran who told me that he was in a certain war zone. Everything he said corroborated with the timeline and how events played out and the story barely changed so I took him at face value and argued for service connection for his PTSD with the earliest effective date possible due to a technicality and expedited hearing due to his homeless status.
Got him six figures and off the streets for a while. Then his full records finally came in two years after I requested them. He never served there. He never served overseas at all. I kind of burned out after that.
28. A Bad Doctor
I work in medical malpractice defense. Once I had an obstetrician/gynecologist who burned a patient during a procedure. When I met with the doctor, he lied to me throughout the representation over 16 months saying he had no idea how it happened. There is a doctrine in law called “res ipsa” meaning absent some sort of negligence, this accident could not have occurred.
The woman came in without a burn, and after the procedure, the woman left with a burn. There’s no way this doctor didn’t know what had happened. The area of the burn was where he was operating. It wasn’t until I brought up a settlement, because this was not a case we could win did he say, “Oh maybe I do know what happened.” We ultimately settled that case, which is considered a favorable outcome considering the potential high monetary verdict. Sometimes I think this doctor really ought to have lost that case and their license.
27. Blew The Money On Drugs
I settled a personal injury case for a guy and he was set to get about $5,000. He was in jail. I held the money for a couple of months and when he got out he came by to get the money without delay.
The next day the cops came around and asked if I knew him. I explained that I did. I was told he passed away that night and the only thing found on him was my card, some substances he had not yet used and a needle.
26. Such A Spoiled Brat
I got a spoiled brat of a teenager cleared of a shoplifting charge when he absolutely had done it. His rich parents hired me to represent him, I did that to the best of my ability, and we went to trial and won, but I can’t say I felt good about it.
This kid needed to be taught some accountability for his actions and his parents just wanted to buy their way out of any trouble he got into.
25. A Reputation Destroyer
I wouldn’t say I regret this so much as to this day it amazes me. As a first-year associate, I was given a (terrible) PI case where my client received a flu shot and thereafter felt pain in his shoulder. He went to another doctor who performed an MRI and determined he had a torn rotator cuff, which was undoubtedly not related. My job was to allege the flu shot caused the rotator cuff tear. Our ortho actually correlated the two (which is the more regrettable position) and the case paid out.
Being the bottom of the totem pole I had no choice but to take the case, which was handed down by a partner. But at the same time, it just overwhelmingly made me feel like the worst stereotyped attorney and just hated having to walk into court on it and feel my reputation being destroyed.
24. WAR Stands For?
I helped a man regain the visitation of his child after a year or so in jail. I thought I was a great humanitarian. Oh, the hubris that comes from being a baby attorney!
As we were talking after court waiting for his ride, he showed me his prison tattoo: giant letters on his torso that spelled WAR: White Aryan Resistance. I’m a blue-eyed blonde, so I guess he thought I was down with the cause. I went home and threw up.
23. Oh Life
I’m a work comp attorney. Now I represent injured people, but I used to work on other side insurance defense. There was an applicant with a serious injury. He fell off a ladder and busted his back with fusion. His shoulder was messed and needed years of treatment. Internal issues, psych issues—really just messed up. Fifty percent permanent disability. We were five years in and finally getting to settlement time. If we bought out his future medical, a settlement would be pretty far into six figures. This guy was the sole provider for a wife and two kids.
Then we found out he had aggressive brain cancer. He was expected only a couple of years to live, at best. Thus, we wouldn’t buy out future medical anymore. He still got permanent disability for around $60k … but you can’t give medical buyout based on 25 plus year life expectancy anymore. I felt terrible for the guy and his family. I and the adjuster tried to get insurance to agree to some sort of amount like a five-year buyout, but the bean counters said heck no. The attorney knew it wasn’t me making the decision. Even though he worked on that guy’s file for five plus years he decided to take $0 in fees. I have so much respect for that attorney turning down $10,000 in fees to help his client in a very terrible situation.
A young man no more than 16 gets released while awaiting trial on robbery. One of the conditions of release was that he maintain a curfew. That very night he breaks curfew goes over to somebody else’s house and it ended in a robbery.
Then his mother blamed me and said that evil was working through me that we were all demons. Criminal defense is a hard business.
21. Child’s Case Play
I played lawyer on the playground in elementary school once. A kid had borrowed a few bucks from another kid and then tried to deny it a week later. Normally this would just get you called a jerk and avoided in the future, but the loaner wasn’t wanting to do this. I told him that for a dollar, I’d devise a plan to get his money back. He agreed.
I then told the kid that was loaned the money that the loaner was mad as hell and was going to punch him if he didn’t have his money back by the end of the week (it was Wednesday). He still refused. I told the loaner to punch him come Friday if he didn’t have his money. Punches were thrown AND money was paid back. I never got my dollar though, so that’s why I regret it.
20. A Stupid Mistake
I had a client whose boyfriend agreed to be listed as the dad on the birth certificate despite him knowing he was not the father of the child. At the time of the birth, he swore an affidavit he was the biological dad and it got filed by the state. Of course, he and his girlfriend broke up shortly thereafter. A few years later he regretted his decision and no longer wanted to pay child support for a child that wasn’t his.
Representing the mom, I successfully made the argument that although a non-biological father could get out of paying child support in the case of fraud perpetrated by the mother as to the paternity of the child, no such defense was available to a man who voluntarily signed a birth certificate with full knowledge that he was not the father.
The law was on my side, but it seemed like a pretty hefty punishment for someone who made a stupid mistake.
19. Hard Work Didn’t Pay Off
When I was a young associate, I was assigned to do a civil commercial trial for a client that was not happy with the senior partner. He stopped paying. We moved to withdraw. The court refused to allow us to withdraw and forced us to go to trial.
I spend a significant amount of time in trial prep., etc. I win the trial. The client never pays (client’s position was that my boss screwed up the deal and that there never should have been a dispute/trial to begin with).The firm policy prohibits us from suing clients because that causes a drastic increase in malpractice premiums–9 times out of 10 if you sue a client for nonpayment, they will countersue for malpractice.
18. Insurance Fight
One guy lost his wife and children in a car accident. He wanted to exercise to get his emotions and mental health back in check. The doctor wrote him recommendations for exercise equipment (ball, chin-up bar, nothing crazy) and he submitted the expenses for the same to his insurer.
The client (insurer/adjuster) wanted this fought tooth and nail because exercise equipment was only covered for physical rehab and he was not physically injured. I do not practice in this area anymore.
17. Winning Isn’t Always Good
I defended a death case, representing the insurance company. A man had a brain injury due to a car accident and died six months later. His family sued my client. I’ve never seen a lazier effort on behalf of a plaintiff. The plaintiff’s firm immediately handed the case over to a junior associate. She barely did anything with it. We had settlement negotiations but they were way too high considering the lack of actual medical evidence they had come up with to link the death to the car accident.
It probably was related, but you can’t walk into court with that argument and no evidence to support it. That seemed to be their plan. On the eve of trial, I told o/c to accept the settlement but she refused. I told her she would lose because I was going to get all of her “evidence” thrown out. Still, they went to trial. The partner that was supposed to be there with her didn’t show up because his dog was sick. No joke. As I predicted, all of her evidence was thrown out. The family was crying. I won but I didn’t feel great about it. The judge was appalled. I’m sure the firm was sued for legal malpractice. The young associate was gone within weeks.
16. Clueless Vs. Awful
I did some custody work early in my career and won some cases more on the merit of my trial skills than on the merit of the parents. The thing with family law work, in general, is that there is essentially no bar to entry—anybody with a law degree and a pulse can get a family law practice up and running quickly because there is just an absolute glut of work. What that also means is that 75 percent or more of the lawyers practicing family law are clueless and awful. Early in my career I certainly was clueless, but at least I was not awful. Therefore, in a battle between clueless + awful versus just clueless, clueless usually won.
So yeah, I can’t recall any specific cases, except to say that fighting over children in court is a terrible thing and basically everyone loses. I regret that entire portion of my career.
15. “Do Your Job”
I’m a legal secretary and I can tell you about a case I regretted being involved in. We represented a woman who lost two children in an accident. On its face that sounds terrible and she seemed like a deserving and grieving parent. However, without telling too much detail–both children lived with her ex, including one who wasn’t even his biological child because she wasn’t a suitable parent. I recall her one time telling us she was in the witness protection program so she may have been delusional or mentally ill as well, I really don’t recall. That was when I realized she might not have been Mother of the Year. The children were in a vehicle with their father (her ex) when it was slammed into and they were in the back and killed. Her ex was distraught over the loss of his children and she wanted money.
One day her ex showed up at our office very distraught and wanted to show us photos of his children and how much he loved them. It was a horrible accident. He lost his children too but his ex wanted his insurance policy. I remember complaining to my boss about it and his response was “do your job.” I always hated working on that case. Ultimately we probably did get her the insurance money for the loss of children who didn’t even live with her. I honestly don’t remember since it was over 20 years ago now. But it left me feeling kind of crummy knowing it was about money and not justice.
14. Felt Bad For The Guy
A guy was a convicted felon so he couldn’t be in possession of any firearms. He pawned two weapons that were traced back to him by the pawnshop paperwork (he said they were his and put his thumbprint on the papers, and a store clerk said he walked in carrying them). His story was that his girlfriend’s mom found them after her father died (they were his) and wanted to get rid of them. So, the girlfriend (also a convicted felon) asked him to help sell them, which he did.
The DA office refused to waive the 3-year minimum mandatory prison sentence, so it went to trial. I was the prosecutor when it went and ultimately got a guilty; the guy had to do three years day for day. I felt bad because I think his story was true, but he had a conviction for armed robbery and battery from 30 years ago so that was why the office wouldn’t agree to reduce the sentence.
13. Free Room And Board
For the first few months of my career, my employer had me do public defense to get courtroom experience. And so it happened that as a clueless 25-year-old, I had to defend Mr. Alfred (not the real name) against a domestic violence charge from the woman he had been living with. From the outset, I should say he was innocent and you would think so too. The prosecutor shouldn’t have tried it, but they basically just wanted to test the newbie–me. So there I am, on a sub-zero January day, faking my way through a jury trial. I should note, I had met Mr. Alfred one time, a week prior. He shows up for his trial in the same dirty clothes and thin jacket as the week before.
We didn’t know if there would be a trial until the afternoon before. A long day of trying my hardest to keep this stranger out of jail. Finally, we finish, and the case is given to the jury for deliberations. In 10 minutes they deliver a not guilty verdict. Elation and relief for me. I shook Mr. Alfred’s hand, and he shuffled back out to the street, still homeless. In retrospect, he would have been better off in jail for a few months.
12. Not Her Proudest Moment
My mom is a lawyer who worked a case against one of those “if you or a loved one were negatively affected by this medication” suits. The medication was, in some cases, causing heart issues; important to note, stress can cause heart issues as well. The suit was filed by a slimy law firm, who were telling people that they could win money, even if people were not actually experiencing the side effects. One of these clients had a brain tumor, recently had a nasty divorce, and her son had just died, among all sorts of other terrible things.
Her heart issues did not match the side effects of the medication, and instead looked stress-related, so my mom had to cross-examine this woman, asking: “Could your inoperable brain tumor be causing you stress?,” “Could your divorce from your abusive husband be causing you stress?,” “Could the death of your young son be causing you stress”? That woman’s case was dismissed, but my mom felt TERRIBLE.
11. Divorce Is Never Easy
Divorce case. I represented the wife who was upset because her husband left her for another (younger, thinner) woman. The wife reported that their young daughter made a comment about something that could be interpreted poorly. The only conceivable corroboration about the comment would have come from the daughter’s testimony, but the daughter was so young that her credibility would be suspect, and nobody wanted to put her through the ordeal of testifying against her father. There was no possibility of criminal prosecution of the father because there was no other evidence. But the wife pushed for sole custody and a requirement that the father would only get supervised visitation for the next year or so. We/she won. I’ll never know for sure what happened between the father and daughter, but the more I think about in retrospect, the more I doubt that justice was served.
10. He’s A Big Liar
Not really “winning” but I recently had a case settle where my client was so obviously lying it was painful. He was in a fender bender and said he was too disabled to drive or to work at the office as a result, and that his employer fired him after he had been on disability leave for almost a year. A few months after filing, we discovered that he played in a national, amateur, full-contact football league and there was footage of him getting tackled, endzone dancing, and tackling during the time he claimed he was too hurt to sit at a desk. Even when I confronted him on it, he claimed he hadn’t played while he was injured—despite having a stat line and footage of him playing from games dated on days he was supposedly getting physical therapy.
We didn’t settle for as much as most of my cases but he still walked away with like $20,000. I’m happy to be a plaintiff’s attorney for the most part because my clients have typically been wronged but he was such a bald-faced liar it really ticked me off.
9. Only Paid A Third
I won a million-dollar work injury claim. I completely blanked the claimant on behalf of the employer and their insurer, then withstood the appeal.
I regret it not because the claimant had a legit claim (he didn’t, he was full of BS) and not because I liked opposing counsel (I don’t, he’s the biggest idiot in town). I regret it because my ridiculous insurance company client only paid about a third of my very modest bill. Screw those guys.
8. Every Company Messes Up Sometimes
I handle employment cases. We took a disability accommodation case against a regional retail company. To be clear, we were right: our client was not being given a pretty easy accommodation. Normally, demand letters don’t have any real effect. We have stopped sending them to streamline the process and have just started filing with the EEOC or the courts directly. That’s SOP for us.
In this case, we followed SOP and filed with the EEOC. The company got in touch with us immediately, expressing horror and regret. The whole thing was one poorly trained manager acting out. While that’s common, companies usually try to cover for the manager and often make things worse. This one did not. They immediately sent him to be retrained, offered the exact accommodation requested, and paid all lost wages and fees, with some extra for emotional distress. The client happily accepted and went back to work. After seeing the company’s great response, I felt bad for taking them to the EEOC. Not bad enough to start sending time-wasting demand letters again, but if I ever see them on the other side, I’ll make an exception.
7. But He Needed The Money
I helped represent a slumlord in a lawsuit regarding discrimination in public housing based on disability. The state was representing the disabled tenant. The facts were pretty clear: the slumlord discriminated on the basis of disability. Our state doesn’t have much case law regarding discrimination in housing based on disability. So the state was really hoping to make case law.
We ended up sowing enough doubt to survive the tenant’s motion for summary judgment. Knowing that the tenant needed money, we made an offer for a decent amount of money for a disabled tenant, but peanuts for the slumlord. I imagine the state wanted to proceed to trial, but the tenant needed the money and accepted. By gaining the best outcome for our client, we allowed the slumlord to get off basically scot-free and deprived our state of needed case law.
6. Personal Protective Order
Not my case, but a former associate of mine won a PPO motion hearing (Personal Protective Order) where he represented the person who the order would have been put against (not the victim).
The victim’s request to put a PPO on his client was denied, and like two months later the victim ended up getting put into the hospital by the client. That one still bothers him.
5. Poor Behavior + Old Jury
I’m a paralegal, not a lawyer. I worked very closely on a case where the client had violently abused their spouse. It was clear from the beginning that the client was mentally unstable and very capable of doing this same type of thing again.
We ended up winning because the victim was a young woman, her demeanor during the trial was atrocious and the jury was all older men.
4. Spinal Injury
Shadowed on a personal injury case. Their client was drinking in one of our guy’s bars and gets wasted, becomes abusive to staff and then storms out and falls down the stairs. C6 ASIA B incomplete spinal injury—severe loss of mobility and sensation. His people sue and we force them to accept contributory negligence and personal liability. He gets an okay payout that covers his legal fees and immediate needs and is left disabled.
Even if it was seen to be his fault it was still hard thinking that his life will never be the same just because of one rowdy night. Spinal injury care is massively expensive and the money he received wouldn’t be sufficient for his whole life.
3. Not A Single Lie
It was a divorce case and custody battle. I represented the wife. She cheated on her poor husband during the marriage. I thought the case was lost after they played a tape of her with the other man.
As a last ditch effort, I figured out she wasn’t 18 when the marriage contract was signed, so it was voidable and she got full custody. I did all this while following the lawyers’ ethical code. I didn’t say a single lie that day.
2. Furniture Over Kids
I did a divorce where the husband (who I was representing) wanted to trade custody of his children for a set of bedroom furniture. The bedroom furniture was not even like a family heirloom.
It was furniture that you could probably get at a Rooms-to-Go or something. Ugh, still makes me ill. That’s why I got out of family law.
1. Talking About Ego
I’m in family law. In the summer of 2018 I get work regarding what seemed, from the client’s description, a pretty drawn out and messy divorce case. The husband was my client, and he made it seem, very adamantly, that his soon to be ex-wife was after his every penny. Given that he appeared to have a fairly high paying job, it seemed like a pretty common type of case. The city I work in has many instances of this; it has a high cost of living and a lot of well-paid working professionals in private industry. He was a very well-spoken, amicable guy in his late 50s, and truly seemed like he’d been taken by surprise and betrayed by his soon to be ex-wife. When I actually got to the case, however, I was basically floored. His wife was a working professional as well, worked in government, they’d been married for over twenty years and had two kids together, and had a paid-off house. Before taxes he made almost three times what she did, not counting his stock options, and yet she’d contributed equally to their mortgage on every home they’d owned over the course of the marriage. By all accounts, despite a vast difference in income, she’d carried her weight, raised two kids, and worked full time during the entirety of the marriage. I live and work in Canada, she could have easily raked him over the coals in the divorce if it had gone to court. Instead, it seemed like she’d done everything she possibly could to not have him subjected to that.
This divorce had been ongoing for five years before he hired me, and it was basically him looking a gift horse in the mouth over and over, a constant renegotiation on the contract they’d both signed initially, with him skimping on alimony and then debating on lesser terms. He was basically given an inch and tried to take a mile, dragging it out for so long that per divorce law it had to go to court. I almost suspect he did so as a way to try and drag her through the mud, though he may have genuinely been that delusional. I consider it a win only because his ex-wife was adamant about only wanting what was somewhat fair, and for it to be over because of the strain it was having on the family. Per the contract he owed her, still, about 50k in back pay, but she was content with 15k, which was less than this guy made in a month. I did regret the “win” though, she seemed like a very nice woman with the patience of a saint, while almost all of his anger towards her seemed to come from wounded ego.