105 ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments From Lawyers Who Knew They Were Going To Win

With so many people into legal drama shows, largely thanks to Netflix's recent crime and justice-oriented repertoire, it’s only fair to get fascinated by the world of lawyers. I mean, who are those smart-looking people snapping out arguments to virtually any statement thrown at them? They surely have some super powers, right?

Well, thanks to this viral thread on r/AskReddit, we may now find out. When Redditor Weseleyalpha asked lawyers of Reddit “what was the ah-ha moment where you knew you won your case?” the responses came rolling in. Below are some of the craziest, most film scenario-worthy stories the legal people have shared.


A law professor once told me about a case from decades ago when he was defending a young woman on drugs charges.

In court, his line of defence was basically to tell the truth: this woman had turned to drugs due to trauma and instability in her life, but she was now in a steady loving relationship with another woman. For the first time, she had some peace and security in her life, was genuinely working on overcoming her demons, and was unlikely to re-offend again.

It was a 50-50 proposition on how this would land with the judge....until the prosecutor stood up and started lambasting the two women (the accused and her lover) for lying because "lesbian relationships aren't real" and similar stuff.

According to the prof, "everyone in the courtroom except the prosecutor could see that the judge was a flaming fruit", so this did NOT go down well. The judge tore strips off the prosecutor, gave a furious lecture on gay rights, and ended up giving the woman a slap on the wrist and wishing her well with her partner.

Image credits: MisterMarcus


When the defendant stuck to his 'two beers' story, and the expert blood alcohol witness said his BAC for his height/weight would’ve been 7.8 drinks.

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Defendant on trial for arson of an occupied dwelling. I cross-examined him about statements he made to witnesses saying he was going to burn down the house. He claimed he was just, 'Singing the song, you know — burning down the house, burning down the house.'

I said, 'You mean the song by the Talking Heads?' He said, 'Yeah, that song; I remember because it had just come out!' He set the fire in 2015. I actually had to look up the proper citation for a recorded song for the appellate brief, which went as well for the defendant as the trial did. The Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House" (Sire Records, 1983!).

He was lying about why he was saying he was going to 'burn down the house' is evidence of intent to conceal."

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Custody battle. Mother is questioned about the fact the kids told their own children’s lawyers that mom smoked marijuana with them at 12–13 years old. She argues that the children are lying.

Same cross-examination, mom admits to 'smoking medicinally' (prior to any legalization, medicinal legal). When probed, she did not have a card, and when asked where she got her medicinal pot, she said, 'The local drugstore down the street.' At the time, medicinal marijuana was only available via online/mail order via a small handful of government control companies. Liar, liar pants on fire.

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I was an attorney for an insurance company defending a lawsuit where the plaintiffs were two girls who claimed they were irreparably harmed and their lives would never be the same because severe back injuries kept them from being active. They forgot to set their Instagram accounts to private and the accounts were full of pictures of them riding jet skis, dancing, and pictures of them at the gym. The underage drinking pictures were just icing on the cake.

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Client was charged with aggravated assault (five years possible) for kicking the s**t out of a guy while wearing cowboy boots with those fancy steel ornamental tips on the boots. He wore the boots to his jury trial.

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When they said, 'I know the doctors tampered with my drug test! It should have been positive for a lot more than just meth!' I wish this was made up.

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Some guy was accused of something — I cannot remember what — but the judge spoke him free because there wasn’t enough evidence he had done it. Guy said, 'Thank you, judge; I’ll never do it again.'

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Obligatory, not mine but my Moms story. She was fighting for custody on behalf of the father, trying to prove that the kids were living in subpar conditions with their drug addict mother in spite of the ample child support provided. It was a tough case because courts are so hesitant to pull kids away from their moms. Then the mom burst out that she had been feeding the kids cat food as proof that she wouldn’t let them starve. Needless to say, the judge didn’t take that as a good reason for the kids to stay with their Mom.

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I had parked my motorcycle in my driveway. The officer ordered me to remove it, and tried to levy fines for the violation. He went after my landlord and tried to get me evicted. Eventually, I got a lawyer and filed a complaint. When asked to point to the bylaw I was breaking, he did and even read it out, which basically read:

No parking or storing anything in a driveway other than an automobile.

He seriously thought a motorcycle wasn't an automobile because an automobile is a car.

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There was one juror who just had been clearly thoroughly annoyed with the other lawyer throughout the trial. When the verdict came back, that juror was holding the verdict, indicating he had been the foreman. At that moment I knew I had won.

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He tried citing his own lawyer as an authority that the judge should defer to. The judge was not amused. I won.

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Personal injury case — woman said she slipped and fell outside of a nail salon because they hadn't swept up the wet leaves outside the door. In the mail one day, we got a disc — we put it in the computer, and right there is security cam footage of our client picking up the wet leaves, putting them on the sidewalk, and sitting down on them before calling for help.

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Dad alleged mom was doing all sorts of things and that he should have the kid. Dad's attorney grilled mom for about 20 minutes on texts she had sent claiming to sell her prescriptions. She wouldn't admit it. Dad's attorney moved on and eventually ended with, 'One more question. Where did you get the pills you were selling?' Mom responds without thinking, 'Oh, my doctor prescribed them.'

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Custody case. Attorney stands up in this case and goes to the judge: 'My client has only been found guilty of child endangerment in (county next to us) and (county next to that). I see no reason that this court should hold that against him when it comes to custody of his children.'

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We spent MONTHS trying to get a landlord to cough up $$$ to make necessary repairs at one of his properties. Then when he didn’t make the repairs and said he didn’t have any money, we filed a motion for contempt and got the judge to force him to turn over financial records. We got the records and saw he got a loan of several thousands of dollars (significantly more than what we asked for) just a few days before he was ordered to pay. Then the bank records showed (1) he transferred some $$$ to another account, which we never received the records for, and (2) he spent several thousands of dollars at a local casino.

During cross exam, we questioned him about the money at the casino and he admitted he went, but said he took his family there for dinner. But there were multiple cash ATM withdrawals in a day for several days. He was screwed.

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When my client filed a restraining order against his ex and then asked me to leverage the restraining order just so he could get back with her. In our state, if you do this, you’ll have to pay the other persons attorneys fees.

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I've told this story before but I might as well put it here. This guy wanted custody over his children after a divorce and his wife was accusing of abuse(physical) . He was asked if he had ever abused his wife and he straight up said 'Yes, but only when she annoyed me' or something along the lines of that. I was ready to straight up leave the court room and laugh my ass off.

[This was like 6 yrs ago and I've forgotten about it until now, thanks for the reminder.]-i forgot to remove this part when i copy pasted this from my other reply to a question, i apologise. I don't seem like a good lawyer right now, do I?

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Not a lawyer, recent law school grad studying for the bar. This happened summer after my first year of law school, I was making a court appearance as a student attorney (basically, a rule in my state that lets students practice under attorney supervision).

I was working with the public defender’s office, representing a client at a first appearance on a probation violation/bail hearing. On a probation violation, the judge is allowed to hold a defendant without bail (keep them in jail until the case is over).

Client says he has some money, but not much. Could get together about $500 for bail. Ok, I’ll ask the judge to keep it low or just release him. Prosecutor asks for $300 bail. Great, my work here is done. Whatever I say, judge will order $300 or less and my guy is out.

I say my piece, and then my client interrupts the judge, saying some incoherent stuff about how he needs to get out and he’s got this that and the other thing going on. Won’t let the judge speak.

Judge holds him without bail even though the prosecutor didn’t ask for it. All he had to do was shut up and he’d have gone home that afternoon.

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The defendant tried to b**** slap one of the jury.

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I once had an idiot client who put out a public statement announcing that a subordinate had resigned.

Then the subordinate announced that he had not resigned, and furthermore, had no intention of resigning.

Then my idiot client put out an email announcing that he had fired the subordinate.

Then I had to advise my idiot client that he didn't have the right to fire the subordinate.

Then I had to explain to my idiot client that he couldn't fire the man because he is not my idiot client's subordinate at all; in fact, he was hired by, and worked for, a completely different subsidiary - over which my client had no authority.

So I got my idiot client to put out a public statement saying that his boss, the Chief Executive, had fired the subordinate.

Then my idiot client's boss blabbed to everybody that he had not fired the subordinate, and that he had thrown the whole matter back into my idiot client's hands.

And now, dammit, I have to spend the next four months boning up on all the statues and case law pertaining to obstruction of justice.

Sincerely, William Barr's lawyer.

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Late to the party, but I'll chime in anyway. My firm had been chasing down this woman for years, trying to get her to pay out on a six figure judgment. She kept nothing in her personal bank accounts and used the money for her business accounts for a rather lavish lifestyle. She kept claiming she was broke and that she didn't use her company funds for her living expenses, including in affidavits filed with the court. During the citation deposition, at the beginning, she stated she was current on her mortgage for her huge house. We go through all her finances and companies and after a few hours I brought up the mortgage again and then asked "if you're broke, but current on your mortgage, how are you making mortgage payments?" Dead silence, then in a soft voice "I use company funds." Her attorney stopped the deposition and pulled her out of the conference room. My boss was observing and started laughing and told me it was a good question.

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Not a lawyer, but I will say I was in Mock Trial in high school. I won our case when I got the coach of the team to say that she’s just the coach and not responsible for someone else’s child. I know that’s nothing like a real case but I was so proud when the “jury” cited that line as the reason they voted in favor of “my client”.

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I was sitting in court waiting for my case and there is a basic traffic stop case going on. The prosecutor has the arresting officer walk through the incident. The Cop recalls all these details about how he pulled the driver over for running a red light, then noticed a busted tail light. How he stayed cool, calm, and collected, even as the driver became irate, cursing at the cop and telling the cop he can "shove the ticket where the sun don't shine." The cop then claimed that the driver ripped up the ticket, rolled up the bits, and threw it at the officer. The cop sells the story and you notice most of the court room has become invested.

The driver is not a lawyer, but chooses to represent himself and takes all of a minute to embarrass the officer and court with a simple. "Your honor, the officer testified, under oath, to the court that I acted illegally and belligerently, then aggressively tore up and threw away the ticket, which I find hard to believe seeing as this here is the ticket, in one piece, without even a crease on it." He pulls out the ticket from a folder he had in front of him. You could hear many in the court gasp, laugh, mumble.

The judge stops the driver, looks over to the prosecutor, addresses him "Mr. Smith, thoughts?" Without hesitation, the prosecutor replies "Yes your honor, in deference to the courts time, we would like to go ahead and drop the case." All the other defendants pending their case applaud. The judge bangs his gavel, calls order in the court room, admonishes the room, and then admonishes the officer and prosecutor before closing it out.

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I was with a fellow bro who robbed a bank when he was 15 years old. He stole a complete block of pure gold priced at around £7 million. He got caught after he tried sawing it in half in his garage at 3am after his neighbours called the police for a noise complaint. They burst right into him cutting the gold block and arrested him there and then because they recognised his face from the worlds top 5 most wanted list. He was in custody with me, his lawyer, and he said he just wanted to buy the sheriffs wife for half the gold. He then f**ked up completely by pulling out a knife he hid under the skin in his thigh and slit the throats of all three officers in the room. He’s been sentenced for 200 years.

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Not a ‘case winning’ moment, but a ‘motion winning’ one for sure (think of cases like a big conflict, with motion hearings as little conflicts).

Opposing attorney was insisting that ‘Rule A’ meant they could do X. I tried, multiple times, to point out ‘Rule A’ literally did not say that.

During the hearing, the judge reached behind them, grabbed their ‘Rules of Civil Procedure’ (basically a dictionary of rules), placed it in front of the other attorney, and said “Show me where Rule A says X”.

Other attorney did not take the hint, read rules out loud for a brutal 5 minutes, and gave the book back. I said “Judge I have nothing to add.” It was pretty fun.

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I represented a company that was sued for breach of contract by a former independent contractor. Dude basically alleged that my client wasn’t paying him correctly in accordance with the contract.

During his deposition, dude admits that he never reviewed any documents to make sure his allegations were true, never reviewed his complaint before filing it to make sure the allegations in it were true, and had no idea whether or not my client actually failed to pay him in accordance with the contract. Basically, he tells me that he was suing my client because he didn’t think their agreement was fair (even though he agreed to the terms when he signed the contract). The kicker is that he admitted that he OWED my client money.

At arbitration, he tries to flip his story and starts giving testimony that is the exact opposite of his dep, so I whip out his transcript and undermine his testimony bit by bit. Needless to say, I won that case.

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Defendant in a bench trial for a speeding ticket said he couldn't possibly go as fast as the officer clocked him. He knew this because he video taped himself accelerating from a full stop to the location of where the officer sat. His experiment showed his vehicle could only get to 55mph and not the 67 mph he was clocked at. The ADA then moved to have another speeding ticket issued because the actual posted speed limit was 50mph.

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IANAL but I was in traffic court one time and saw a lawyer straight-up murder a cop with words. The cop had previously testified that the weather on the night of the traffic stop was heavy rain and winds so strong that the defendant could only open his window 3", and that the car had stopped on an area with very little shoulder, forcing the cop to approach from the passenger side not the driver side. The cop had then testified that he smelled a strong smell of alcohol on the defendant's breath.

When the defense lawyer got up, he repeated what the cop had said almost verbatim and asked how he could have possibly smelled alcohol on the breath of someone on the other side of the car, through a 3" crack in the window, on a night with pouring rain and strong winds. The cop sort of opened and shut his mouth a few times, squirmed around in his seat, and said "that's just what I always write in my log, to remind me that it was a DUI stop."

The judge threw the case out. No motion to dismiss needed. Then he took a break and called the traffic prosecutor and the cop into his office. I'm guessing it wasn't for a nice spot of tea and some scones.

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I do mostly solicitor work so if I'm doing my job right I don't get a whole lot of these type of moments. That being said, I had a long-time client who was being sued and I got to shut down the guy suing him in a very satisfying way.

So my client had hired a guy, we will call Kevin, as basically a right-hand man for his company. The employment contract wasn't done yet but they had an agreement that Kevin would work six weeks at a lower wage and then sign the contract and get the agreed upon wage. So the guy works decently for 5 weeks and then is given the contract to sign. He comes back to the owner (my client) and says that he has some small changes he would like to make.

When the owner gets the contract back he finds that the "small changes" involve removing the "Duties and Responsibilities" section (basically the job description) and the non-compete/confidentiality clause. Not only that but he has written in a higher salary than agreed and added a bunch of new benefits for himself.

Obviously, my client tells him that he can either sign the contract as it was originally laid out or he can find himself another job. He takes the latter option. But he starts a lawsuit against the owner wanting to be paid for the six weeks he was supposed to work (which had already been paid), two weeks in lieu of notice and FIVE weeks vacation pay.

I got the enjoyable job of telling Kevin, in front of a judge that he was not entitled to anything under the employment legislation and the only way he could get any of that would be if he had signed the contract. Judge dismissed the case and awarded costs to the defendant but not before giving Kevin a lecture on wasting the court's time.

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My sister got t-boned by a car, causing a concussion when I was younger. Long story short, we were in court with the judge, who asked the driver if he had ever sped before.

"No, your honor, I never speed" was his reply.

The judge asked him a couple more times if he was sure, if he never sped. Ever? The driver was adamant that he never sped and never had before.

A few minutes later, my sister's lawyer gave the judge some paperwork. She read it, and said to the driver, "It seems that you have some past driving violations. Can you tell me what they are for?"

"............ speeding"

The driver had to pay medical bills for my sister.


I was representing a woman with a severe neck injury. Opposing counsel presented a test result that showed her cervical exam was normal. I felt almost bad when I pointed out he had the wrong cervical area in mind...


I once had an appeal where the precedent, all from other circuit courts, was very bad for me. The circuit court I was arguing in front of had a decision that was very good for me, but it was "unpublished" (meaning that it was not precedential). My goal was to convince the court to follow its unpublished decision, not the decisions of the other circuits.

During my argument I cited the unpublished decision. One of the judges interrupts me and asks, "but wasn't that decision unpublished?" I answered "yes, but it was well-reasoned." He replied with a self-effacing quip, "I was on the panel for that decision, so it couldn't have been that well-reasoned." The audience laughed a bit.

I answered quickly, "In that case, your honor, it was at least well-written!" The audience (and all the judges) burst into laughter. I ended up winning in a published decision, which turned the old unpublished decision into binding precedent!

A bit of humor can go a long way in the courtroom. Especially when you're flattering the judges.


Two high school kids spend their day pissing each other off so they decide to drive to a fast food restaurant to fight. They park, get out, immediately approach, and swing. Kid A connects the first blow squarely and solidity across Kid B and instantly drops him. The whole fight was one punch with a total elapsed time of a few seconds.

The restaurant is sued for failure to protect its patrons.

The case is weak. Unfortunately Kid B hit the pavement hard and had severe brain damage. Attempts were made to settle but they were after millions.

We knew walking in they had two former employees testifying about large crowds building up after school. The plaintiff attorney aimed to prove the restaurant had a reasonable expectation of trouble and should have had armed guards in the parking lot.

At best, their witnesses wildly exaggerating to the point of perjury. Their credibility was shaky in being highly disgruntled for being fired. We had a list of witnesses ready to refute their claims.

At trial, the plaintiff attorney presented first. He spent a long time building up the bad blood between the kids, the serious damages of Kid B, and his potential earning capacity. A lot of foundation work to build sympathy for his client. We break for lunch on day two after which it would be the defense presentation. As we were talking through where we were and how we should proceed, we realized the restaurant was not really mentioned at all. Plaintiff held back his "star" witnesses to rebut the defense presentation the restaurant was safe. So when we reconvened...

"Defense rests your honor."

The plaintiff attorney fell out of his chair. He begins frantically shuffling papers on his table and was stammering. The judge says, "I take it you will need a few minutes for your close?"

After that break, plaintiff's attorney gave one of the worst closing remarks I've ever heard.

Jury: Kid B 10% at fault. Kid A 90% at fault. Restaurant 0%.


Obligatory Not a Lawyer, but I was defending myself against a debt collector for a debt so old I could not even remember for sure that it was mine.

Me to the debt collector: Can you provide the actual contract bearing my signature along with a chain of title to the debt?

Debt collector's lawyer: Crickets...

I look at the judge.

Judge to lawyer: Well can you?

Debt collector's lawyer while looking through paperwork: Um...Well... No, not at this time Your Honor.

Judge: Case dismissed.

(Note: To prove that a debt collector owns your debt, they must prove how it came to own it. Often, old debts are sold and resold over and over again to a number of subsequent debt buyers. When this happens, the debt collector must prove each and every assignment by showing a “chain of title” reaching all the way back in history to the original creditor. More often than not, for old debts, it is impossible for the collector to show this.)


I had one where I pretty much knew the jury was on my side by the end. I had prepared my closing statement the night before so I was ready to go. There was a break where the jury was out before receiving their instructions.

I noticed that the opposing counsel was writing his closing statement during that break and would likely continue while judge was reading the jury instructions. His table was a mess - papers and books everywhere and he was frantically scribbling on a notepad and shuffling through papers, adding things up in a phone calculator, etc.

I decided to clear everything off of my table and put it out of sight. When the jury came back in, I just sat there with nothing but a brand new, clean yellow legal pad and a pen. Opposing counsel was still scribbling and shuffling and his table was still a mess. I sat back and crossed my legs and pressed my fingertips together and listened while the judge read the instructions to the jury. I like to think that made a good final impression on the jury. They came back with a verdict fully in my favor.


I witnessed this sitting in court. It was a drug case and there was some discussion between the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the judge about the quantity. Judge says something like, "right, but that's in ounces. How many grams is that?" Prosecutor and defense attorney say they don't know. Judge says, "I mean, we can figure it out, how many grams are in an ounce?" Prosecutor and defense attorney still shrug, like "dunno." All of a sudden the defendant pipes up, "28.3."


My "Eight Word Trial" would be up there. Basically my lowest ever effort court hearing win. I was required to say a grand total of eight words during the whole thing.

The Defendant's lawyer has f**ked up, spectacularly; and has tried, ineptly, to get his client and himself out of the s**t. He spends about an hour ranting and raving about the injustice of it all; screaming at the judge that he's got it wrong, while I sit, half listening, casually browsing Reddit using the court Wi-Fi.

Eventually, he gives up and the Judge says something like "For [reasons] I'm going to dismiss this application. Anything to add, u/CountZapolai?"

"No." (word 1)

"OK, application dismissed for [reasons]. How much are your costs?"

"Twelve thousand pounds plus VAT" [a UK sales tax] (words 2-6)

"Granted. Good morning"

"Thank you" (words 7 and 8).


Was waiting with now exwife in divorce court. Ours was mostly mutual so it was somewhat painless.

The couple before us was an older divorced couple arguing over back child support.

HER: "He has not paid me in 3 months. I gave him an extension but still nothing"

HIM: "I don't have any money right now, times are tough. Im trying the best I can"

HER: "You honor ask him where he was 2 weeks ago?"

JUDGE: "Where were you 2 weeks ago"

HIM: "I went to Florida and got remarried on the beach"

Bailiff: "CLICK. CLICK". {The guy was hauled away in cuffs}.


My friend was defending a guy who was asleep in the backseat of his car while intoxicated and a NYS Trooper arrested him. On the stand, the trooper testified that he visually saw 'the key in the ignition.' My friend gave him like three chances to walk it back. 'Are you sure, trooper, that you actually saw the key in the ignition?' He said yes. And then my buddy dropped the hammer, 'You are aware that my client drives a Toyota Prius?


Man I’m always too late but I’ve got a good one. When I was interning at the criminal court for a judge I observed a pre-trial hearing for a murder case. The defendant allegedly murdered his grandmother because she wouldn’t give him money, then stuffed her in a closet and called a hooker for sex in the bed right next to the closet. Horrifying stuff.

During the hearing the defendant’s lawyer, prosecutor, and judge went through some typical procedures, then the judge asked the defendant if he had anything to add. The defendant smugly said yes, actually, I don’t think I’m mentally fit to stand trial according to article x under the criminal procedure.

The judge let him finish, looked him dead in the eye, and said: “The fact that you just told me this shows you’re perfectly fit to stand trial.”


Back in the days when you needed to bring posterboard blow ups of photos with you to court as exhibits, and you didn't have a computer screen to enlarge them, in a fire case the defendant said he and his family were in Mexico buying tiles and went straight to their home in Beverly Hills. They claimed they didn't stop in Malibu at their beach house to drop off the tiles, have a smoke, and then leave. (Our theory was their cigarettes started the fire. LA County Arson thought so too.)

Up until the day of trial we didn't have the blow ups. I got them. They were huge, I took them to court. I asked the defendant husband to repeat the story he had given in deposition. Then I uncovered the blow up which showed his garage with the door left open by LA County firefighters. The garage was untouched by the fire that burned down his house and the neighborhood. I showed him the photo and asked him to identify the tiles neatly stacked in the middle of the garage. When he failed to answer the question I knew the jury knew he was lying. (He was, as we say in the profession, a "LSOS.")


Unfortunately my best story for this is from my own client. We had a client who was on the board of directors for a company, and was being sued for allegedly not telling the board something. His part of the case was really only a smaller part of a larger and more complicated case, so while there were a lot of other issues in the case overall, the entire case against him specifically essentially boiled down to whether or not he told the board about X.

I and few other attorneys spent an entire week — 9 AM to 5 PM or later, Monday through Friday — prepping this client for his deposition by going over every document in the case with him and explaining why it was important. On several occasions we reiterated that no matter what else happened in the case, as long as we can show that he told the board about X, he was fine.

The day of the deposition arrives. Opposing counsel sits down and starts questioning our client. In the first 5-10 minutes of the dep, opposing counsel straight-up asks our client what he told the board. Client responds, “I told them about Y, I told them about Z, I told them about A, B, and C” — and says NOTHING about X, literally the only issue in the case against him.

In 20+ years of practice it was the closest I’ve ever come to rage-quitting on a client.


A doctor testifying under oath that he deliberately chose not to inform a pregnant woman of a positive test result for a really severe genetic disorder, because he figured because she was a member of his church she wouldn't have considered aborting the pregnancy under any circumstances.

A primary care doctor who received a complex and technical test report from a genetics lab, and simply forwarded it to the patient (who didn't really speak English and wasn't medically educated). She testified that she "performed the minimum required diligence" which is not what you should say and expect a good outcome.


So, picture it: mother and father are in a custody dispute. Mother's not making a lot of money but she's hustling as best as she can to take care of her kids. Father's a deadbeat. He actually was supposed to originally have primary custody, but skipped out, so she's been taking care of them for a couple years, and now she wants primary custody officially transferred to her and he's fighting it because he's a narcissist...

Anyways. In many jurisdictions, in addition to the lawyer for each side (assuming that the person isn't arguing pro se, like the father in this case, because not everyone can afford a lawyer, or thinks that they need one) when there's a child involved the court appoints a guardian ad litem, who represents the child. The guardian ad litem interviews the parents, interviews the child, does some basic investigating, and reports to the judge about their assessment. In this case, the guardian ad litem said outright that the mother was probably the better bet, but he thinks that both parents should take a drug test just in case. (Both parents had previous substance abuse problems, and both claimed to be clean.)

Well, the judge has no problem with any of that that, and sends the parents off to be tested right then (social services sent someone to administer the tests, I believe). That's done, everybody comes back to the courtroom.

Judge reads the results out loud. Mother tested negative for everything. Father...tested positive for cocaine.

Now, as the mother's attorney (and the guardian ad litem) made sure to emphasize, cocaine doesn't stay detectable for very long. Either the father used it very recently (he admitted in court that he'd gone to a party and done a line of coke), or he was such a habitual user that it remained detectable for longer (the party that he'd been at was the previous weekend, which was outside of the approx. 3 day range that cocaine remains in your system, so if that was indeed the only time he'd used coke then he must have been doing lines nonstop the week before for it to linger so long).

Things really did not go well for him after that. Mother ended up with primary custody of the kids, father ended up looking like a real tool in front of the judge.


My father as a young lawyer was trying to get a case to take place in one state and not another because the insurance laws were more favorable in state A. The company he was in litigation with wanted it in state B for that reason, and claimed they only distributed in state A but had no locations in it and should not have to go to court in state A.

Well this company was a soda company and my dad has a major diet soda addiction, he goes through at least a 12 pack a day. So they were in a meeting with the soda company lawyers and took a break and he went downstairs to get a diet soda. When it came out he noticed on the can that it said "Distrubted by the XYZ soda company of State A". So he got another diet soda and brought that one up stairs to the meeting. The XYZ soda co decided to settle after that.

This was in the late 70s or early 80s I believe.


I was involved in a civil suit against an organization that allegedly allowed and attempted to cover up the sexual assault of an at-risk population.

During a deposition of a victim the opposing counsel began asking an aggressive line of questions accusing the deposed of having been convicted of making false reports in the past, and convictions for forgery, and identity theft.

After our client answered with a simple “no” to about a dozen of these questions opposing counsel became belligerent, eventually basically signaling that at trial he would be producing mugshots, as well as conviction records, as well as charges for perjury and right about at that point he becomes ghost white, pulls very close to his face what is clearly a photo he had in a folder, looks at it closely then shoves it back in and asks to conclude the deposition. He had pulled records on the wrong person, i later found this other person and while their names were the same, the ages were more than 15 years apart.


Posted this one a little while ago, but it does fit here.

Not a lawyer, but I have a similar type of experience to share. Where I live, municipal zoning rights are controlled by a board that has a nickname of "The Green Taliban" - so named because they are drop-dead-heart-attack serious about anything to do with environmental regulations (I live in one of the most left-wing, environmentally-conscious areas of the country). Their answer to anything that isn't 100% in compliance with the most stringent environmental codes is almost always "No."

Anyways, this millionaire decides to move out to the area and buys an acreage. His plans for developing the land include creating an artificial cave (for wine-tasting parties) by blasting one into a cliff using mining explosives and creating a new stream by draining a water-body located on the property.

Needless to say, these actions were rather controversial amongst the community and he had to have a public hearing (which I attended) in front of the zoning board to explain himself. After a couple of pointed questions from the board, he loudly groused, "You know, where I come from [a very conservative part of the country, as it turns out], if we want to build a road and there's a lake in the way, we move the lake." That was about the point where I thought to myself, Yeah, you definitely just lost your case. Congratulations on passing into local legend, though.


Not a lawyer but this story still applies. My parents have a jewelry store and the landlord was trying to extort them to sign a lease for nearly double what it was appraised for. Problem was, the lease they signed and the landlord signed said when they renewed the lease both parties were to get their own appraiser then meet in the middle of what the two prices were. Landlord didn't like what his appraiser said so he refused to tell my parents what the appraisal was. So for two years he sent every lawyer in town to try to kick them out. They tried everything but legally had no leg to stand on. Well, unfortunately during this time the landlord developed Parkinson's and his mind started to go. We finally got him to do a deposition and that's where everything when to hell for him. It was like he drank a truth serum. He just told all. My parents lawyer would ask things like: "Why did you not show the appraisal to my clients?" And he'd say: "It wasn't what I wanted. I wanted them to pay more so I hired other appraisers, and paid them off to raise the price nearly double"

Or another one was, "Why did you want them to pay you in gold that you would then sell back to them?" (Remember it's a jewelry store) He said, "Oh I didn't want to pay taxes"

It was sad honestly. His lawyer by the end of it all just had his head in his hands. We had a new lease within a month for less than we originally even offered, and he had to pay back 75% of our legal fees. Nearly $100,000.


Co counsel on a case where guys being accused of sex witha minor. Idiot client goes off topic and testifies that the woman "smelled like a French whore". Judge asks him what a French whore smells like. Client admits he doesn't really know, but assumes just like an American one. I'm like 2 weeks out of law school. This was all in open court, so I'm not violating any privileges here.


Not a lawyer but...

I was listening to the Casefile podcast. Guy gets obsessed with his former teacher. Kidnaps her and her daughter and holds them for 52 days. They escape. At the trial while she is testifying he slashes her with a knife.

He was convicted...


My dear, departed bf was a criminal defense attorney who told me this one:

Attorney (cross-examination): "You were dating my client, Eddie X, and your then-boyfriend, Mr Z, and became pregnant. How did you know that the baby was not my client's child"

Witness: "Because Eddie always f***** me up the ass!"

Order! Order!


I was trying a case where my client was charged with being a felon in possesson of a firearm. Prosecutor has to prove a) he had a gun and b) he is a felon. A) is not in dispute. The way to prove b) is to bring into evidence a certified conviction and sentencing order.

This guy had been convicted of several felonies in another state and one in my state. The prosecutor was having some issues with getting a certified out of state order and just relied on the single in state order which was provided to me in discovery. My client pointed out to me that neither the DOB or SSN on the order was his.

At trial, when the prosecutor tried to introduce the conviction order, I objected on relevance. The name was the same but DOB and SSN was different than what was on the indictment. The judge agreed and refused to let it into evidence. Not guilty.


Re-upping an old comment:

We all forget to turn off our phones in court, but I once faced off against a lawyer whose phone rang right while he was in the middle of making his final submission to the Judge.

Even that might have been forgivable if he hadn't interrupted his submissions to take the call.


In one where I was a jury member, almost all the evidence was on camera. One lawyer was trying to make his case on the fact a mandated sweeping security check wasn’t done on time and if it had it would have potentially prevented what happened to his client. After him drilling in this point endlessly, the opposing counsel asked to see footage of around the time of the missed sweeping check.

The video showed a specific visit to the client. A personal visit is far better than a sweeping check. First lawyer was not such a smug guy anymore.


I was reviewing some documents of a case involving work-related death benefits. Naturally, the deceased's heirs were claiming the money as they were the beneficiaries.

Basically, the heirs just had to prove that the deceased's death was work-related. I noticed that the official certificate of death said the guy passed away on January 1 (for example). But the heirs had submitted hospital records that the deceased had been admitted to that hospital in February. (the dates were so radically different that it could not have been a typo). This was the turning point when their credibility was wiped out, and I knew that the claim was bulls**t.

When the court eventually rendered judgment, the case was dismissed. The heirs never appealed, or otherwise. I think they knew their case was f**ked.


When I was in law school, I had to argue a case for an exam. I was the last in my class to go so there wasn't anyone arguing against me. I opened with a motion to dismiss since opposing had failed to show. The judge grading me chuckled and said "touche counsel." I still had to go forward but we got off on the right foot and I ended up with an A.


Opposing counsel decided that I had coached my witness and gave him lines to repeat, that he was lying. Short version is that he asked the witness if he spoke to me before he testified. Witness said he had. Attorney looked like he thought he had me. Attorney asked the witness what I told him, what instructions I gave him. Witness looked him dead in the eye and said, “First thing he told me was to tell the truth no matter what. He said the lawyer is never the one who goes to jail, that he isn’t going to jail for me, and if I lie, I’m on my own.” Attorney looked like someone took the air out of him. Everyone in the courtroom simultaneously looked at me. Only time I’ve smirked or laughed in court. I wanted to put my feet up on the table like I was Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, hands behind my head, and say, “I’m done with this guy.”


I was prosecuting some kid. He had an 'anti-social behaviour order', which meant that he was not supposed to go to a certain street. He had pleaded not guilty on the basis that he had not been there.

I opened my cross examination by holding up a map and pointing at the street. I said to him "you went here, didn't you?". He said "yes".

In England, we don't say "I rest my case". Instead I looked up at the bench, said "no further questions", and sat down.

It might not seem bad-ass, but I got the defendant to admit the offence with one question. That never happens!


I'm relatively junior so I'm hoping to beat this one day. I defend professionals and brought a motion to dismiss a case on the basis that the plaintiff could not prove my client was negligent as she had not served the required expert evidence.

As opposing counsel and I waited for our motion to be heard we were sitting in the courtroom. The judge, who I did not know and who had not read our materials, wanted to talk to the parties of a short trial which was to be heard after our motion was argued. That matter was also a professional negligence matter and the plaintiffs had no expert support.

The judge then spent 10 minutes explaining that he had practiced in professional negligence for many years and was well versed in the evidentiary requirements to prove the elements of professional negligence. In fact, he said, "I very rarely use the word impossible in this court room, but it is impossible for you to be successful without expert evidence."

Our matter was then called and I revelled in explaining to the judge that he was about to hear a motion to dismiss a professional negligence case on the basis that the plaintiff had no expert evidence.

I won.


We had a case where opposing counsel was cross-examining our expert witness on hydrology regarding some silt/runoff issues.

“Mr. Smith, wouldn’t you agree that the book I’m holding is highly respected in your field and considered to be the gold standard on the subject?”

Witness- I am aware that it is highly regarded in my field.

“Would you be willing to explain, in your own words, what paragraphs 6-10 on page 121 is describing.”

Witness reads the passage word for word.

“Yes, I can read, but could you put this passage in your own words for the court?”

Witness- These are my own words. I wrote it.

***We were the defendants. We were being sued by an HOA over silt in a lake. We were able to prove that we weren’t responsible and prevailed. It actually originated from another site and entered the lake, elsewhere. However, that site was owned by a very large corporation and I don’t think the HOA wanted to fight with an entity that could fight forever.


Not a lawyer, but during a particularly nasty employment mediation hearing, I got to ask my former employer a question about payments per employment law:

Me: “Did you or did you not pay into state mandated unemployment insurance fund for all your employees past and present?”


“Mediator: “Sir, answer the question”


Mediator: “Well, let me ask it.....Did you or did you not pay into state mandated unemployment insurance fund for all your employees past and present?”


Mediator: “”I’ll take that as a no”


As a young attorney, I had stated a claim that an insurance company was dragging out a case in bad faith, in hopes that my elderly client would die before they had to pay him. I was requesting that the trial date be given priority due to my client's advanced age. The judge was no spring chicken himself, and seemed skeptical when he asked exactly how old my client was, maybe thinking that he was in his 70s and must merely seem ancient to a baby lawyer like me. When I responded that my client was 92, and the case has already gone on for 5 years, the judge was visibly shocked, and immediately granted my motion for priority, shutting down the insurance company's attorney's attempt to respond. They wrote us a check for a million dollars the next week.


Terrible people had stolen all of this little old lady’s money. They said it was a gift, but their only evidence was a document in the bad person’s handwriting that was allegedly dictated. It said September 2012. No day, just the month. Clearly the rogue had forged that when she found out about the lawsuit and, not remembering when she had stolen it, she hoped if she could guess within the month no one could challenge her. So I’m questioning her about it.

Exhibit B is the little old lady’s bank record. Now that withdrawal at the bottom, is that the alleged gift?


Can you read the date of that transaction for me?

August 25, 2012.

Thank you.


I helped the prosecution rest his case. LOL

I got jammed up during spring break doing dumb spring break s**t. So there I was in court to face the music (misdemeanors). As I sat there waiting for my turn, I watched person after person go before the judge. The prosecutor read their charges and some information from the police report, stating what the potential max sentence was for each/all (I don't remember exactly). Then the judge asked what plea they wanted to enter. Almost everyone said 'Not Guilty' and I could see that both the judge and prosecutor were getting tired of their bulls**t.

FINALLY, my turn came. I was probably 2nd to last after what seemed like hours, but may not have been.

The prosecutor read off my charges and cited the police report. The judge looked at me with this "let's just get it out of the way. tell us you're not guilty" look and asked how I pled.

"Guilty, your honor."

The judge and the prosecutor both looked at each other and the judge said (kid you not) "say again?" or "beg your pardon?"

"Guilty your honor. I did it. Just the way officer so-and-so's report reads."

They exchanged looks again and the prosecutor held his papers at arms length as if to get a better look at them and did the unthinkable.

"Your honor, this all reads to me like a case of college prank gone bad. The county moves to reduce charges to XYZ."

I walked in there expecting some jail time and walked out paying like $110 plus costs.

I didn't really know how to feel about the scariest day of my life turning into one of the happiest ones.


I'm not an attorney, and it wasn't in front of a judge, But I got into a dispute with a contractor who f**ked up royally when installing anew heating system, resulting in an asbestos contamination of my house.

Their insurance argued the contractor couldn't have caused the contamination, because the contamination was way worse than could have been possible from what the contractor did (which is bulls**t). They argued the contamination must have been caused by the contractor that installed the previous heating system.

It was super satisfying to write our response:

The previous heating system was placed 12 years earlier. The asbestos dust was visibly lying everywhere. Arguing we didn't vacuum for 12 years was beyond ridiculous.

The asbestos dust was on a floor we installed 6 months earlier (included the receipt for the floor).

And then the third point was the most fun to write:

3) I said they were welcome to believe the contamination was caused by the contractor who installed the previous system 12 years ago. I included the receipt of that installation: it was done by the same contractor.

The next letter was very brief, stating they would pay us fir all damages we were claiming.


My client and his wife were woken up one night because people were trying to break into his house. He fired two warning shots as his wife called 911. The neighbor also called 911. When the police got the neighbor's call that there were shots fired, the Police Sergeant radioed the other officers and said "He's going to jail tonight" referring to my client. So obviously even with signs of someone trying to break in and his wife calling 911 for help....the officers arrest my client for endangering his wife by shooting inside the house (nowhere near her). It gets to a jury trial and I start to go off on the Police Sergeant about why she would say that before an investigation and before she even had any idea what happened. The Sergeant had no idea how to respond and literally just sat there staring at me for a solid 2 minutes before saying anything. Even the bailiffs were audibly laughing.


I was a second year associate and handling my first trial. I represented the plaintiff. The defendant had an expert witness who had testified previously in about 40 similar cases. This expert came out to my client's property and did a completely bulls**t examination of the issue and his expert report was equally as bulls**t. For those of you that don't know, expert testimony needs to meet a certain standard (the Daubert standard, at least in my state) in order to be admissible. This guy basically took some photos and put a ruler on the ground a few times to make his "report" seem legit.

The partners at my firm told me it wasn't worth trying to file a Daubert motion to strike his report/testimony because the case was low value (under $100k) and those types of motions can be very complex, and didnt want to bill the client for it. I was so angry about this guy being deemed an "expert" that i came in on a weekend, on my own time, and drafted a 20 page motion to strike his testimony. I didn't bill the client a dime.

The defendant didn't file a response to my Daubert motion to strike. Instead, they waited until right before the expert was set to testify (he had been sitting in court racking up fees for two full days beforehand). The judge had the jury leave the room, put the expert on the stand, and allowed the defendant to do a direct examination of their expert. The defendant's attorney, not taking my motion seriously, had their inexperienced associate (just like me) do the examination. It was incredibly basic and didn't respond to any of the points in my motion. I was in charge of doing his cross exam (it was my first cross exam of a witness, ever). I tore the guy, a seasoned expert witness, apart on the stand. I got his entire testimony and report struck.

They also had a second expert witness, who was pretty terrible but not quite as terrible. I also did his cross exam. Realizing that they were in serious trouble without their primary expert, and their second expert at risk of getting struck, the lead counsel for the defendant (a named partner at a well known firm) did the direct exam for the second expert. I again did the cross. I got the second expert's testimony struck except for one very, very tiny area. So essentially he was forced to testify with both hands tied behind his back.

It was the most gratifying moment of my legal career so far.


I was on the losing end. Represented a guy who had bought a company and the company failed spectacularly within months due to a number of reasons I could attribute to the seller, and they had clearly lied about the company’s finances to induce him to buy. I was suing to rescind the deal, have your s**tty company back and give my guy his money back. I laid out my huge case and thought I had it in the bag, and then opposing counsel asked my guy:

“Isnt it true that you listed this business for sale a month ago” “Yes” “And you did sell it correct? You signed a purchase and sale?” “Yes but he never finished paying me, he has more payments to make. I’ll just give his money back when you guys give me my money back”

My idiot client had me suing over a company that he had legally sold. F**ker never told me. Game over on the spot.


I was trying a Criminal Sexual Conduct Case . My client was a stepfather of a 13 year old girl and an 8 year old boy . Allegedly my client " fingered " her on the living room couch while the 8 year old boy was in the room with them watching TV .Mom was in a rehab facility for drug and alcohol abuse. My theory of the case was that the girl made the case up because my client refused to pay for modeling classes for the girl . The boy testified and said he saw the criminal act from where he was sitting on a recliner . On cross examination I asked how he could see what happened since the lights were low ( nighttime ) and my client ( who is 6 foot tall and weighs 200 lbs. ) was in between them . He said that his story was what he was told to say by the sister and the prosecutor's victim coordinator .The prosecutor rested her case. I shut up and sat down . I presented no defense and it took the jury 3 minutes to find him not guilty.


An ex of mine read a reddit comment of mine making fun of her tattoos (that ironically enough, she braggingly posted to bad tattoo threads, so I don't see what the big deal was). In retaliation, she filed for a restraining order alleging sexual assault and rape threats.

In her written allegations, she straight up admitted that I don't have contact with her, that I'd spent most of the last year living 2000 miles away from her, and that the only time she'd seen me in the last 2 years, I'd deliberately avoided her. If that weren't enough, on our day in court, when the judge asked her what threat I represented to her safety, security, and privacy, she said "nobody should be able to say that about [her tattoos]." She literally forgot about all the made up sex offender stuff while talking to the judge.


Not a lawyer, but this is my favorite story in traffic court.

I got a ticket for going 75 mph on I-88 (Near Chicago)

The Officer wrote on the ticket I was going 88 mph on I-75. (Detroit south to Miami, not near Chicago)

I show up wearing a suit, because I have one suit, and I may as well wear it.

Judge calls on me asking me if I'm a lawyer. I say I am not, but I get to go first because I'm the only one in a suit.

Judge looks at the ticket, says 'You were going 88 on I-75? Officer X, what does this ticket say? Isn't I-75 out of our jurisdiction?'

At this point I open my mouth, and shut it, because I have the right to remain silent, may as well show the ability to be silent as well.

Officer says 'Your honor, at my age I have no idea what I wrote'.

Judge gives him a look, and throws my license back at me, in the plastic bag, says 'you are free to go'.

Always wear a suit to traffic court.


During jury selection, I'm sitting in the courtroom while the current prospective jurors are being interviewed. The *defense* lawyer asks each of them in turn:
"Given a presumption of innocence, do you believe that someone who walks next door and shoots his neighbor dead can be acting in self-defense?"
I absolutely boggled.
That might be the most incompetent defense lawyer in the history of defense lawyers.


Not me, but a lawyer that worked for us. Opposing counsel held up an opinion document to support their position. Our counsel calmly said the document did not say what they were contending. Opposing counsel said; “you are obviously unfamiliar with this document. “ our counsel responds “I wrote it.” No further questions.


It wasn't super dramatic, but for some reason opposing counsel included an Exhibit that was highly detrimental to their client's case. I was prepared to ignore it thinking it was entered in error, but opposing counsel spoke to it in what I believe was an effort to head off an argument I wasn't going to make. Opposing counsel went on to make a very strange and convoluted argument showing that my presumed rebuttal fell short of some nebulous standard.

I let counsel speak, and when it was my turn I said we did not enter this evidence nor is it our intention to rely on it, and I immediately pivoted back to the argument I had prepared.

We won and we got more than we should have.

Always be the voice of reason.


IANAL, but I saw the best court moment ever.

So there is this person I know that was charged with murder. He was very young and is on the spectrum. After several hours of interrogation, he gave a false confession. The confession was complete s**t and contained details that were easy to prove as false.

The defendant's lawyer is questioning the detective that was involved in the interrogation. It comes out that the detective attended a training course on how to interrogate suspects just 3 months before the defendant was arrested. It in the detective was supposed to learn a specific technique that prevents false confessions. This technique was clearly not used when the defendant was questioned.

L: "So, you learned [specific technique] but didn't use it. Did you not really learn the technique?"

D: "Ummm, I don't understand the question. I learned about [specific technique] at the training course. I know how to use [specific technique]!"

L: "But you didn't use it. You are aware that the style of interrogation you used leads to false confessions?"

D: "I don't know what you want me to say."

L: "So did you forget something you learned 3 months ago? Or did you purposely not do what you were supposed to because you wanted the defendant to be guilty, no matter what the truth is?"

D: "I don't understand the question."

L: "Are you bad at your job because you are incapable of learning or is it because you don't want to find the real culprit?"

The lawyer backed the detective into a corner for 5 mins of what I'll paraphrase as "Are you stupid or are you corrupt?" There was no other option. Eventually the lawyer took pity on the dumb cop and let him get off the witnesses stand.

The defendant was acquitted.


My brother went to court to gain some custody rights of his daughter. Ex-wife says he shouldn't be allowed to be alone with the daughter cuz he looks at porn. The judge, who happened to be a woman, laughed and said, "honey, if every man who looked at porn wasn't allowed to see their children then there would be no child with a daddy in this world".


Not a lawyer, but I'm currently in a custody battle. Mother is saying I can't be trusted because I've been refusing to take our child to the therapist. The therapist testified I couldn't bring our child in because therapy must have both parents' consent, and mother has retracted consent.


Not a lawyer but got robbed at gun point in my home. Long story short, he would have gone to prison anyway but the kicker is that the shoes he wore to court were the same shoes he stole from my house. Judge asked if I wanted them back. I said yes. Judge made him take them off in court and walk back in socks. Donated the shoes, it was more about the principle.


I was a public defender. I had a client who was a real s**t head, like complete and total s**t head. This guy literally couldn't walk down the street without committing multiple felonies (that was hyperbole, but still).

Anyway a guy he was known to have issues with was shot, not shot and killed, just shot. Everyone knew it was my client. Both of the guys were fairly well known around the courthouse and when the news got out about the guy being shot I immediately thought he was probably shot by my client (note I had not been appointed to represent him at this point). I mean after all my client had previously shot at (but missed) this guy. The detectives immediately went out and arrested this guy. He didn't keep his mouth shut when arrested, but also didn't incriminate himself (his statement was just him requesting the cops perform oral sex on him in various different ways).

Anyways, I knew about this guy and his reputation, and his beef with the guy who shot, and when I looked at the charging documents, I was like yeah he probably did it, I'll just wait on the discovery and see how bad it is before we start talking plea. Anyways, I get the discovery back. The cops barely did any investigation. They interviewed a few people on-scene, they recovered some shell casings on-scene, and just decided that was all that was needed. They didn't send the casings or other evidence to the lab. They didn't get contact info for a few of the witnesses (so no way to track them down for the trial). They didn't canvass the area to check for security cameras. Basically every basic simple thing you could possibly do on a crime scene, they failed to do. I filed a motion to dismiss saying there was no evidence, the prosecutor looked it over and came back with an incredibly generous plea deal. We declined, refused any continuances, and got a really quick trial date. The state presented their case, I filed a motion at the conclusion of their case and pointed out how they did literally nothing but arrest my client purely on rumors and reputation and did no real investigation. Case was dismissed.

Since I know the questions that will be asked, I'm fairly confident my client was guilty and would have been convicted had there been any real investigation conducted at all. And both my client and the guy he was accused of shooting were shot and killed in separate (but likely related incidents) the following summer.


This was in a custody dispute, jury trial. We represented the father of young twins, and the mother wanted child support. The issue was that, for the past three years, they had been sharing the kids EXACTLY 50-50, as in he got a weekend, she got a weekend, one of them got Monday Tuesday, the other got Thursday Friday, and they split Wednesday. There was no reason not to have a shared custody order with each parent paying their own expenses, but she thought she could get more, so there we were.

The thing was, she did not have a case. She kept taking the kids to CPS and child psychologists before the trial to make a reason why she should have primary custody, but we managed to get all of that excluded.

So on the day of the trial, her big argument is that these kids have asthma. Severe asthma. The kind of asthma that requires special equipment, and the father is ignoring these issues. He's negligent. He's endangering them. She should have custody.

The trial is generally going our way. She's not a great witness, she doesn't have any medical records to back up these allegations, and we have the children's daycare teacher testifying that she doesn't know anything about any special equipment or severe asthma. But the moment that sealed the deal came when the mother called her last witness.

The last witness to testify was the children's grandmother, the mother's mother. The jury already knew that she frequently babysat the two kids, and that her apartment was often a drop-off location for the kids. The mother swore that the grandmother never smoked in front of the kids, and that her apartment was not a dangerous environment for asthmatic children. The grandmother was called last minute by the mother as a rebuttal witness.

As she took the stand, the grandmother leaned over into the microphone and cleared her throat.


It was a two or three second long expression of smoky phlegm. I don't recall exactly what the grandmother said in her testimony, but I remember she sounded like decades of three-pack-a-day smoking when she said it.

After a half-hour of deliberations, the jury awarded primary custody to the father. He immediately started crying, while the mother sat motionless. It was a good result.


My phone rang in court and forgot to put it on silent. The ringtone was the mortal kombat theme song.


I work for an attorney whose client wanted custody of his kids. At that time the mom was claiming that he was an unfit parent and that he drank and partied too much. Trial wraps up and an officer comes in an puts the dad in handcuffs, much to all of our surprise. Apparently the guy had an outstanding warrant for a DUI. He didn’t win custody.


(Im the victim of the case.) There was a guy being charged with 3 counts of sexual misconduct (2 from when i was a minor and one from when i was 18). There wasn't much for evidence for the case at all. No undeniable proof that he did any of it. All the state had going for them was me and my testimony. He was already in prison for unrelated charges (went to prison right after the time i was 18). Because he was in prison, they had access to all of his calls and letters. One day, he decided to confess to being completely alone with me all night, where no one else could hear us, and that was enough to make even the state attorney facepalm and call him an idiot. Prior to the call, they would have had a much better chance at fighting, because he and all of his family are willing to do anything to keep him out of trouble, including lying under oath. Had he not talked to the person on the phone about that night, we could have very easily lost. However, because of it, it sounds like his lawyer told him that his only chance at all is a plea bargain, which he eventually took.


Corporate lawyer, so I don’t have cases to rest. But once opposing counsel was forcefully insisting that it was ridiculous for me to expect a certain provision in a contract we were negotiating, and I pointed out that this provision was standard in his own firm’s contract forms, as I knew from several prior transactions I’d worked on across from them. Pretty exciting stuff.

He took it in stride and said (jokingly), “Well, of course it’s fine when we ask for it.”


IP lawyer - deep in a set of terms and conditions on a website, our client's details (name and contact details) where listed. So it is very evident that they just copy pasted our client's legal terms and conditions and missed a couple of details they needed to change.

I was handed the matter, did a quick ctrl+F for client details, and it was an open and shut case.

Not really that impressive, but saved me hours of time going through each term one after the other, noting exact similarities for a letter of demand.


It wasn't at trial, though we had one of those and I won it easily. Just always stuck with me because of how clearly the law supported my position to the point that it was inarguable otherwise (and also because of how ridiculous the claim of monetary damages was).

Guy moved out of his apartment, turned in his keys, then came back fifteen days later demanding access so that he could retrieve belongings that he had left behind which at that point had been trashed. It was just some minor furniture-type items (lamp shade is the only thing I clearly remember) and a box of his college notebooks (i.e. notes he took during class). He is furious and sues the landlord in small claims for $5,000 (state maximum) because his notebooks have such huge value apparently.

They hire me and I respond which moves the case out of small claims (it's just the way it works here after time in r/legaladvice I know this is not the case for every state but our rule is better than yours, but enough aside). This puts him at a huge disadvantage because now he can't rely on the lax rules of small claims so he goes out and hires a lawyer. The lawyer calls me to try to talk settlement, I know her pretty well so I wasn't rude or anything, but I kind of scoffed and was like no that won't be happening and direct her attention to a particular state statute then read it out loud to her. This statute unlike everything else in the law isn't overly long or wordy or hard to follow, it just says bluntly that when someone actually moves out and gives notice of this, items left after ten days are abandoned, period, end of story. I could feel her deflate on the phone and encouraged her to dismiss the suit. She did not, we proceeded to a short bench trial in district court that we won.


So I’m fighting a DWI case and the cop is a lying liar who is telling big lies about what signs he saw on the field sobriety test that my client was allegedly intoxicated. The state had not moved expeditiously enough to have a copy of all of the evidence in the case. So we got him up on the stand talking all about how my clients looked on the horizontal gaze nystagmus eye test, then buried him with his own body camera footage which he thought had been destroyed. It wasn’t.

The judge, the newly elected Democrat in Texas, made findings on the record that the police officer had intentionally lied and misrepresented the truth. The state still tried to fight the case, but it came out the right way.


I represented a man in a slip and fall case in a national chain that grills chicken. The restaurant is not supposed to clean the grills until after they close because it is a huge sloppy mess that involves using a garden hose after applying chemicals to remove all of the grease. The close down process can take up to two to three hours that involve packing up the food for the next day, scrubbing the grills, mopping, etc. Even though the corporation knew this, they refused to pay more than one hour worth of wages after closing time. Thus, the shift managers and cooks decided that they would start the closing process two hours before closing while there were still customers in the restaurant. This is really dangerous as employees delivering food can track the greasy water into the lobby where the customers were.

On one fateful day, two hours before closing, one of the cooks was cleaning the grills and using the hose to wash them down. This slurry is so slick that the cook has to wear a plastic smock and slip resistant shoes for the process. While he was waiting for the chemicals to remove the grease which takes about 15 minutes, the cook goes into the lobby tracking this stuff into a hallway to wipe down some tables. My client walks out of the restroom and slips in the greasy water. He hits his head so hard that it causes a subdural hematoma which requires surgery to relieve the swelling and blood from the brain. Go figure, the video system wasn't working that day.

In any case, right after that the cook was fired and the corporation claimed that they could not locate him during litigation. I did some research and found a relative of the cook which eventually led to me finding him. He admitted that he was cleaning the grill, but denied that he was the one that tracked the greasy water into the lobby as did all of the other employees. The corporation during the entire three week trial testified that cleaning before closing was against their policy and it NEVER happens. Thus, it had to be anything else that caused my client to fall.

I was talking to the cook before trial because we were going to call him as a witness. He was pissed that they fired him. I asked, "Do you think they are still cleaning before closing because they are denying that they do." He told me, "Absolutely." On the first day of trial, I sent my investigator to the restaurant at the time my client was injured which was two hours before closing to record video on his cell phone whether they were cleaning or not. Guess what, they had the hose out and everything. I couldn't believe that they would continue to do this at the restaurant at issue in the case. I told my investigator to go back up there when there is a different shift manager and cook to see if they are doing the same thing. They were.

At the end of the trial, the defense put on their general manager for the region. He swore up and down that this never happens. He was their last witness. We get up and say, Judge we need a side bar. In the Judge's chambers we revealed the videos to the other side. The attorney for the corporation was freaking out. The Judge let it in for rebuttal.

The last thing the jury saw before going into deliberations was five minutes of video with audio of the hose as they were cleaning the grills two hours before closing. We completely wiped out their entire defense in a three week trial with that video. Needless to say, we prevailed.

I should add, using sub rosa video against a defendant like this is very rare. They usually stop doing what they are not supposed to be doing during the trial. I guess the restaurant didn't get the memo.


My mom is a lawyer and this was a black women who was a accused of stealing. My mother is also black (I'm mixed) and this is how it went.

Plaintiff lawyer:please point out the accused/defendant. Officer: points at my mom Mom:I'm the lawyer, officer. Judge: dismisses case


This isn’t an “I rest my case” moment, but it was a damn fun cross examination. I was defending an alimony case, and in my state cohabitation with a new lover is a bar to alimony. We had had a PI on the plaintiff’s tail for a few months and she and opposing counsel had no clue. I had a mountain of evidence that the plaintiff had moved in a new boyfriend and they were essentially husband and wife without the marriage certificate. So, if I could prove cohabitation, she didn’t get alimony. On cross examination, I’d set her up with a question I knew she’d lie about and then hit her with a photo contradicting her. “So it’s your testimony that John Doe never visited your house?” “Oh, so do you have an explanation for why he’s walking in your front door in this photo?” “So he did come over, but never stayed overnight?” “I see, do you have an explanation for why his car was parked outside of your overnight on, X, X, X, X, and X nights as seen in these photographs?”

For a solid 45 minutes to an hour I’d ask a question, she’d lie, and then I’d impeach her with a photo directly contradicting her. I was catching her in a lie per minute or more. She never wised up, either. After the first few times you’d think she’d tell the truth knowing that I’d just catch her in another lie, but nope. She just kept on lying. Again, it wasn’t the flashiest or even an “I rest my case” type moment, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on cross. In the subsequent order the court made the specific finding that the Plaintiff’s testimony was “without an iota of credibility.”


I was in a gang related jury trial for attempted murder. Defendant was a known Crip and the Victim was a Blood. Against his attorneys advice, the Defendant testified. Defendant had a tattoo on his arm that said "BK". I asked him what "BK" meant and he replied with "Blood Killer". I was shocked he said what it actually meant, but in retrospect, I guess I shouldn't have been since he actually decided to testify.


Any time you win a Motion for a Judgment of Aqcuital is pretty fun.

An MJoA is a motion the criminal defense attorney makes immediately following the conclusion of the prosecution's case. The motion is essentially saying, "Even if you believe all of the prosecutor's evidence, including the testimony of their witnesses, you still cannot convict my client."

I had a case recently where the prosecutor failed to establish that the incident occurred within the court's jurisdiction. So, because the prosecutor failed to ask its witnesses, "Where did this occur?" or something along the lines of "Did these events happen in X county?", I win.

It feels like a "gotcha" tactic or exploiting a loophole, but I can almost guarantee that the prosecutor won't make that mistake again. Also, it is


My time in court was preceded by people who had license violations but had not yet gotten proper licensing. I was called up to the stand, identified and so forth, the judge asked "Have you since gotten a proper license?" "Yes, your Honor." I held it up. "Dismissed!"


I argued a conversion case before a state court of appeals (over a painting of a 1950s era SEC coach commissioned and paid for by our clients, who loaned to the current coach, but was put in storage by new coach and “found” by other guy). My friend won at trial court but asked me to write and argue the appeal for him.

It was my first appellate argument so I worked my butt off. Had three ring binders with tabs I could flip to that went along with my argument outline. Practiced with friends. Barely slept the night before. I was pumped and prepared.

Other side appealed so they go first. Get HAMMERED by the Court. It was kinda painful but also terrifying, because I was next. I figured I was gonna get just as roasted.

My turn comes up. I start my long-rehearsed presentation and almost immediately get interrupted with a question. Direct to my point, essentially making it for me. I agree with the Court and go to continue my argument. Get interrupted again with a question, again on point, agree and answer and before I move on get a third question, essentially closing my case for me.

I realize I can only hurt myself if I go on, as the Court is OBVIOUSLY on my side. I ask “Can I answer any other questions for the Court?” The bench says no, I thank them and take my seat.

20 minutes of argument available to me and I used 3. We won.


As a someone taking my former employer to an employment tribunal, one of the parts they denied was the base roster of days based at 7:24 mins, my barrister said, well why do all of your rosters and pay records have that as a base day, they denied it, my barrister turned to there legal guy and said so these papers from HR that show all pay records for my grade are based on a 7 hour 24 min day, he said, yes they do!


Once had fairly standard RTC case - my client going round a roundabout in a small car got sideswiped by a lorry driver. Claim for damages, loss of earnings and the rest.

Other side's entire case rested on whether the lorry driver saw my client or not (as we could prove from CCTV that my client was well within her lane, within speed limits and generally on solid ground legally speaking).

Their client gets into the witness box and is asked if he saw my client (while you can't ask leading questions to your own client, a napkin could tell he was being prodded towards saying no).

The man promptly responds: "Aye I did, but the b**** shouldn't have been where she was."

My cross examination consisted of getting him to repeat that answer and then sitting down.

To date the easiest day in Court I ever had.


So I typically do Plaintiffs work for corporations but one of my clients was getting sued by a former contractor for work allegedly performed right before he was fired in the amount of $150k. I had never dealt with opposing counsel, she was about my age (32) and seemed nice heading up to trial. The day of our pretrial just 5 days before trial she tells me in the elevator "I hope you know I'm going to kick your ass in trial" I laughed and she said "no really, you are screwed". Trial comes and she drags out her case over 5 days and I start to get the impression her client made up the invoices with her help. She finally rests her case and I called her client as my only witness. He immediately testified his attorney showed him how to make the invoices. The judge wouldnt allow them into evidence, she lost her case and was sanctioned $5k for falsifying evidence. She appealed and the court of appeals ripped into her. Needless to say, I didnt get my ass kicked.


Not a lawyer, but I won a traffic court case with no words and just a piece of paper.

I was given a ticket for reckless driving of 100+ mph at 2a on a Monday night after coming home from work. Problem being, my 4 cylinder Chevy s10 had a governor on the engine that did not allow the car travel more than 87 mph.

Printed specs from Chevy and highlighted the line. Judge smirked and said I could go, but “slow down, cause something tells me you were still speeding.”

That moment of eye contact with the cop on the way out...priceless.


Not as a lawyer, but a defendant. I was a concierge and named in a lawsuit against the building by an unlicensed realtor who was barred from entry after headbutting me while he was wearing a bike helmet. He was representing himself in court.

He cross examines me over how I had barred him from entry and had some preamble about the vendetta I had against him. Then asked me to repeat what I said when I asked him to leave the building.

I responded, "I'm sorry, was that before or after you hit me?"

He immediately answered, "After I hit you." Took him a minute but his face fell pretty far after he caught on to what he just admitted.

Case dismissed.


Very abbreviated - I was prosecuting a convenience store owner for luring a young girl, who regularly came into the store, back to a part of the store to grope/fondle and kiss her (child enticement). It was the only section of the store without surveillance camera coverage. They were in the back room for about two minutes and seventeen seconds, per the timestamp on the videos. Of the many arguments the defense put on, one was there was no way there was enough time for anything to happen. In my rebuttal on closing, I asked the jury to imagine what could happen in the room in that amount of time, and I asked them to all close their eyes while I timed out 2 minutes and 17 seconds on my watch, in silence. After about 60 seconds two of the jurors started crying. Knew it was going to be guilty right then.


I'm not a lawyer, but I took my old landlord to court when I was in college. They stole my security deposit over bulls**t: They claimed I "trashed" the place, not knowing that I took pictures and video when I moved in and out. Their "evidence" was a VHS quality recording of going through a perfectly clean apartment in better condition than it was when I moved in, but then they opened up the top of the stove and found a single piece of elbow macaroni under it, holding it up triumphantly. That was the crux of their "defense", the judge was not amused and I got all my money back plus my lawyer fees and the filing fee. She then fought against her own lawyer to avoid paying him. As**ole. Edit: Any time you move into a place, take pictures, take video, make notes about any damage. When you move out, do the same thing along with noting any repairs you made. Pretty hard to argue against solid evidence. Protect yourself.


Corporate lawyer but this was on a pro bono housing matter.

My client just needed to not lose her housing, I was trying to get her on one year probation (but would agree to two) instead of termination.

On the day of the hearing, I had six summer associates come with me each carrying huge binders.

When my hearing was about to begin I had them all bring them in and sit them in front of me.

The opposing lawyer was a very overworked nyc housing attorney who had budgeted an hour that day for my hearing.

She instantly goes “what is this?”

I told her it was my arguments. She said she didn’t have the time.

I started off on a two minute opening I had prepared then grabbed one of the binders and she was like “let me stop you there. What do you want?”

I said three months probation, she countered with a year, ended up agreeing on six months.

The binders were all empty.


Several years ago there was a big drug bust in my town where the cops arrested about a dozen people in this garage and charged them with manufacture/delivery/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (drug dealing), conspiracy, and criminal organization (known as RICO in other places). I was appointed to represent one of the people found in the building when the drug task force raided the place. The police filed an eight page affidavit of probable cause (most are one to two pages for most other cases) detailing their surveillance of this criminal enterprise and the comings and goings of various participants and their roles in the enterprise. I read all eight pages and realized that the only place my client's name appeared was on page seven, where it said "The following individuals were present at the garage when the warrant was executed: Person 1, Person 2, Person 3...." So he was there the day the drug task force raided the place but there was no mention of his involvement in the criminal enterprise.

His bail was set at $250,000.00 which is ridiculously high, and the District Attorney refused to agree to a lower amount at his preliminary hearing. I filed a motion for bail reduction and showed up at the hearing loaded for bear. The DA calls the case, I approach the front, and the Judge jumps right in before I could even open my mouth (usually counsel makes their arguments first, the judge asks any questions of us he has, then he makes his decision). The Judge looks directly at me and says he's read the affidavit of probable cause. He says what is alleged in there is pretty serious, and a big deal in our small town. He noted how the task force had the place under surveillance for weeks to build their case which ultimately resulted in their raid. And if the allegations can be proven, the defendants are facing some serious consequences.... BUT he says, now turning to face the DA, he saw that my client's name appeared ONLY ONCE in the ENTIRE affidavit, and it makes no mention of his involvement in the drug enterprise.

The Judge asks the DA "Why shouldn't I grant defense's motion for bail reduction?" The DA stammers "uh uh uh we have uh evidence that this defendant was uh involved with picking up the material from Philadelphia and transporting it here". The Judge looks at her again and says "did I miss that in the affidavit?" She replies no, they just recently found that out. The Judge turns to me ans asks me if I have anything to add. There I was, fully prepared to make this passionate argument for why my client's bail should be reduced: the deficiencies in the affidavit, my client's advanced age, his lack of a criminal record in the past 20 years, etc. I stood there trying my best not to smirk and said "I have nothing to add your Honor".

Motion granted, bail reduced.


Pro bono case. Representing woman who was trying to get a permanent protective order against her boyfriend.

I ask her if he has contacted her since the temporary order was issued (which is a crime).

She says yes, he called her three times.

Defendant: Objection your honor.

Judge: State the grounds for your objection please.

D: The facts! I only called her once!

Me: closes file and sits down