Something these lawyers openly talked about in a recent Reddit post where they were asked about the dumbest things they needed to explain to their clients.


1. PHONE CALLS WILL BE RECORDED

When I was a legal intern at a criminal defender's law office, we had a client who was charged with murder. We explained to the client not to make any phone calls saying anything incriminating because it will be recorded. Where prisoners can use the phone there is a GIANT SIGN that says "PHONE CALLS WILL BE RECORDED". On top of that, before you are able to call our there is an automated recording that tells you that all calls are being recorded and monitored (unless it is to your attorney, which are covered by privilege). Client made a call to his girlfriend that evening asking her to hide the gun.


2. "But...it's FLORIDA."

I had to explain to a client why their ex-husband could travel with their child to Florida without obtaining a passport. As in, I had to tell them that Florida was part of the United States.


3. Lawyers make money?

That they had to pay me. This is more common than you'd think. For some reason, some people think lawyers are like their personal spiritual guides or fairy godmother.


4. So, how do we get out of this one?

That you really can go to jail if we lose at trial.


5. I read it somewhere.

Not to a client, but other party. I was acting for a particular manufacturer. They were sued for an injury incurred by someone using a product made by a different manufacturer. I rang their lawyer and said I was acting for A and I didn't understand why A had been named as defendant in the suit but the body of the claim said the plaintiff had been injured by a product made by B. I asked if it was a monster typo or what?
The response was that they thought A was the manufacturer of products sold under the name B. Now that isn't inherently stupid, I guess. So I said that had no basis in fact whatsoever, and that A and B were unrelated competitors, and asked (as a matter of curiosity) how they had reached the conclusion that A were the manufacturer of B.
The response was along the lines of "someone in the office, I think it was maybe Jim one of our clerks, who thought he'd read somewhere that B were made by A". That was it. No checking of the product paperwork. No company searches. No brand name register searches. No enquiries with our client or B. Not even an effin' google. Just some guy in the office had once heard.
And on that basis they issued a very financially sizeable product liability suit.


6. Then what is entrapment, Mr. LAW GUY?!

That your boss sending you to a drug test after he walked in on you snorting cocaine off your desk does not qualify as entrapment. You can not sue him.


7. But they sent an email!

That he hadn't really won a 20 million euro European super lottery from Australia that he'd never entered and that it was a good thing that his family, bank and church wouldn't lend him the $2000 they said they needed to verify his identity (on top of the several hundred he'd already sent them) and that yes, his priest was right it was a scam.
This was during a clinic at a free community legal center. The poor guy had limited English and only $20 left in his bank account and he really did not want to let go of the 20 million euro dream. His priest had sent him to us for advice because he wasn't having any luck talking sense into the old guy himself and thought lawyers might help.


8. But I do stuff like that when I'm sober all the time.

It doesn't matter if you were sober or not. You jumped out of a third story window with a beer bottle and threw it at a cop. The jury is going to think you were drunk. Also, I think you were drunk.


9. ...But why though?

I had a client once who was in trouble for stealing sample medications from a hospital. We got security footage from the DA as part of the evidence and when it came down we watched it together. The camera was literally 10 ft away in a well lit room and we watched her shovel prescription samples into a garbage bag and walk off. After it was done she turned to me and asked if I thought she was going to be able to get off... I said no.


10. When you gotta go...

Don't signal to the judge you need to use the restroom during your trial by making eye contact and vigorously nodding while urgently pointing at your crotch.


11. Who's the real victim here?

In my state we have this thing called Victim's Compensation.
An oversimplification of how it works goes as follows: If you are the victim of a crime, and suffer some form of injury (e.g. psychological, physical, etc.) you can apply for a payment from state funds. If you are the perpetrator of one of those crimes (e.g. an assault, robbery, paedophilia, etc.) an order can be made for you to pay the state back an amount relating to that victim's compensation.
I had a client who felt the process of being convicted for assaulting his relatives, and having to pay victims compensaation back to the state was arduous... and in return, he should be receiving victim's compensation from the state.
... so that was fun to explain.
(edit: explanation was "you are not the victim in that...")


12. That's not how bankruptcy works...

I once had a client who wanted to declare bankruptcy. I explained he needed to have his tax returns for the past few years filed in order to do so. He said he hadn't filed taxes in 20 years because "It ain't none of the government's business how much money I make."


13. Stop telling people all the illegal stuff you did.

Why they should not have called the cops to tell them exactly what they did that violated the restraining order.


14. Breaking Bad.

From this week: Client: So I dont smoke meth, I think its from unprotected sex Me: So you would like me to explain to the judge its ok, you just bang methheads Client: yeah


15. But you're my lawyer.

A lawyer can't out and out lie. You said to them "yeah I burned his fucking house down and pissed on the ashes" he can't say you were two states away....
That blew some my students heads.


16. So...we're all in the clear, right?

I once had to explain to a client that he could, in fact, fire an employee for (1) stealing significant sums of money from the safe, (2) pulling a gun on a co-worker who questioned these activities, and (3) waving said gun in a customer's face moments later, all of which were on camera.


17. Oh. My. God.

Represented a client charged with statutory rape who had a large number of...'explanations' for the various evidence in his case that I had to explain would not be a good idea to testify to or argue to the jury:
  • The KY Jelly you purchased with the kid at WalMart was not for applying to an undiagnosed skin condition on your chest
  • The hundreds of pages of internet chat logs prior to traveling hundreds of miles to meet the kid, consisting of repeated explicit sexual overtures, emotional manipulation, lies about your age and wealth, and specific plans for how you would remove him from his parents home were not "meaningless banter"
  • The fact that you had an active prescription for Viagra does not mean you are "asexual"
  • The semen matching your DNA did not find its way into the rectum of the 13 year old boy because of your medical condition that results in "leakage" and the fact that when you are staying in a hotel room, you do not lift the toilet seat when you urinate, which must have resulted in in the material being deposited on the seat and transferred to the boy when he sat on the seat
  • You were not the victim, taken advantage of by the hypersexual teenager for whom you were you merely trying to provide innocent "emotional support"
I had to explain all of these things (and others) many times. Im not sure he ever actually believed any of them.


18. Jews don't celebrate Memorial Day.

When a client called me this past memorial day and I asked why she was calling me on a holiday, she replied that she didn't think Jews celebrated Memorial day. Never thought that I would have to explain that to anyone.
Edit : to answer some of the questions, yes I am Jewish, no I never told her I was Jewish. I have an answering service which took her call and emailed me the message which was that it was very urgent that she speak with me that day. Given that the courts were closed and her case was a paternity and child support matter, I thought it had to be quite the emergency. It was not. She just wanted to ask whether the suspected father was required to take the DNA test ordered by the court. I then had to explain what paternity meant.


19. Baby oil.

I sat in on a case once where the plaintiff's lawyer had to explain to her that it wasn't a slip and fall if she brought the baby oil with her in a squeeze bottle and applied it to the floor herself. The woman then began to act like she didn't speak or understand English after. It was bizarre.