People are often quick to say the phrase “sleazy lawyer” is redundant. Whether you agree with it or not, here are some examples of the most despicable things Quora users have seen lawyers do.
Years ago, my brother got into some pretty serious trouble with the law. We hired a lawyer, and my brother was pretty much let off the hook. One condition for his release was that he would have to stay in school, and when he graduated, he could have his record cleared. It was a pretty cut-and-dry deal.
About a year before he graduated, the lawyer called us up and said for a pretty hefty fee, he could have the record cleared now. My folks paid the fee, and we went to court. We were in for a rude awakening.
The same judge presided and asked why we were there. There was no record of the proceeding, and he hadn’t yet graduated. Request denied.
We spoke to the lawyer, and he nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders and said the Judge was wrong, and that we should try again, for more money of course.
Basically, he hadn’t filed the motion and took my parent’s money knowing that it would fail.
He did that to a lot of his clients apparently and was recently disbarred in Maryland.
From what I hear, he’s in New Mexico doing the same scam.
When my wife left me, I assumed she would leave our 4-year-old daughter with me as she didn’t have a good relationship with her, complained about her all the time, and resented me for not letting her give her up for adoption after I married her (her main objective in getting pregnant). I was in for a rude awakening.
Her attorney approached me after a few weeks of me not knowing where my daughter was, acting very nice and telling me she essentially wanted a peaceful divorce and that she basically saw herself as representing me equally with my wife. She said her primary concern was reuniting me with my daughter ASAP.
She offered to let me see her right away if I just signed the papers that she put together for that purpose. When I tried to read them, she pulled them back upset that I was insulting her, that she didn’t have time, and that she was doing me a big favor, so I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak. That should have been a red flag.
She threatened to walk away and told me it might take many months to see my daughter otherwise, if at all.
So, being young and stupid and missing my daughter terribly, I signed them. She said I did the right thing and left quickly, ignoring my question as to how long it would take to see my daughter.
After a few more weeks, the attorney finally agreed to meet me in her office where she proudly and nastily announced that I had agreed to essentially give up custody, almost all visitation rights, pay a ridiculous amount of child support, etc.
She made it very clear she outsmarted me and that I was an idiot. She made sure to point out that my wife’s wedding and engagement rings now belonged to her. She was wearing them on a chain around her neck.
I borrowed money to get my own attorney who got me to see my daughter right away, etc.
But then it got worse. Following advice from her attorney, my ex-wife accused me of taking advantage of my daughter. The court immediately suspended my visitation citing the possible danger to her.
At the same time, they ordered psychological testing to determine if the allegations were true. My ex simply made up one excuse after another to miss her appointments. She did that for over a year before the doctor threatened to complain to the court.
The doctor’s report called the allegations completely false and stated that “the father is by far the more nurturing parent” “virtually all of the hostility in the marriage originates from the mother” and “the child not only prefers the father, but she has considerable anger toward the mother for taking her away from her father”.
But here’s the trick.
The whole point of the accusations and delays was to keep my daughter with her mother for as long as possible. Her attorney argued that the child has been only with the mother for over a year and due to her age and the anxiety over the divorce, it would be harmful to the child to make a change in her established living habits.
Apparently, the court puts a premium on avoiding making any changes in the child’s life. Accordingly, they denied me full custody and instead ordered joint custody with my daughter living with her mother and only visitation with me. My attorney told me such tactics are standard procedure.
My ex never paid the doctor his fees and also stiffed her attorney who sued her for her fees, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t pay them all in the end.
My daughter, once she grew up, walked out on her mother permanently and refuses any contact with her.
I was impaled in the back by a drug-addled lunatic on the front steps of my fraternity house. Other than spending the night in the emergency room and a few weeks of soreness, I was OK. Fortunately, the lunatic was quickly caught. When he was busted, they recovered a bloody 3-inch-lock-blade pocket cutter.
The officers quickly determined that the lunatic was a felon on parole from a previous offense. Parolees are expressly forbidden to possess deadly weapons lest they have their parole revoked. The lunatic was jailed over the weekend until we could have a parole revocation hearing.
At the hearing, I testified that I had seen the blade in his hand as he swung it toward me. (Frankly, that’s not something you ever forget).
During final arguments, the lunatic’s lawyer said, “Well, it wasn’t a deadly weapon because the victim [me!] did not die".
This moronic statement failed to sway the judge.
The lunatic had another trial for the aggravated assault charge, was found guilty, and spent the next six years in prison—two to finish the sentence for the prior offense and four more for stabbing me.
I was testifying against the serial predator who had accosted me and several other girls. The judge frequently had testimony paused while looking at paperwork and his computer with the clerk.
During one of those pauses, the defense attorney made faces at me. Like a grade schooler behind the back of a hated teacher. I couldn't believe it.
Another pause came, and he did it again. When the judge looked up, he turned it into a fake yawn.
When he did it a third time, I said, “Stop making faces at me"!
The judge looked up in shock, and the lawyer stood up and said, “Your Honor, I did no such thing. Perhaps she needs a psych eval".
The judge never even asked me what happened. He just said, “Young lady, you cannot simply shout out in court. You could force me to find you in contempt of court. Don’t do it again". Then he went back to the paperwork and his clerk.
For the rest of my testimony, the lawyer openly smirked at me. In the cross-examination, he said things like “You clearly have an over-active imagination, don’t you"? Followed by a sneer. I wanted to scream.
I was 15 years old.
As an ethics lawyer, I have heard some pretty awful stories about ethical violations by lawyers. I will tell you about one I know firsthand because I spoke to the lawyer in question.
This person was not speaking with me as a potential client, which is why I can tell you about it. All of this information is public because it is contained within the disciplinary board website.
The thing that really struck me about this person is that he ended up being called before the disciplinary body two or maybe three times. The first time he was suspended for a short period after taking money from the trust account. (Lawyers keep special trust accounts where money is not to be touched until an appropriate time).
He paid back the money.
Then, in order to give him a second chance, he was hired by a firm as a paralegal. That was a huge mistake. Here in Pennsylvania, if you hire a suspended lawyer as a paralegal, you are required to take on responsibility for that lawyer’s conduct.
Well, this fellow lied to his boss and practiced law while suspended. In addition, he lied to the court about his name.
Since he was suspended and all, he had to give a different name. He kept hiding the disciplinary body letters from his boss. Finally, a lawyer from disciplinary counsel called the firm and spoke to the lawyer who had given this guy a second chance. Told him what was going on.
So in the end, this lawyer not only took money from his clients, but he almost destroyed the career of the other lawyer who was kind enough to give him a second chance.
Anyway, he ended up getting disbarred in one state and suspended for a long time in the other. In the second state, he will have to seek permission to practice again.
I needed a lawyer’s services for a one-time deal. Well after it was over, I got a call from the law office. “I just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing", he said. Confused, I participated in a minute or two of small talk before he excused himself.
The next week, it happened again. It was equally vague and pointless, and I was equally baffled by the aimless chitchat. I can't believe I didn't realize what was happening.
Soon after, I got a bill for two “phone consultations”, $100 each.
It didn't happen a third time. I stopped answering when his caller ID came up and I got a different attorney.
I just hired a new attorney and met with her twice before I retained her, she told me I had a really strong case and promised me big hopes and dreams that she would fight for me and bring me justice. I never should have trusted her. Once I paid her the $3,000 retainer, she disappeared. It’s been six weeks that I haven’t heard from her—she won’t return phone calls or emails.
I spoke with her office staff—so I know she is alive and well, and I can’t help but say this seems like she took my money and ran.
A local attorney had been an elected prosecuting attorney. He turned off so many voters that he lost his reelection campaign after his first term.
He returned to private practice. One of his clients was a convicted offender who happened to win the lottery. They got into a business deal to buy a golf course. The client would soon regret it.
The attorney forged documents that effectively gave him a half-interest in the golf course. When the client found out what had happened, the client hired another attorney, and they sued the former prosecutor.
After a jury trial, the client received a judgment of more than $300,000 for malpractice and swindling.
The loser filed for bankruptcy protection, but because the judgment was based on swindling, it wasn’t dischargeable in bankruptcy court.
Before the bankruptcy court even ruled on an objection to the dischargeability of the debt, instead of doing the right thing and figuring out how to pay the debt, he decided to hire a hitman to kill the winning attorney.
He was imprisoned and eventually pled guilty to solicitation of murder. He was sentenced to six to 20 years in prison in March 2015.
Just this past week, he asked the court to set aside his conviction, claiming his plea was involuntary and alleging some kind of conspiracy.
I once saw a San Francisco attorney work to evict an 88-year-old priest who had been living in the same house for 33 years. In the end, it was settled out of court, but their tactics were as slimy as they come. These included three eviction notices in one day, with the rent paid in full. The same lawyer also got his client to pay for a private investigator to look into every homeless person the priest accepted mail for. It cost many thousands but didn’t uncover a shred of evidence.
At the firm I used to practice at, each attorney would do a certain number of pro bono hours in a law clinic. On the court date for one of my pro bono cases, my client and I appeared at the allotted time. So did her opponent—but not his attorney.
Attorneys have a duty of care towards unrepresented individuals, and I was careful to explain what was going on and to call his attorney to find out where he was. Meanwhile, my client's opponent followed me around the court like a lost puppy. He was evidently very poor and had a very limited grasp of what was going on that day. It honestly broke my heart. His attorney was not acting pro bono.
Eventually, a flustered advocate arrived, ostensibly to represent him. But as the attorney had not briefed him (just called him in a panic as soon as he got off the phone with me), all he could do was ask for a postponement.
He mentioned too that this was one of many instructions for the same attorney, and that all of them were in a shambles. He was granted a postponement, though no doubt our opponent had to pay for his time that day.
Now, I knew a little about this attorney. Since he had left his contact details out of the court file (already an irregularity) I'd had to find him using Google to respond to his summons.
That was how I discovered that he was currently under investigation for the theft of trust money.
The money was for road accident fund claims, which means that his clients were likely quite poor and had high medical bills which the payment would have helped to settle.
I was super junior at the time; only a few months out of law school. I couldn't believe someone would do that.
It was the first "bad" lawyer I had ever encountered. I called my pro bono supervisor in a panic. The opponent was so poor and desperate, and his lawyer was so obviously wasting what little money he had. Was I allowed to tell him that his lawyer was under investigation?
She told me under no circumstances to speak to the opponent about his lawyer. It simply wasn't allowed.
After the matter was postponed, I waited and waited for the opponent's lawyer to request a new court date (he was the plaintiff), but he never did.
He basically ignored his client's matter completely.
After 30+ years in the practice of law, I've seen lots of despicable behavior.
However, nothing quite compares to the behavior of the Dayton (Ohio) Bar Association’s “ethics” counsel. In his position AS head ethics counsel, he instructed an investigatory attorney to LIE to opposing counsel and to actively HIDE evidence!
This incident was discovered when the investigatory attorney was deposed and, being under oath, answered questions truthfully.
Despite several judges (federal and state) and the members of the governing body of the DBA being knowledgeable about this incident, this attorney has NEVER faced discipline and continues in his position as ethics bar counsel.
Which begs a significant question: Why?
The Washington State Bar Association’s “ethics” department provides an example of this. In the late 1990s, a Tacoma lawyer had a client who had bought a bowling alley and came to the lawyer to form a corporation to hold the property. The lawyer noticed that the price he had paid was very low. He had bought it from an estate whose executor was a local judge.
The client explained that he had paid the judge a payoff to lower the price.
The lawyer waited until the statute of limitations had run (to prevent injury to the client) and filed a complaint with the state bar’s ethics department.
After hearing nothing for over a year, the lawyer asked the bar what was happening. The bar counsel told him that the matter was being investigated and the proceeding was secret. Finally, he got fed up.
The lawyer went to the local daily newspaper, which checked the matter and published the news.
The bar immediately suspended the lawyer from practice for a year for disclosing their secret investigation. About a year later they got around to issuing an “admonition” telling the judge not to take any more payoffs.
A middle-aged woman who was her family’s breadwinner lost her life due to medical negligence. The lawyer was contacted by a medical doctor who realized that the doctor in charge was negligent and that this woman need not have lost her life. She was a diabetic who was admitted to the hospital for chest pain.
The doctor discontinued or omitted to prescribe medication, specifically insulin and monitor her diabetes.
She was admitted for more than ten days and the attending physician saw her once on admission and then again to complete the obituary certificate. The medical records indicated that the physician did not attend the daily ward rounds as far as this patient was concerned.
He was a part-time employee by the state and also engaged in private practice.
The nursing notes indicated among other things that the patient had suffered a fall and possibly a lung infection and was drifting into a coma judging from her response to the nurse’s attention.
Now, this was a docile woman who never questioned people whom she trusted. Her children were too young and her husband was completely unaware. Before her becoming comatose she fell whilst on her way to the toilet. The doctor was called but he did not respond.
Anyway, she became comatose and the doctor did not manage her appropriately. Sadly this wonderful and trusting person wasn’t saved due to the callous negligence of the attending doctor and the records clearly indicated that he was negligent. His strategy in court was truly disgusting.
In a preliminary inquiry, he attempted to lay the blame at the feet of the nursing staff. He also attempted to intimidate his colleague who had contacted the lawyer to litigate and obtain some financial relief for the family following the passing of their mother. They were dirt poor and the father could not find employment and was suffering incapacitating ailments that precluded him from gaining and keeping a job.
A hopeless situation.
The head nurse or matron then sent one of her pretty young colleagues to persuade the doctor who was instrumental in exposing this negligence to literally lay on his back and forget the whole issue. Fortunately, this doctor did not take the bait and persisted in seeking some sort of financial compensation for the family.
The lawyer proceeded with the matter and the doctor was an expert witness committed to revealing the truth without fear or favor. The lawyer even claimed expert testimony fees on behalf of the doctor. The matter did not proceed to trial because of the strength of the case against the negligent doctor and hospital together with expert testimony both written and verbal.
Compensation was awarded to the family and the expert witness fee as was claimed by the attorney was paid into the attorney’s trust account. The attorney did not issue any disbursements to the expert witness and he had not expected any either due to the reason that he did not pursue the matter for financial gain.
He had expected that the attorney would pay out whatever fees and compensation to this indigent family and left it at that.
Many years later the doctor met the deceased woman’s youngest son who had by now grown up and was prosperous.
He owned the service station at which the doctor had stopped to replenish the fuel in his vehicle and have a cup of coffee to keep him refreshed and alert for the rest of his journey. During the conversation, the doctor mentioned that he had known the tragic circumstances of his mother’s passing and was involved in the matter of obtaining compensation for the family. That's when he learned the awful truth.
The man was shocked to hear about the matter and remembered that they were very poor and no such relief was forthcoming and his childhood was harsh.
He knew the lawyer in question who was extremely wealthy having invested in property. The lawyer was a prominent member of society, paid pilgrimage every year, and was considered a charitable man. He had three children two of whom followed his profession and one became a medical doctor. An altogether respectable and well-known family who were wealthy and highly regarded by the heights of society.
The doctor was very disappointed and made some inquiries to an articled clerk employed by the lawyer at the time of the medical negligence. It transpired that the lawyer had gobbled all the money and his wife who managed the finances at the practice was fully aware of the theft. Many years had passed and inflation would have eroded the value of the money.
The doctor occasionally sees the lawyer and his family but remains silent knowing that wealth is not a sign of honesty and decency. The lawyer is well into his eighties and it would be futile to expose his misdemeanor. One can just think about the number of times that he may have cheated the poor and defenseless.
It transpired that at some stage in his career, he was elected as chairman of the ethics committee by his peers. Karma and divine justice have been and are asleep to the despicable deed of this lawyer.
I was with someone once when they delivered a large quantity of ice to a lawyer in Berkeley from a large dope dealer for services rendered.
Large enough that it could not be for personal use so I would guess she was selling it. What, being a lawyer doesn't pay enough already?
At the end of 1990, an Assistant DA said to the jury:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we know that Joseph Gibson did not commit this offense. There is no evidence linking him to this offense and our only witness to the offense testifies that it was not him.
“We do suspect that it was his brother James who committed the offense, however, we can't prove that. Since we can not prosecute James we need to give Joseph the time we can't give his brother”.
At our local community college, a college professor was slaughtered in her classroom. No witnesses because the room was empty except for the victim. A college student, who was a semi-homeless man, was charged with the murder.
Of course, he claimed he was innocent. The jury convicted the man and he went off to prison. It turned out that the convicted man was on the other side of the campus when the murder occurred because the college had video cameras.
The prosecutor KNEW he was convicting an innocent man. The prosecutor’s attitude was that he gave the videotapes to the defense attorney, so not his problem.
After a few years, the innocent man was finally freed from prison. I have no idea why this prosecutor still has a license to practice law.
My Dad was going through a divorce. His court date was whatever day at 3 pm.
We were talking that morning at 8 am and I told him he had better get down and get his ducks in a row. He gets to the office and asks for his Lawyer and the receptionist says he’s in court…you’re supposed to be in court.
He runs down there just as the Lawyer, his ex-wife, and her lawyer are walking out. Dad doesn’t even get a word out, his lawyer just says “You’re done” and walks away.
He didn’t ask for remand or whatever…didn’t contest ANYTHING. Dad now had an interim judgment of $5,000/month alimony.
Dad was beside himself. He didn’t MAKE $5000/month. I went into the office and demanded they show me the email or any kind of proof that the court time had been changed. Even an outgoing call on a cell phone.
They stonewalled and denied they had cut a backroom deal. Two weeks later my Dad comes in with his invoice from the firm…$12,500.
My cousin was a lawyer at one of the largest firms in western Canada, so my Dad was talking with my Aunt and she gave her a call. My cousin drafted a letter on her company letterhead which said she knew what they did and that she would need the proof I had been asking for.
That morning the lawyer called and said he would be ripping up Dad’s invoice. Apologized for not notifying him and offered to try and make it right. As usual, the client (MY DAD) was so beaten that he just said screw it.
So within a year, my Dad had his license suspended, passport suspended, and garnishment on his income (old age pension) where they took everything except $250.
He was forced to file bankruptcy, losing everything. In Canada, bankruptcy can erase car loans, mortgages, and even back income taxes….but not maintenance. Alimony and child support are forever (although he didn’t owe child support).
So he lost his life two years later with no house, bank account, driver's license, or passport, and owing $127,000 and climbing every month until we could produce the obituary certificate.
Documented in “Put Offs and Come Ons", a superb book for laypeople about psychiatry by the psychiatrist A. H. Chapman:
Lawyer (for plaintiff in a personal injury civil suit) to the psychiatrist: “We just want an evaluation of the patient — that’s all".
Psychiatrist: “I will evaluate, and propose to treat the patient if I deem it appropriate".
Lawyer: “Oh no, no! Don’t treat the patient! If you do, he might get well, and that would ruin my case"!
The lawyer was despicable at all times. I had a custody case with him and he was completely lacking in ethics.
My firm was very very large. We took up several floors of an office building. My office was on floor 8. The address of the firm was 900. We had a very important hearing and he was told to write up the findings and submit them to me. Then I had 10 days to object. If we could not agree the judge would write them.
I got nothing. He had no deadline but after 2 weeks I contacted the court. The case had been dismissed in his client's favor.
He had intentionally sent an agreement of dismissal to me at the office number of my individual office in the firm. It was lost in the misaddressed mail and not delivered for 6 months! So after 10 days, he filed stating I had not responded. Therefore the case was dismissed based on his totally false “agreement”.
It took hours and a court hearing to reinstate the case.
This was just one of his dirty tricks the judge found so funny. He had the same name as a man who used to produce a lot of TV shows. Seeing the name made me want to puke. Not sorry he’s gone.
An ex-lawyer (my girlfriend’s cousin) managed his parents' affairs in the years before they moved on.
The very wealthy parents left wills below the inheritance tax threshold, having transferred their assets to their son in the belief that he would distribute them to the other family members according to their wishes.
Needless to say, he kept the lot, which amounted to several million pounds.
At the time he was a magistrate and a commissioner for HMRC (the UK’s equivalent of the IRS).
As a lawyer, I saw a lot. Lawyers lie a shocking amount of the time. The worst of these was once when I had a case halfway across the country.
Opposing counsel left me a voicemail the day before a hearing saying he would not present to the judge a procedural issue we were trying to resolve out of court. So I did not fly out there.
Of course, he raised it when I didn’t show up!
Fortunately, friendly local counsel brought this to the judge’s attention. The same guy in the same case altered a code in an Excel spreadsheet that my client had produced in discovery before presenting it to the judge.
I was really, really happy when, 2–3 years later, he was disbarred for a different set of lies he told.
I knew a lawyer who secretly recorded a conversation at a bar with another lawyer in the hope of getting some compromising statement that could be used as leverage in negotiation.
He was disappointed that nothing came out of it. He actually told me this! His only regret was the lack of success.
My friend Tish is a lawyer, and her drink is Bombay Sapphire and Doctor Pepper, I kid you not. If that’s not despicable, I don’t know what is!
Apart from that, she is an exemplar. But Christ, her drink is awful.
I had to file bankruptcy because my partner embezzled a substantial amount of money causing a business failure. The disturbing thing happened while awaiting my case in court.
The lawyer for a poor person had charged his client $500 to get a $400 debt discharged from a “we tote the note” car dealer. I felt so sorry for the victim but I could do nothing.
I saw a lawyer lie to a judge because he hadn’t done what the judge had told him to do at a previous hearing.
Outside the courtroom, I asked him about it and he easily acknowledged that he’d lied. His excuse was that everyone in that area did it all the time, and told me I would too when I’d had more experience in that area.
I routinely see lawyers attempt to confuse witnesses to get them to say things that are contrary to what the witness has already told them.
These are mostly plaintiff’s attorneys, but that's usually the kind of attorney I encounter since I represent defendants.
I believe they have decided that the end justifies the means.
Though I hold lawyers in high regard, once in court with my dad, I saw a lawyer harass an older man to pay him more money if he wanted to resolve his case soon.
It happens in many professions where people ask you for more money to do the job they are supposed to do in the first place. It was a bad experience.
I once dealt with an established corporate attorney out of Silicon Valley whose whole style out the gate was to be as mean, hostile, threatening, and outraged as possible over every single interaction, even if it was for innocuous things like confirming meeting times, stuff like that. It was absolutely unbearable.
He used what could have been interpreted as explosive anger to sway negotiations and gain leverage. After all, if he was so unreasonable, he’d exhaust the other party. If we become angry at his outrageous behavior, all the better for him I suppose.
Obviously, this perpetual outrage and hostility was his “schtick” and it served/serves him well since he’s a “rich and successful” Silicon Valley lawyer.
He also clearly had the buy-in of his client at the time so I guess that’s what they paid him the big bucks for…
Two state-appointed lawyers were fighting over money, as the money would only go to one of the lawyers.
The accused’s mother sent them his paycheck as evidence he was working, and could not have committed the offense.
Frickin’ lawyers took the money.
The prosecutor asked an officer to lie.
It was a small case, a speeding ticket for my daughter, who had had a minor traffic accident caused because of a problem with her brake pedal. The officer was not at the scene of the accident. He didn’t know how fast my daughter was driving. He never looked in the car. He did not observe the problem with the brake pedal (which I did, but, regretfully, did not photograph it).
Yet, the prosecutor specifically asked the officer if there was a problem when she knew the officer did not know, the only truthful answer was that he didn’t know, and she basically asked him to lie.
But that's not all: the driver of the other car changed her story twice, but the prosecutor and judge didn’t care. The prosecutor lied about what my daughter had said moments earlier in her summation, and she called me a liar as well—really wish I’d taken that photograph!
Maybe not the most despicable thing ever, but her goal was a conviction, not justice. She didn’t care what the truth was, she just didn’t want to lose.
My boss and I sought the consultation of a local attorney many years ago about a non-compete document that I had signed in my previous employment.
The attorney while in conversation propped his feet on his desk and pulled out nail clippers and started clipping his toenails.
How uncouth is that? Needless to say, we did not hire this attorney.
This has to be my favorite attorney misconduct story:
A 67-year-old attorney in Ansonia, New Hampshire named Milo Altschuler spanked his 22-year-old female client to “prepare her” for her upcoming testimony.
This is not the only sleazy part, he settled her lawsuit for 250,000 but then sued his malpractice coverage for not covering the claim.
Several years ago, a local Miami Politician was imprisoned for mortgage artifice and voter registration artifice (voter registrations for the deceased); the Politician was convicted of all charges.
Years later, the verdict was vacated by the appellate court because of inadequate representation. It seems that the Politician’s lawyer had been having a secret affair with the accused’s wife.
I was in an auto accident while pregnant, this attorney was recommended to me and I had him handle my case. We ended up settling out of court…but I didn't receive my settlement check.
The lawyer started dodging my calls. I later found out the truth: He was a compulsive gambler and was using his clients' settlement money for that habit. He was imprisoned and prosecuted and lost his license to practice. His wife divorced him.
I never saw the money for me.
Thankfully my daughter's settlement hadn't been released to him since she was a minor and there were extra steps. The insurance company that agreed to the settlement felt so bad for me that they had their lawyer handle everything for free and sent me a full check for her amount.
Some folks were robbed of tens of thousands of dollars by this man.
Where I live there was this lawyer who ended up making national news.
He managed to pay off a Social Security judge to pass every one of his clients. Then a few years ago he got caught then fled to Central America, where he got caught again.
This was over 30 years ago. I had clients who became disenchanted with their lawyer.
He got them to sign a paper that they owed them a fairly large sum. Their position was that they did not owe him because he didn’t do the work he was billing them for.
They owned a piece of property. He then “counter-signed” below their signatures, and had the signature notarized.
A document that you wish to record in California has to be notarized, or at least that is the practice of the County Recorder here.
So he took a non-recordable document, as it was when they signed it, and used his actually useless signature and notarization to record the agreement, which gave him a lien on their property if they wished to sell, which they needed to do quickly.
Thus, he was able to circumvent all the rules regarding lawyers suing their clients for fees. They couldn’t afford to sustain a lawsuit against him, as he knew.
During a commercial lease dispute, our attorney was also working for the other side. When we found out, we notified the bar association, and bad things happened to him.
I’ve seen many lawyers using the power of their office and the justice system to coerce defendants into a plea. It’s truly disheartening.
This particularly despicable act came not from a lawyer but a judge.
I was taken advantage of by my brother not once but about 2–3 times. I was eight at the time and he was 3 years older.
The Judge claimed that “he was just curious” I understand that he was under age but that is still no excuse for his behavior.
Thankfully the social worker we had made sure it was stopped and we were unable to be alone together for about a month. I can’t even fathom that a boy who was “just curious” was able to scar me well into my late teens.
Because of this I have severe trust issues around men and am constantly feeling worthless, disgusting, and insulted all because he was “just curious”.
I wasn’t a witness to this but did live in the community where the account spread like wildfire.
A slick defense attorney, mid-trial, was trying to mitigate, if not avoid, a fairly substantial jury award for facial injuries to an attractive young Hispanic lass of about 13. He had some sort of a brain cramp when in mid-summation he announces to the jury:
“And ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget she is Puerto Rican and may turn out to be a streetwalker or maid somewhere”.
He took a wallop on the verdict and lost the State Farm account.
A lawyer explained to a judicial panel on corruption that he thought presenting his business card to an arresting officer to avoid the consequences of his numerous speeding stops was a professional courtesy due him as an attorney.
I heard he appeared pro se because he had trouble finding an attorney that could keep a straight face to represent him before the panel.
In 2013, my baby sister’s life, 22 years old at the time, was taken by her “best friend” during an argument. Because they were friends, my sister felt no need to be afraid for her safety and felt safe arguing with her “friend".
The other girl, deciding her reputation was being damaged, pulled a blade and impaled my sister in the neck. The injury took her life within minutes.
In court, the entire ordeal was turned into a black vs white, state of our country, type case.
My sister was white, while her friend was Black. The lawyer decided his best defense was to claim that the only reason this wasn’t being viewed as self-defense was that the defendant was Black. It was nauseating.
Their “friendship” was diminished and my baby sister was painted as a dangerous girl who could have charged at her any moment, so the girl was only protecting herself by taking action.
I watched for 5 days as this nonsense went on. On the 5th day, I watched a jury release my sister’s killer so they wouldn’t be painted as racists.
Watching this lawyer sway the jury and turn this case into a case of race was so dishonorable to my sister’s memory. She helped raise her boyfriend’s black children, dated a black man, had multiple black friends, and it was all torn apart for the sake of a “not guilty” verdict.
Defense attorneys are the worst.
The worst case to me concerned what is commonly referred to as an advance fee scam.
This is a scheme where knowingly false representations are made to induce the transfer of monies to a lawyer who then takes some of the monies and splits the remaining proceeds with his co-conspirators.
I just recently facilitated a 14-month suspension of a lawyer (William Lee Andrews III) involved in this scheme, based on dishonesty and swindling.
It was a very complicated case involving multiple parties in multiple states. In the end, however, I was victorious.
I’ve seen lawyers coach their witnesses to lie. Repeatedly. In a rehearsed fashion. And I’ve seen them win by doing so.
As a younger man, I had quite a few run-ins with the law. I had many interactions with officers and attorneys that were let’s say, irregular.
One experience stands out in particular. I was the defendant, arguing against false accusations, and I was assigned to a young public defender who was new to the area.
I was charged with driving inebriated for the first time as an adult, and I was innocent. I explained to the defense attorney that I’d consumed well under the drinking limit’s worth on the night in question and indicated to him the many facts about the case that I felt would ultimately exonerate me.
From day one, I sensed something off about this attorney. Something in the way he spoke about the night I was imprisoned told me that he didn’t believe me. Now, I’m not saying that a defense attorney must believe their client to provide quality counsel, but it certainly can help.
Regardless, it was his job to provide a vigorous defense, and he didn’t seem motivated to do so. Trial rolled around, and just as I’d feared, my attorney was an absolute mess. He refused to object, even when the prosecutor steamrolled the pre-negotiated rules that had been laid out by the court.
The prosecutor introduced irrelevant past experiences as exhibits of my propensity to drink and drive, and so forth. I would just stare at my attorney in disbelief, as he gazed obliviously at anything except for me.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common experience for those poor souls who can’t afford a quality attorney. Not all public defenders act this way, but far too many do. I’ve met my fair share of solid attorneys, and they’re typically the ones who end up climbing the ladder well beyond public service.
I heard of a lawyer who would repeatedly mess up the final paperwork just to get more billable hours.
Someone I know got divorced a couple of decades ago. Everything was delayed and stretched out so that she would no longer have enough money for her lawyer.
When it was finally over in the court, she had the final paperwork delivered completely wrong five times.
The last one was all correct, except for the names. She crossed out the names, wrote in the correct names, and initialed the changes.
The court accepted the changes and she was done. Her ex-husband's lawyer was NOT happy!
I went to a pretrial hearing in a jurisdiction in which I had only recently begun practicing.
The lawyer on the opposing side told the judge several flat lies about where the case stood, representing he had done several things he hadn’t.
It was nothing substantive, but still…
When we left, I asked him why he lied to the judge. He said, “You must be new here, but that’s what everyone does and the judges know it".
When I was a child, we had a beloved family friend, “Uncle George", an attorney. We all adored him. Saw him and his family
My dad was a terrible husband. Finally, after years of pain, she wanted a divorce. My dad “hired” Uncle George as his attorney. I don't think my Mom even had an attorney (no money of her own), but she thought that surely Uncle George would be fair and honorable. She couldn't have been more wrong.
He strung her along and told her that she didn't need to attend an upcoming court hearing, so she didn't go.
Because she didn't show up, the court was prepared to screw my Mom royally. Uncle George was perfectly ok with leaving my Mom with 4 kids with no support. Mom dropped the divorce action and ended up staying another 10+ years of misery.
When I was 22, after a particularly awful incident, I helped my Mom find a good attorney, one that truly helped her.
As for Uncle George, we never saw him again after he helped my dad during the first divorce attempt.
If he were alive today, I would love to ask him what the heck he was thinking when he threw my Mom and us 4 kids under the bus without a glance backward.
For several years I worked for a large California city in a higher management position. I sat through several meetings with the City Manager and City Attorney both present and listen to them discussing cases where the city was being sued or was suing a resident or employee.
A common tactic was to delay, use trial motions and use the appeals process to run their opponent out of money.
In one case, the city purposely delayed the case until the claimant, an 85-year-old woman whose property was being wrongly condemned, lost her life.
The city attorneys are salaried, so appeals and delays cost the city nothing. Meanwhile, whoever the city was in court with had to continuously keep paying their attorneys as the case would drag on and on and on.
In private, the City Manager and City Attorney would laugh about the fact that the city was wrong but was going to win in court because the other party had insufficient funds to carry the case through to a conclusion.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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