Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Craziest Prospective Client

What is the craziest prospective client inquiry you ever had metsfan03/10/17
#2 is more likely to stalk you, slash your tires, and shoot wutwutwut03/10/17
#1 - sounds like nanobots. I think I saw a cartoon about th cheapbrass03/10/17
So much crazy. So much. adamb03/10/17
I keeping thinking of the Better Call Saul episode where the david6198303/10/17
was gonna join the board of a startup non-profit. Found n dingbat03/10/17
I have had many. One that stands out was a phone call fro orange903/10/17
I just started out solo in January but my Craigslist ads get saulgoodmanwannabe03/10/17
I got a misdemeanor case dismissed for a guy claiming to be thirdtierlaw03/10/17
Well I have a two way tie for crazy. Both were in my first y cocolawyer03/10/17
I had a lady with delusions similar to OP's #1, but she saw onehell03/10/17
Wow - for being an attorney you have incredible patience. Di uknownvalue03/11/17
Well it was legal aid so no one pays for anything, but still onehell03/14/17
Schizophrenic. Apparently doctors recommend that you do not jorgedeclaro03/11/17
Yeah, I definitely think the sheriff has the right idea. I'd onehell03/14/17
What are you guys thoughts on lawyers who agree to represent madathofstra03/11/17
People who have psychotic delusions aren't competen compete 3lol03/11/17
Filing a false police report is a crime and filing for an OO onehell03/14/17
She had been treated for delusional disorder and would make fettywap03/15/17
metsfan (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:05 am)

What is the craziest prospective client inquiry you ever had? Mine is a 2-way tie:
Used to work in a law firm in both education law and certain medical issues of law (cannot be more specific for confidentiality purposes).
1) A guy calls stating that the federal government injected "liquid computer chips" into him as a tracking device (though the Federal Tort Claims Act would immunize the federal government even if such a claim were true). Got rid of him by quoting a $20k retainer.

2) Divorced woman had an education law issue with an Ivy League university concerning her daughter (who was 18 so legally an adult, so what the parents thought was irrelvant anyway) but her ex-husband agreed with the administration. Mom concludes that dad is sleeping with an administrator and wants to sue both of them for the conspiracy to violate her civil rights (even though dad, the administrator, and the university were not government entities or officials, making a civil right violation impossible). Tried to get her off the phone, gave her a warning that I would hang up in 60 second, then 30 seconds, then hung up.

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wutwutwut (Mar 10, 2017 - 12:58 pm)

#2 is more likely to stalk you, slash your tires, and shoot you.

Start watching your back.

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cheapbrass (Mar 10, 2017 - 1:08 pm)

#1 - sounds like nanobots. I think I saw a cartoon about that situation. The cartoon was Max Steel. pretty cool if true.

#2 - you should have told her that the phone would explode in 30 seconds if she didn't hang up.

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adamb (Mar 10, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

So much crazy. So much.

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david61983 (Mar 10, 2017 - 1:21 pm)

I keeping thinking of the Better Call Saul episode where the guy wants to become his own independent country and offers Saul 1 million in currency.

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dingbat (Mar 10, 2017 - 1:49 pm)

was gonna join the board of a startup non-profit.

Found numerous blatant mistakes/issues in the NDA I was sent, including that choice of law provision listed two different states, a definition of confidential information that basically covered everything I'd ever learn anywhere in any capacity, and many more such idiotic things (clearly written by a non-lawyer)

When I pointed this out, she said "well, others have signed" and "if you don't sign, you can't be a part of this organization"

Lady, I'm doing you a favor by lending my skills, network and reputation to your organization. Go f*ck yourself.
she then kept my name, picture and bio on the website under board members for several months, necessitating ever escalating threats on my part for her to remove it

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orange9 (Mar 10, 2017 - 3:01 pm)

I have had many.

One that stands out was a phone call from girl who wanted to sue the government for a civil rights violation. She was a stripper and felt like she was being stalked by the club owners and how they are all out to get her, so I asked what the government has to do with that. She said the government of the criminal underworld- duuuuhhhh, they're all in cahoots with each other.

Then I had a consultation with some paranoid lady who refused to use phones because the government was after her and listening into her phone calls. One time, she was on a payphone in a police station and saw a police officer on the phone. How obvious could they make it that they are listening to her conversations! After she left, my entire office was laughing at me.

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saulgoodmanwannabe (Mar 10, 2017 - 3:42 pm)

I just started out solo in January but my Craigslist ads get some interesting responses.

I had a guy call from out of state to try and resolve a warrant for his arrest. He claimed all he needed to do was file an affidavit and the prosecutor would drop the charge to a misdemeanor--all without ever needing to turn himself in. He even e-mailed me his "affidavit" filled with gibberish and said he just wanted me to sign it and file it for him...no thanks.

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thirdtierlaw (Mar 10, 2017 - 4:10 pm)

I got a misdemeanor case dismissed for a guy claiming to be a "sovereign citizen." Now we get about 1 phone call a week from his "sovereign citizen" friends looking to sue the federal government for not recognizing them as sovereign citizens. You cannot have a conversation with these people.

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cocolawyer (Mar 10, 2017 - 5:09 pm)

Well I have a two way tie for crazy. Both were in my first year of practice. One retained (unfortunately) the other well... you will see.

1. Prospective was a stripper. She would often travel to Las Vegas and New York. The case came out of juvenile dependency where Father was awarded Sole Physical and Legal Custody because her 4 year old was found wandering the neighborhood when she was passed out (herion). Anyways she is a complete crazy. She offers to give me oral sex to take her case. I kindly decline and demand a 15,000.00 FU retainer. She leaves and comes back 20 minutes later all cash (and no they were not all dollar bills).

Short story I worked my butt off and at court she was awarded Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custody with around a 30% timeshare. I was ecstatic...she was not. She took off her high heel and chucked it at the bailiff. She then ran at the opposing party's mother....yeah that was a great moment.

2. Prospective didn't retain (thank god). A DVRO case. The guy was big and angry. During the entire consultation he was yelling. I cut it off and told him that he has anger issue and that he was good for the restraining order. He grabbed my stapler and threw it against the wall. I gave him 5 second to leave my office before I contacted the police.

Yeah so those are two big reasons why I am glad I made the change to the department.

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onehell (Mar 10, 2017 - 5:37 pm)

I had a lady with delusions similar to OP's #1, but she saw agents following her in black cars and helicopters.

Interestingly, her delusions followed certain rules. One of them was that, because of attorney/client privilege, these government agents could not follow her into a law office. So for her, a lawyer's office was like a sanctuary. She would point out the window and say "see, there they are in the parking lot, waiting for me to come out." (there was of course no one actually there).

I regarded this as an easy way to do some good in the world. So I told her that within reason, she could come into the office and have consultations from time to time. The consult, in and of itself, was what she needed because these agents she was hallucinating would have to back off for the duration of her appointment. She would get a 30 minute-1 hour reprieve this way, and that is what she wanted. So whenever she was having a bad day with her psychosis (every couple of months or so), she would turn up and I'd give her this consult/sanctuary.

This did wonders for her mental health, because my office was the only place where her delusions could not follow her according to the rules that her mind had apparently applied to them. Once freed up from this feeling of being pursued, she could become more lucid, which in turn eventually allowed her to reach the conclusion that she should go back on her meds. Once on the meds again, the hallucinations went away and she was able to go on and live something resembling a normal life.

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uknownvalue (Mar 11, 2017 - 12:26 pm)

Wow - for being an attorney you have incredible patience. Did she pay for the consults? What was her original legal issue?

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onehell (Mar 14, 2017 - 7:46 pm)

Well it was legal aid so no one pays for anything, but still most of my colleagues would have turned it away after the first consult revealed there was no real case to pursue.

I'm not really sure what her original legal issue was; she wasn't really coherent enough to say. But I am a believer in the doctrine (endorsed by ethics rule 2.1) that a lawyer is not "limited to the law" in rendering advice and seeking solutions. So I always had a tendency to get creative when walking that line of law vs. social work.

Another example would be a time when a client was being pursued for property maintenance ordinance violations due to the unkempt state of his property. He didn't really have a defense but the local college's football players were looking for something charitable to do so I called their coach. Guy was elderly and a veteran so it made for a sympathetic case, plus it was exercise anyway. So the university football players came out and spent a day cleaning up his yard and the city dropped the matter.

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jorgedeclaro (Mar 11, 2017 - 10:46 pm)

Schizophrenic. Apparently doctors recommend that you do not validate their delusions, but I know a sheriff who thinks the exact opposite. You challenge their reality and they become angry, agitated and violent. Had one guy who want to sit in the back of the squad car because police cars are specially shielded from the voices they beam in your head. Guy just wanted to sit there for 10 minutes and enjoy the "silence."

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onehell (Mar 14, 2017 - 5:09 pm)

Yeah, I definitely think the sheriff has the right idea. I'd imagine the docs advice is more applicable once you actually get them in to see a medical professional, where you're in a secure environment. In most states the doc can put a temporary hold on them pending commitment proceedings if it looks like they are a danger to themselves or others, so you're more free to challenge their delusions and also more trained to do so. But out on the street I am definitely of the mindset that if their delusions follow their own rules, find out what those rules are and how you can use them to keep the person calm. Once that instinctive "fight or flight" response kicks in, there's no reasoning with them.

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madathofstra (Mar 11, 2017 - 2:46 pm)

What are you guys thoughts on lawyers who agree to represent clients who are clearly in throes of psychosis? Like let's say, for example, a client wants help filing criminal charges and/or OOP against people who she is convinced are stalking her, but the stuff she claims they are doing is highly unlikely and/or impossible? Ethical to take their money and do the work?

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3lol (Mar 11, 2017 - 5:38 pm)

People who have psychotic delusions aren't competen
competent to contract. I would avoid like plague

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onehell (Mar 14, 2017 - 10:27 pm)

Filing a false police report is a crime and filing for an OOP based on assertions you know to be impossible would be a rule 11 issue like any other pleading.

Ethics on this seem pretty clear: you either convince the client to adopt a different tactic or you disengage.

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fettywap (Mar 15, 2017 - 10:52 am)

She had been treated for delusional disorder and would make up stories that made no sense. She wanted me to tell the court she recently found out she had been made a scapegoat for the FBI. She was going to pay me an extra fee to say this.

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