Episode 22 - Waging War in the Courtroom: Our Top Stories
Welcome to the top Texas Lawyers podcast. This podcast is brought to you by the law firm Abercrombie and Sanchez PLLC.
Your hosts are Bryan Abercrombie and Samuel Sanchez. Bryan has been practicing law for 18 years and his board certified that sort of legal specialization in the area of family law. Sam has been practicing for 13 years, is licensed in both Texas and Florida, and is a certified mediator. This podcast is for informational purposes only and all views are the opinion of the hosts. It's not designed to provide legal advice for your particular legal matter, and it should not replace the advice of competent counsel. Welcome. And we hope you enjoy the top Texas Lawyers podcast..
Good morning and welcome to the top Texas Lawyers podcast. I'm your host, Bryan Abercrombie is with me, as always, is my co-host, Mr. Samuel Sanchez. Sam, how are you doing?
Not too bad. The chips to your salsa, Bryan. The chips to your salsa.
The syrup to my pancakes.
I like that even better!
Anyway, it's breakfast time, I guess. So anyway, what we wanted to talk about today is some crazy divorce and/or custody war stories. Thirty one years you and I have combined we've been doing this this crazy, on this crazy train as Ozzy Osborne would say, doing this crazy dance thing.
You know, I think every lawyer, Bryan, I think this is one of those things that as attorneys we always get questioned about. We talk to friends, family, acquaintances, and they're always like, so what's it like? Do you like being a lawyer? And what's the craziest thing that's happened to you in or out of the courtroom? And I think any lawyer that you talk to is going to have a bunch. But I feel like we've got a pretty good list going of things that we can talk about to tell clients.
You can always hold court at any cocktail party if you just start telling stories about crazy things that have happened in the courtroom or with cases or whatever. And then and to the extent we're going to protect the innocence and we're not going to name any specifics of any cases, we'll just be kind of general about what we've seen, what we've observed over the years. But in the short term, do we have any celebrity divorces we want to talk about?
Well, let's give you a let's give you some updates on ones that we're following. Obviously, Dr. Dre's madhouse that's happening in California is super interesting. You know, the news is saying that mom walked off with forty thousand dollars plus in cash from the studio, plus a whole and an undetermined amount of cash from the house and any other stash place. He would have put a coffee can in the backyard, wherever it was. She found it and took it right. And I think it's really because if you're on that side of a prenuptial agreement like she is, you know, somebody probably pretty talented wrote a rock solid one. And you're looking around going like that really cuts me out of a lot of cash. It's still one of those things that miraculously disappears during divorces. And so apparently she's she's chasing that down.
Yeah. And the other thing I've looked at this Jeff Bezos divorce a little bit and he went from being on the top of Forbes' top ten richest people in the world list to he and his ex-wife being on the top 10 for people in the world. And one, you know, one fell swoop right there.
Yeah, tied for second and third. Now, I mean, that's been a crazy one, too. I mean, obviously, there's so much of those assets that are going to be distributed. I mean, she said I think she was she signed up with Bill Gates, his foundation, to donate quite a substantial amount. And even after that, she'll still have more than she could spend and probably two or three lifetimes.
So I think people like the celebrity divorces because they're salacious and there's a lot of stuff in there. And, you know, you've got, you know, Jenna Dewan one and the guy from Magic Mike.
Channing Tatum, you know, and it's salacious and the pretty people are getting divorced. And, you know, you get to see the ugly side of that. But, you know, divorce in and of itself is is a tricky, tricky concept. And it's also heartbreaking for our families. And we don't need to make light of it. But I guess you get you get a little jaded after doing this for a number of years, right?
Yeah, you really do. But I mean, in that I think we really at least you and I, we spent a lot of time really trying to not only sympathize, but empathize with our clients, what what's going on, what they're going through to make sure that their concerns are addressed and their families are protected because a good lawyer, that's really what they want to do anyways. But another thing in the corner before we move off of this in the news is something that'll tie into one of my war stories is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Obviously, they finished the property part of her divorce, but they're still in its custody battles right over concerns over alcoholism, drug abuse, emotional state will be access to the kids. And these are some these are some of the pieces. I think they're really illustrative of a divorce that can go on and on and on and on.
And I mean, now she's filed motions to recuse the judge. These are things that sometimes its legal strategy, you know, you kind of look at it and go, like, I just haven't gotten what I want from this court. How can I put it in a better light, put it in a different position to give me a chance to get some of what I want. And I really think that that's kind of what's happening on that side, because obviously it's been going on for a while and she was fine when she was getting away. But now it seems like. As things that aren't being considered the way she wants, it seems like this judge has got to go. So it's a really interesting case.
And people, you know, we cover celebrity divorces because everybody knows who those people are. But, you know, it's one of those things where it is a family breaking up and a lot of instances. And there are you know, you can look at those things as kind of examples of kind of the craziness that can that can come about and in family law cases. And it's also, I think sometimes a good lesson on kind of things you need to look at and look at and prepare for in the event that you're in that unfortunate situation. Because, yes, I mean, people in Hollywood don't live in the real world. I mean, let's be honest, but they do have real world problems and a lot of instances. So, you know, yeah, they're fighting over Ferrari's and, you know, and, you know, massive and yachts and massive bank accounts. But it's still sometimes the same principles that that going into following all of this stuff.
So all stuff and family to things that I think everybody can relate to is everything you've worked for your whole life and the things most important to you and dear to your family. So clearly they're dealing with them. So let's get through it.
I mean, you've got crazy, crazy stories. I remember one of you remember the one with the service and the disguise in the courthouse.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So to give you a little background, you know, there's some cases that will be done in 90 days. There's some cases it'll stretch on for years and years. And this just happened to be one of these cases where, you know, one of the parties was in an emotional state where they were just really having some difficulty acknowledging the fact that the relationship was going to end on terms that they didn't really like. And that set up an interesting situation where there was a hotly contested issue.
We had tried to get this person served because they were in different states. They had planes, all kinds of stuff. But through this process, trying to get this person served, they had been evading service for a year. But it's amazing how sometimes people's own curiosity is what gets them in the worst situations. And this opposing party just could not help but want to see what was going to happen at this hearing, even though this person had never been served. And so, you know, I'm in the courthouse, I'm walking back and forth.
I'm trying to convince my client not to have a mild panic attack because nothing's going to happen that day because we weren't able to effectuate service, even though there was a super hot issue that we needed to have addressed. And as I'm on the cell phone talking to the process server, I'm walking down the hall and I just happened to walk by this person with these big dark sunglasses in a disguise.
They pulled the sunglasses down to kind of look at me to be like, ha, you can't recognize me. And I'm like, holy crap, a wig. There was a wig and there was like a full on disguise. I mean, and so obviously being on the phone processer was a stroke of luck that I said I need them to appear in the courtroom. And what ensued was true chaos right through. I mean, this person's running around the courthouse. The process server is chasing her around the courthouse trying to give this paperwork to this person. Person jumps in the elevator with these people as the doors are just about to close. The process throws the paperwork at her in the elevator and says, you've been served. I mean, you know, finally that person realizes, like, OK, I'm already here. Came into the courtroom in the full disguise. It was quite a spectacle. I can't lie like it was something I have yet to experience again. Hopefully that was a one and done. But yeah, that was a wild ride.
Yeah. I mean, I had a I had a wild case. We were in the middle of a mediation. We have, you know, the opposing side is making a bunch of allegations about violence and different things. And, you know, my client had a bit of a hot temper. And so in the middle of the mediation, we're not getting anywhere with the with the mediation. It's about the breakup for the day. And my client says, I'll be back in a minute. And I assumed he was going to the restroom. And I have kind of waited for him and he didn't come back. And then the media comes down the hall and says, hey, you need to get your client out of the other room. And the client went into the other room and started wagging his finger in the in the face of his what of his ex-wife and her attorney and telling him how awful they were and how he what he was going to do. And talking about their anatomy is and different thing. And so I went in there to get him and I went in to try to get there, get in between him and his wife. And he pushed me into a into a set of of a double glass doors. And and I finally was able to get him out of the room and he goes out and the mediator says, OK, we can't do this. Mediation is over. You can't, this can't be happening. So immediately in this mediation was taking place across the street from the courthouse. So he goes out in the middle of the street and starts yelling and screaming about whatever was going on at five o'clock when all the courthouse personnel were leaving the courthouse and going to their cars. And so everybody at the courthouse is watching the spectacle take place on the street. So I finally get him out of the street and get him into his car and get him to get him to go home. And then I had to get off of that case because it was just, you know, basically you're you're like, I need to be off.
I got the mediator as a witness, which is almost never done and, you know, all kinds of stuff. And unfortunately, his temper got the best of him. And, you know, he unfortunately basically made their case for their worst fears about him because he you know, we couldn't keep it under control. You know, you've got to expect that bad things are going to be said about you if you get in the most heavily contested, you know, custody case. And it's hard, don't get me wrong. But at the same time, people do go to extremes sometimes when it never taken that kind of action, whether you're going to show up in disguise and try to avoid service or you're going to behave that way, it's never going to put you in a better position.
And it's I know it's hard when you're emotionally charged, right. You're in the situation where you're like, I just can't let go. But if you can't put that aside and try to at least apply common sense, you're going to really put yourself in harm's way. I'll tell you, Bryan. So that kind of leads me into another story. So in a previous life, obviously, I did criminal law. And, you know, it's not like we're always dealing with the most reputable people in the world when you're doing criminal law. Right. But we are going to the criminals, you know, I mean, look, alleged alleged criminals, OK? But I will tell you, we were we were handling this aggravated assault case. I was walking out of the courtroom after just a short hearing with the judge. It was just kind of evidentiary, wasn't even before trial. But the D.A. or the assistant D.A. had really been drawn in by Karen, this guy down in this area talking about how he is a terrible person. They were all these concerns about people's well-being and personal safety. And this guy was taking it pretty personal. And he as like you could tell, he is getting agitated. When some people get mad and they're kind of pale skin, they get all flustered, their neck gets red. He was like, are you OK now? Oh, yeah, yeah. Know up here on the forehead. And I was like, Are you OK? You say, calm down, take some breaths. And he's like, Man, that guy is just lying about me. And I just I don't like it when people lie about me. I mean, that's just one. Things like my pet peeve, and I was like, we're just going to have to swallow it because that's what this whole process is about. So this short hearing ends and I walk over to talk to the ADA and say basically like, hey, you know, whatever we're going to do. And the ADA is like, I'm not giving this guy any break. Like, I really do have a personal dislike for this guy. I can see him behind bars. I will.
And I was like, all right. Well, you know, I guess were going to move forward to trial.
And it just so happens and this is one of the things since this time, since this incident in my career, I've always tried to make sure I do not let my client leave when the opposing counsel in the opposing party lead. There's no shoulder walking about that one, too. And so we're walking out of the courtroom and he is shoulder to shoulder with this ADA just jaw, just telling him like, hey, you know, I think you're a bleep bleep bleep mother effin. And I hope you get one day if I see you on the street, I'ma kick your ass and I'll tell you what that that ADA not he was feeling pretty good about like, hey, I'm in the courthouse, there's Baylis because like I tell you what, you ever get squirrelly, you jump.
And that was about the time we hit the doors to walk out of the courtroom and this guy whipped around and grabbed that guy.
You know, I always wondered why they called our ties. That ties to this guy proved he grabbed that guy by the tie and just commenced to like punching and choking and dragging this guy around the house.
Like, I mean, it happened so fast, you know?
I mean, one, you never expect that in a courtroom because it's a professional atmosphere and there's police officers everywhere. But I'm telling you what, within seconds he had this guy on the ground. And before I could do anything, there were deputies swarming, tackling him. You know, all I could do was basically pull his spouse away and say, like, clear the area so that these officers can take care of them. But I was like, unbelievable. So if you don't think that we played that case out, we did. We did just you know, I mean. Yeah, that screw up your case and you know. Well, my God, I told him afterwards, he got up, he was getting arrested. I was like. We're going to have to plead your case out and I'll find out about your new bond, because I was like, what are you thinking? Like where something shut off in his brain in that moment? That was a good idea. But I mean, it happens.
Well, I had a buddy of mine that was trying a protective order case over in the county, but he was trying to protect the border case and he was representing the the wife. She gets off the elevator, she walks up to him, says, I don't want to I don't want to pursue this. We reconcile. I don't want to pursue this. And the husband comes up and I don't want to pursue this anymore either. So he's like, OK, well, we have to go in there and tell the judge. So they go in there and they get in front of the judge and they they they have, you know, oh, this is just got out of this is a big mistake. We don't want to pursue it. We're not there's no family violence here or anything like that. We're we're sorry. Basically, we want it dismissed. OK, Judge dismisses the case. They go off into the sunset on, you know, holding hands and singing love songs or whatever else. Well, they go and they get on the elevator and somewhere between the 10th floor and the first floor, something must have happened because they got into a fist fight brawl on the elevator and the elevator door or doors or down at the bottom. The bailiffs have to have to jump on them. They're fighting on the elevator bay and they both end up getting arrested at the courthouse when they were down there to try to dismiss that protective order. So I don't know what happened. We got into a fist fight on the elevator of between one.
You know, that's not a lot of time that you're talking about. Maybe twenty seconds from AP. They're really not liking each other. Yes.
You know, I joke about that sort of thing about, you know, about family violence and stuff like that. But just some of the the craziest stuff comes out of these out of these cases. Another situation is not family violence that I that I had. I have a contested custody case one time. And this is where social media comes back to bite you. I'm I'm in there and we're making an allegation that the that the wife is, you know, is drinking around the kids. And so wife gets up on the stand and swears up and down. I don't drink around the kids. I've never drink around the kids. I don't do that. My kids are my world, blah, blah, blah. I don't do that. And so before the hearing, the my client had shown me his wife's Facebook page. And on the Facebook page, there are some photos as people post photos on Facebook of fun times they're having to gather up on the stand. I started asking, are you absolutely sure, you know, drinking around this child? Oh, absolutely. We don't drink or I don't drink around the child. So I pull back the food, put up the picture on the little easel there in the courtroom, and I say, OK, who is this in this picture?
Oh, that's me. Is that your son right there? Yeah. You're holding your son? Yeah. What's that little card in your hand right there that looks like a Budweiser. Is that a Budweiser you're hoping partner.
And and then she's like, oh yeah. And then she starts trying to think on her feet and then eventually she tries to say that she's holding it for somebody else. I'm like, you're on a boat, right? This you and you and a couple of people. The right.
Hey, Bryan, that was my kids beer. All right?
That's my kids beer for the for the toddler, I guess. But I mean, it's one of those things. Where are you going? You don't. The warning sign, I guess, is don't talk in absolutes when you get down into the courthouse.
I mean, you know, in this I don't know that she was a particularly bad mother, but don't talk into an absolute of saying I never, ever drink around my children.
And it's you know, it's horrible that somebody might drink around. The child is. Give me a break. I mean, don't don't play holier than thou. Whenever you're you just you just kind of feeling your own credibility when you do that.
Well, and I'll give you one, Bryan, that's kind of sort of similar to that.
But I would tell you one of the things I always tell my clients and their families. Right, because everybody always wants to come to trial once we get to trial. You know, you've put a lot of time and energy and money and effort and emotion into getting there. Your family is there to support you.
And so they want to be in the gallery kind of listening to what happens in trial, listening to the testimony, especially if they're not witnesses.
So we're at trial in this county. It's a pretty big trial.
The gallery is pretty packed and families on the front row.
And so I had told my client like it was a really, really well done on both sides, I mean, everybody had presented a tremendous amount of evidence. The court had really kind of managed the process extremely well, even though it was a very emotionally charged trial.
And we get to the point where he's going to render and he says, you know, I'm going to go ahead and render now. I don't even have to take it under advisement, which is where you and I both know four judges. A lot of times they want to sit down, they want to ponder the review stuff. But he was like, I have a good handle on it. I saw everything. I'm just going to go and make my ruling from the bench right now. Well, the courtroom was packed. And so I tell my client, as I leaned over, I whispered in his ear and said, no matter what happens, no matter what this judge says, I don't want you to freak out.
I want you to scream and yell. I want you to just listen to it. If it's positive for you, great. If it's negative for you, we'll deal with it. It's not the end of the world. We'll try to figure out our next steps, but just be calm. And he was like, OK, I'll do my best. So Judge stands up there, says, go ahead in both parties rise and here's what I'm going to do. And rules in our favor. One hundred percent, every single thing that we had asked for, we got and instantly the opposing party lets out this just blood curdling shriek. And the judge, like, you know, they got these gavels and you think it's just like a TV or they're slamming the hammer. And in order that this judge was like I mean, wailing on his gavel basically said, I will have order in this court or I will hold you in contempt. And from the gallery, this person's relative jumped up and said, that is a bullshit order.
And I promise it was like, you know, like those E.F. Hutton commercials. I'm on a date myself with like everybody would stop and listen. It was like everybody looked like no one. You could hear everybody breathe. And the judge just kind of sat back and all of a sudden deputies flood the courtroom and tackled this lady, pin her to the ground. And the judge says, I'm holding you in contempt. They're going to be jailed. Until I determine that, I want to let you out of jail. And everybody was just like you. And he said he said at the end of this, he said, anybody who utters one word about anything that's going on right now will also be held in contempt. So I will just tell you, as friends and family, you know, you want to be there to support. You can obviously, once you're out in the hallway or out in the parking lot, you want to express your outrage in relation to or your positivity about how great it was. You know, I would just encourage you to remember that judges have the patience of a gnat a lot of times. And so you put yourself in a situation like that and you can expect bad things to happen. And that was a bad day for somebody, really.
I mean, and the problem with you know, I had a judge tell me one time that these family law cases are usually good people, but they're in a terrible situation and it brings out the worst in people who've got criminal cases. You got bad people trying to act their best. And in family cases, you got good people acting at their worst. So I think that's been a really good rule to follow throughout my career. I had a case, I had a probate case one time that I was involved in that. Yes, a little bit different than criminal a family. But the lady involved in the case, she was under a guardianship. And we were my the law firm I was appointed I was working for was appointed the temporary guardian. Then she had had some brain injury and she had received a rather large settlement. Then the reason why we were appointed as the Guardian on the on the case by the by by the trust company was because all of our money was held in trust. But she started doing crazy things like dating the wrong men, the wrong wrong men.
And then the men would convince her that she needed a limousine so that she came in and she had a lot of money, but she didn't have limousine money, you know, the the men and convinced her she needed a private plane. She had she had a lot of money, but not private plane money. So she's calling the trust company, you know, yelling and screaming at him, I want my money. I need to buy a limousine to try to keep these men around. And she and unfortunately, she was meeting these men on the Internet and but they had the Internet isn't a good thing. They had various criminal backgrounds. A lot of them were scammers and, you know, different things like that.
So, I mean, they would have bilked her out of out of all of her money and probably the span of about three or four months. And luckily, the trust company saw some some very, very strange transactions. And then her calling up and demanding money for limousines and and different things kind of put them on notice that, hey, we're dealing with a lady that had a traumatic brain injury.
So she's not quite there, you know, and we ended up having to get her round the clock care. But and these caretakers would have to show that she'd she'd still be on the Internet in the middle of the night. And these caretakers shouldn't have to sue. These guys have come not to come her.
She's a teenage girl.
People put ladders at school, was 50 years old and just, you know, there was just an unfortunate situation all the way around. It's just that she wouldn't you know, the problem is if the caretakers weren't around, it got out of control really, really fast in terms of first, the medication would stop then then she's out on the street honestly barking at the moon or, you know, running around, streaking through the neighborhood. It was it was pretty.
What's wrong with that? I mean, that's kind of just the fun times on your house, I'm sure.
But that's just Friday night. But I know it was it was a bad situation, but I mean, they don't teach you. And that was that was when I first got out of law school. So, you know, they don't teach you how to deal with that, that situation in law school. And I had to call her out, take her off the ledge, you know, and those are the kinds of things that they know. They teach you the law. They teach you legal theory. They even teach you how to deal with with clients and to some extent and how to explain things to clients. But they don't teach you how to explain logic to a person who's mentally ill.
So now that's always tough. They always tell people like that you can't talk common sense to crazy. It just doesn't work. They don't understand it.
You'll never convince a crazy person that they're crazy. I've had a case when I was representing some some children and dad and I was representing the mom and dad got a favorable ruling from the judge. So he proceeded to picket the courthouse for I think he was out there for probably two months, standing out in front of the courthouse, holding up signs about how the judge didn't care about kids. And and, you know, it was you know, it is a bad situation. I felt really bad for the kids, very embarrassing for the children. They were getting into teenagers. And then this person got them some news media attention on it. And when he was picketing the courthouse because he was the only person out there holding up a sign. So eventually a reporter came and asked, the courthouse reporter came and asked him, hey, what's going on? And he told the story, which actually didn't fare well for him the next time he was in front of that judge.
Yeah, I know they have their elephant memory. They have long memories. Remember that stuff? I will tell you, I got going for you, though.
I will tell you a deposition story. And this is something that both you and I in our previous lives spent a lot of time raising young attorneys, teaching them how to practice law, how to behave in the courtroom, in and out of the courtroom. But I will tell you that depositions are one of those times where there's not a bailiff. There's usually a court reporter. There's no judge. It's you, the opposing counsel, your client and the other client. And I will tell you, they can get really heated. They go really long. Sometimes people's patience wear thin. But even between attorneys and I will tell you right now, I wasn't at this deposition, but this attorney relayed this this happening.
So basically they're in there. And the other the other attorney is making what are attorney felt or improper objections basically in a deposition. There's only certain types of protections that you're supposed to make. But this attorney was treating it like a trial and just making all the kinds of objections you could possibly make at trial. And so they started having this dispute between the attorneys. A question would be issued, an objection would be answered. The attorney who issued the question would say that's inappropriate. The other one would say, you don't know what you're talking about. You're an idiot. And so it started to get really heated between the attorneys where the clients were like, these guys aren't problems.
So it got so bad that these guys got nose to nose talking about they were going to kick each other's ass in front of two clients and a court reporter, the court reporter had to stand up and get in between these attorneys and tell them, you guys need to take a break.
We're suspended. And I don't care what you guys do after this, but I'll leave it to the attorney office sitting there. I was like I had the deposition go is like, I don't know that it went so good. And I'm like, well, you know that the client sent me an email saying he wanted to schedule, call it be like fill me in. Like, was it just me? And he started kind of recounting and he said, finally it got so bad where he knew this guy called me a fucking idiot.
And I just popped up and I was like, Outbreak and I'll kick your ass right now. He came around the table and I went around the table. We were there like because if it weren't for the court reporter, because we'd probably got in a fist fight in front of those two clients for what you know.
And so he's like, I hate that guy. I mean, I changed him off of that case. I'll be to deal with the client. But I told them I was like, look, in that situation, the only person who came out looking bad, you know, obviously he looks bad to us. But is you I mean, you lost the confidence of your client. I said, you know, as attorneys, we're officers of the court. We're sworn to uphold the law. And we also thought we swear to behave professionally. There's professional etiquette that the bar expects. And I'm like, you can't go through and have a fist fight.
That deposition, that's just not how we practiced law and not the person that you want to be or the person or the reputation that you want to have. But I get it because there are just times, Bryan, where their lawyers on the other side, where you're just like, I just cannot stand that person. And if it wasn't, there weren't rules. If it was. Wild West out on the street, beat me down this line up 40 yards apart. See what happens.
But my first firm I ever worked for, they had a bit of a hothead attorney who would get into fights with opposing counsel all the time. And, you know, they're down in the courthouse having a hearing over discovery.
And he's standing there.
And, you know, the judge are the guys, the other attorneys talking about, hey, you need to bring these documents to court. Where are they? You know, we're supposed to you know, I want this. I want that. And he finally turns and stared staring at the guy, pulls his keys out of his pocket and says, these are the fucking documents. You want her in the fucking car. And he threw his capture. The other lawyer with his car keys judge as a judge starts banging the gavel, like you said, gets in an uproar and he ended up end up costing them a night in jail and about five grand.
So, yeah, just take it serious. And, you know, it's one of those things, Bryan, like I would tell you, there was a different time in life in law right there. And there still are those attorneys who we call the dog and pony show. Right. They're just going to come in and they're going to scream and yell and get bang on the table and make all this much to do. And it doesn't it doesn't affect anything because very few matters go before a jury. And even if you're behaving that way in front of a jury, you're probably going to get rebuked and reprimanded by the court for behaving that way. But some attorneys still believe like that that theatrical response is the way to behave. And so when you run across that in a courtroom, it makes it very difficult if you don't behave that way because your client instantly wants to look over and say, well, the judge is going to listen to them more because they're screaming or yelling or dancing around or making a fool of themselves. And you have to. It's very difficult to explain. Your client know the judge is actually listening to the law, listening to the facts, not how the system works. Right. But it's really hard when you're dealing with that to get in those situations. I mean, it's you know, we raise a lot of young attorneys, and that was always something that drove me crazy. I mean, because I experienced it like as a young attorney, you run into an old guard attorney who was used to practicing law that way.
Everybody thought there Matlock. Right. Everybody thought they were Gerry and whatever exactly. Coming in. And they were looking for that aha moment, you know, like Perry Mason used to. Like, that's the lie, Your Honor. Doesn't happen that way, the real world. But, you know, there were some attorneys who still behave that way. And so it would really throw attorneys off their game. And what I would tell them, I was like, you know, there's a side to the practice of law that's just as much psychological as it is intellectual and physical. Right. You're the way you manifest yourself. And you both, you and I have done jury trials apart together. And we know, Bryan, that the way a client behaves can absolutely affect the outcome. The way they sit, the way they huff and somebody says anything or sit back in their chair and killing themselves back and talk about how, you know, that's a lie or they're constantly in your ear or writing furiously. When things are doing, judges pay attention to that and so do juries. And I'll give you a good example of that is kind of a good war story. You and I, we're in a trial. I'll take you back. And there we these two people, obviously, I don't know how they ever had children because there was no love or like between them. No. And our client felt like the best way to proceed.
And this was a jury trial, mind you, the best way to proceed in front of this this trial tribunal. And the judge was to show as much disdain for this person, this other person as possible. I mean, to just half and ha and sigh and decided that he was on the stand. Right. We let him take the stand, sit there, going through questions, and then the opposing side is going to get an opportunity to do the same thing. And that's that's legal proceeding. That's the fight gets up on the stand.
And I don't know, Bryan, you remember what happened when I went through some exhibits back at the opposing sides.
It was it was great. I mean, I could see I'm sure if there was a camera on you and I like there was no way we could keep a straight face because, I mean, basically, he takes the paperwork or the, you know, the exhibit. He sits down, he looks at it, and rather than handing it back, he just basically swings it at him and and they float to the floor. Right. The other the other side picks them up very graciously and just and the judge jumps out of her seat practically or jumps out of it seems like, hey, you're not going to behave that way in this courtroom. But, you know, and me and you, what can we do? I mean, your client's on the stand. It's not you can jump up and go, Your Honor. I mean, I think we did ask for a recess at that point to take him out into the hallway or whatever. Yeah, you can't. I mean, the moment is passed. It's in the jury's mind. It's in the judge's mind. I mean, and the thing that I would always suggest to clients that are going through the legal process is, remember, as hard as it is to show your best self, that's really what you want people to see.
If you want somebody to do something for you, it's. Very rare that salt gets you further than.
It's just it's extremely rare in the courtroom and it just that was the case when we talked to the jurors afterwards. And they all they all hearken back to that moment and just said the level of hatred, you know, we thought was off-putting level of hatred that this guy had for this mom was was Off-putting. And that's why we decided the way we decided.
Yeah. I mean, it was a terrible situation, a terrible outcome for that particular person, you know. But when you look back to that one moment, I mean, you could trace it back and it was very easy to sit down with the client and say, here's kind of what went and what didn't. So, you know, these are the things that make it challenging, I think, Bryan. And family law as a practitioner is that you and I both know, like there's the law and there's going to be some legal issues that are pretty clear-cut. But in any family issue, it's usually going to revolve around a very fact intensive inquiry when you're talking about he said she said because very rarely are there a whole lot of witnesses in a house between a husband and a wife or between family interactions. Right. It's usually a few people. And so everybody's perception matters in the way it's presented matter. So it can make things extremely complicated and just you got to put your best self forward.
Absolutely. And I think that's that's good. You got any other juicy stories you want to tell us?
You know, the last one is, I guess, as to kind of wrap it up. I will tell you and it's a sad one, but I give it as really a cautionary tale.
You know, they're they're going to be plenty of times in your life where days are going to be dark and a lot of times going through a legal process is one of those because there's no more stressors that you could put on yourself. Your finances are going to be tested. Your emotional stability is going to be tested. The love that you share with your family is potentially going to be tested. People who you think you trusted at one time are going to come out and speak ill of you or against you or against your interests. And all those things put people in very difficult and stressful situations.
But I will tell you that, you know, we had a we had a client who had been in a physical altercation with the other parties.
Paramour got really bad. They were stiches. I mean, it was it was bad. And, you know, through this entire process, this individual seemed absolutely calm. They were protective order was issued in relation to no contact, but legal proceedings are still going to be times where all the same space you have to be and everybody gets an opportunity presents. I wasn't really like the zoom world right now where you would put people in different like forums. And I will tell you, like the fear that was spoken, it was palpable in this hearing in relation to what was going to happen in finality. And, you know, as much as I advise the client to take the high road to really understand that sometimes the legal world moves slow. What that means is it could take you months, years to get what you want or to change things from where they were because of bad decisions to a place where it's better for you and your family. But it can't happen. It does happen. A smart lawyer will get you there, but know self-help is never going to be one of those things that's going to make things work. And what ended up happening was this particular client went to try to discuss things with the other party. He was under a protective order, meaning a protective order in Texas means he can't get within a certain beat from resident school place of employment or the individual themselves unless it's by accident. Like you show up in the same grocery store, then you can't know they're going to be there, but you got to clear out anyway. He went to the house, knocked on the door. Boyfriend, mom, tell him you better get out of here.
You know, this is Texas and you know how to protect our property and ourselves. He wouldn't leave. He got pretty belligerent. He had a break in a window. They got he got shot through the door by the opposing party. And now obviously he was able to recover. But it's a cautionary tale for the situations that we find ourselves in as attorneys. I mean, there are tons of people that you and I both know that had their lives threatened to have their offices shot up or firebombed. And, you know, I mean, it's a crazy world. It's a crazy world. And you talk about this worldwide pandemic, the political unrest. You know, these are all things that add to the volatility of this legal process. And so the only thing I would tell you is luckily everybody made it out of that. It was going to be a number of years before that individual was ever going to be able to kind of figure out a way, if there was one, to repair what had happened, both physically to himself and then really to kind of repair the relationship with his children because of what had transpired. So, you know, at the last moment, I would tell you, obviously, it's not a funny one, but I really do want people to know, like these war stories. Everybody's got one or 10 or 20. But that's the one I always try to tell clients like self-help is never going to be the way, you know, let's hire a lawyer, get into the courtroom, have a fair judge, just kind of listen to the facts and make some decisions. And then you'll always end up in a better place.
And every and every one of these stories has a real person behind it and a real situation and a real life that's in tatters because of bad decision making, really. And that's you know, you got to be in charge of your decisions when you're angry. You're in any kind of legal process. You've got to make sure you understand. And you you know, you're making sound and rational decisions.
Agree, brother, agree. So plenty more stories to come, I'm sure. We got many years to practice, but those are those are probably the top 10, the top 10 list for sure.
Yeah. If you want to check us out, you can check us out on astxlegal.com. And if you want to reach me, my number is 281-374-4741. And I'm in and around the Woodlands and in Houston, Texas. And Sam, where are you?
Well, I'm up in the DFW area, Fort Worth in Dallas. You know, we'll go wherever we need to go. You want to reach me directly? It's 469-884-7181. And you can reach me as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, we've got a handy-dandy divorce guidebook. I don't like using the words handy dandy, but...
But then we got a handy guide that we're really excited about that we've been working on. We've been working on it for a while. And, you know, it's designed to be a guide book about the divorce process and kind of give you some ideas about things to do and what to expect. I mean, it's a handy guide book and we're we're real happy. We're real proud of it. We're going to be launching that thing pretty soon. So be on the lookout for our divorce guidebook.
Yeah, not only that, I hear there's some swag, like they're coming up with some swag for the podcast. Right. That'll be something maybe we'll put out there, too.
All right. Yeah, there might be some shirts on the way or whatever, right?
Yeah. So interesting times, but yeah, you stay safe, Bryan, and I guess we'll look good talking to you.
All right, sir. You be good and we'll we'll see you soon.
Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the Top Texas Lawyers Podcast. If you'd like to schedule a consultation with either Bryan or Sam, please call 1-888-981-7509. Or visit us on the web at astxlegal.com. Once again, that's astxlegal.com. Thank you very much.