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Holy water, Jimmy Choos and a fried egg: Lawyers share the weird and wonderful things they’ve been offered by clients

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You couldn’t make it up

You would think a thank you card, maybe even a box of chocolates, bouquet of flowers or bottle of champers would be the usual way of thanking your barrister or solicitor for their advice. But a new Twitter thread has shone light on some of the weird and wonderful things offered to them by their clients.

From a puppy to flavoured condoms, marriage proposals and being the subject of paintings — we’ve selected some of the very best below.

The thread began yesterday with Simon Ross, a personal injury barrister at Exchange Chambers, sharing that he was offered a fried egg by a client instead of a drink and/or biscuit.

Others recalled being offered sweets, sandwiches, cartons of soup, crates of mangoes, homemade dim sum, a three-course Indian meal and a case of “Egyptian champagne”.

Criminal solicitor Kevin Hennessy came under saying he was once offered “various flavoured condoms” by a client charged with running a brothel, while family barrister Lucy Reed told tweeters she was offered, but declined, a painting and vaguely recalls being offered a garage door. What?

CMS partner Charles Howarth said he once received a cuppa made for him by none other than Ryanair chief exec Michael O’Leary.

One lawyer said he was involved in a “hedge fund mediation” and gifted two pairs of “genuine” Jimmy Choos totalling “five grands worth”. “I’ve been doing this kind of work for ten years and that gift was something of a one off… the client is a VERY nice man,” he writes.

Another lawyer was similarly offered designer gear.

Blackstone Chambers silk and sports law specialist Nick de Marco QC revealed he was once offered a pair of designer shoes by a grateful football player and a culinary trip to Venice by an Italian client.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

Others hadn’t been gifted items quite so glamorous. One solicitor was offered holy water from Lourdes, while another listed the various objects offered to her from the same client over the years, including soap, toothpaste and bleach cream.

Former lawyer Caroline Docherty OBE shared a story about a Scottish souvenir she received from clients she represented for over 30 years.

There were tweets from some lawyers who said they had been offered dogs. Zoey White, a family barrister at Normanton Chambers, added to her tweet (below) stating her chamber mate was once offered “free fish & chips for life” from a client who owned a seaside chippy.

In other examples of the weird and wonderful items offered to them from their clients, we learn that Slater and Gordan personal injury solicitor Darren Hughes was offered “a freshly slaughtered lamb from a farmer’s wife who had just come back from the abbatoir”, while Irwin Mitchell senior associate Matthew Garson was offered “a leg of lamb whilst taking a witness statement in a pub in Wigan.” In another example, a former solicitor revealed she was once offered “a handful of Pepperami from a conveyancing client that had come straight from their job at the Bowyers meat factory”.

There were some tweets from lawyers who had been offered items with slightly questionable back-stories. One was gifted a jar of plum jam “from a client whose estranged husband had accused her of attempting to poison him with her jam”. Another was given “a bottle of fake perfume by a client which [they] declined to accept after a hearing to prosecute him for selling fake goods”, while another refused “a cake from a chef who was very fairly dismissed for having less than a rigorous attitude towards hygiene”.

What’s the weirdest thing you have ever been offered or given by a client? Let us know in the comment section below.

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27 Comments

This is an excerpt from my draft, and entirely fictional, novel

I did some pro bono work for a charity that provides legal services for people at the edge of society. Some time after the hearing it transpired that the service users had all chipped in (either with cash or in kind) and I was presented with a bag of weed.

I was actually moved. These aren’t people who have a lot; so that was a really touching gesture.

K&E 2PQE

Once, after smashing sixteen PE mega deals in a week (a personal record at the time, twice beaten since) I was offered four dishevelled, pungent men and one pigmy as a token of gratitude, to be put to use in my Chelsea mansion’s peon farm.

I graciously turned the offer down as soon as I found out they were all senior associates from CMS.

Humble Lad

Chambers awards us numerous Band 1 and Band 2 rankings in a diverse range of practice areas so you’ve made a bit of a fool of yourself there

Kirkland NQ

Lmaoooo what’s the CMS NQ whack again?

The only senior associates are Kirkland’s salaried partners

They’re more likely to be Kirkland salaried partners if they were Senior Associates (although many of those salaried partners are also Mid-Level Associates), there’s quite a lot of them to support these days and are burning cash in quite a few practice groups.

I’ve also heard that quite a number of them are actively trying to exit!

Anonymous

Cool story bro, changed my life

Bob

This is the dull tool that posts OK Boomer too. Must be tragic to be so dim.

Millennial Marge

Ok boomer

Anon

Dull. Derivative. Basic. Predictable.

Crim sol

A client who got 7 years for a violent offence once told me that I could contact him if I ‘ever needed a favour’

Anonymous

Now this is the type of exposé Legal Cheek should focus more on. Less legal titan Eve Cornwell, more juicy goss

Some dialogue suggestions for my "not even slightly based on a true story" movie pitch

I was defending in a five hander for some old ‘East End made good’ clients. They’d managed to get bail so each day over the ‘short adjournment’ we tried out lunch in local eateries. We were planning where to go the next day when one of my colleagues said he wouldn’t be able to make it as he was using the time to drop his car in for an MOT. One of our clients asked which car to was, and upon being told, stated that they’d been admiring it.

The next morning we met in the court cafe, whereupon the main chap said “There you go mate; now you can come for lunch.” and slid across the table a totally legit MOT certificate for my mate’s car.

STALLONE

Cool story brah, changed my life

Etiquette, yo

The only response to a gift should be ‘thank you’.

How crass to publicly shame gift-giving clients, particularly as many may have far fewer funds than the barristers mocking them.

If barristers received nothing for working hard, they would be the first to complain.

Archibald Pomp O'City

Why are you so offended? Is your virtue too pure to keep to yourself?

Fuddy Duddy Lemon Cruddy

Receipt of a gift may cause the recipient to fall foul of the Bribery Act and commit a criminal offence. Always take this into account.

Alice

I was once offered extra cash for something I probably can’t say on here. Naturally, I declined, and had to explain that my hourly rate was in respect of legal services, and not any other type of service! It probably didn’t help that I work for a firm that brands itself as “full service, taking care of clients’ needs”. Talk about adding value…

Not pornhub’s solicitor

I acted in a case with like a dozen defendants. The claimant tried to get her sex tape with one of the other defendants admitted as evidence. I let my client keep the video

JT

I was offered (1) a cruise in the Caribbean, but couldn’t go – because (as an impoverished newly-qualified) I couldn’t afford the air fare to the departure port (or back again) (2) a thick wad of bank-notes (so I could continue the meeting – attended by a bunch of heavies – and not duck out to go to the bank) by an arms dealer – who later graced the pages of “Private Eye” (3) by a ship’s captain, the opportunity to, er, “socialise” with some of the lovely, friendly ladies one evening in a bar in Dakar and (4) best of all – support from the British Consul when (for reasons known only to themselves) I got arrested in Lagos, and carted off to what looked like a prison camp.

ExLawFirmWorker

Hoping the British Consular support wasn’t offered as a gift but a necessity in the circumstances! 😉

tips@legalcheek.com

Are solicitors allowed to take expensive gifts from clients? I would be very wary if a client has offered me a Rolex or a cruise trip, people have been disbarred for less.

Fuddy Duddy Lemon Cruddy

Reading’s hard.

Poopot

Yonks ago I acted on the creation and launch of an *ahem* adult contact site. When the site went live, I was offered a year’s free membership.

Half of me wishes i’d said yes..

Anonymous

Any hints as to site name? Asking for a friend.

Anon

The bottom half?

12 years PQE

I had a thank you card along with a book about Nazism sent to me when we settled a dispute against a Jewish family run company in our client’s favour.

Another case involved an IP dispute over a burlesque design. Client sent me a burlesque calendar produced by her company.

MC assoc

Did a deal for a well known household goods conglomerate once and the team got sent a big goody bag with a pile of random stuff including two litre bottles of lube. Presumably they are used to working with Jones Day.

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