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.
What’s the weirdest thing you have ever been offered or given by a client? I was just recalling visiting a client to take a statement back when I was a solicitor. On arrival, instead of a drink and/or biscuit… I was offered an egg (fried). @CivilLitTweet
— Simon Ross (@shrossy) June 29, 2020
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?
I was offered various flavoured condoms by a client charged with running a brothel. I explained that my life is such I have no use for such things.
— Kevin Hennessy (@KevinHennessy12) June 29, 2020
Offered (declined) a painting by chinese dissident artist client…vaguely recall being offered a garage door, too! other than that its just flowers I’m afraid. Also have a client who makes the most amazing samosas & I am gutted the next hearing wont b in person for that reason!
— Lucy Reed (@Familoo) June 30, 2020
CMS partner Charles Howarth said he once received a cuppa made for him by none other than Ryanair chief exec Michael O’Leary.
It’s a toss-up between a cup of tea made by Michael O’Leary (surprising, rather than odd, but told me a lot about him) and a book of Japanese woodcuts handed out at a celebratory lunch for a deal, which the whole room quickly discovered to contain some seriously explicit stuff.
— Charles Howarth (@HowarthCharles) June 29, 2020
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.
I had a client give me (or my wife) two pairs of Jimmy Choos
— Sweary Expat Esq. (@swearyexpat) June 29, 2020
Genuine. Five grands worth pic.twitter.com/ktV7Mv6Izv
— Sweary Expat Esq. (@swearyexpat) June 29, 2020
Another lawyer was similarly offered designer gear.
Silk pyjamas, Hugo Boss tie and a bottle of Jura! And I didn't get to keep them. Something about it going against some policy or another.
— Paul (@JudgeDavo) June 29, 2020
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.
A pair of Brown Grenson shoes by a grateful football player & a culinary trip to Venice by an Italian client the weirdest for me as I was only doing my job and such kindness totally was unexpected, but a pleasant change.
— Nick De Marco QC (@nickdemarco_) June 30, 2020
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.
Holy water. From Lourdes. pic.twitter.com/LJy7c5TlZs
— Mairead (@m417ead) June 29, 2020
Same client over the years;
– 10kg Tilda Basmati rice
– Facial hair bleaching cream
– A BBQ set from Tesco’s
– A deep fat fryer
-A M&S trouser suit; trousers size 6 & jacket 16
– A bar of Palmolive soap, imperial leather body wash & some toothpaste.
— Razia Jogi (@RaziaJogi) June 29, 2020
Former lawyer Caroline Docherty OBE shared a story about a Scottish souvenir she received from clients she represented for over 30 years.
Not weird in a “weird” way – but lovely clients I represented for over 30 years (their business is Scottish souvenirs) sent me one of these, and then 20 years later forgot, and sent me another. This is the second one – about to be boxed up when I retired a few weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/WYY3HTuvyP
— Caroline Docherty OBE (@CarDocherty) June 29, 2020
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.
My top two are a Pekingese dog and an open bottle of port, but not at the same time
— Angela Allon (@AngelaAllon) June 30, 2020
I was offered a puppy from client’s spaniels imminent litter.
During my pupillage @TempleBrief was told he could have free fish & chips for life from a grateful client who owned a seaside chippy.
— Zoey White (@WhiteZoey) June 30, 2020
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.