Yes. You have the right to fire your lawyer at any time, and if you want to switch lawyers in the middle of a personal injury case, you can. Similarly, your lawyer can quit at any time, including in the middle of your personal injury case. No matter who decides to part ways, switching lawyers is not a difficult process. Nevertheless, you should think about your decision carefully, and if you choose to hire a new lawyer, make sure you choose a better one.
When to Fire Your Current Attorney
Not every lawyer will be right for you and your case, and some lawyers are simply better than others. You may want to fire your attorney if:
- They are not returning your calls
- You never see or talk to your attorney and feel like your case is being handled by assistants and paralegals
- Your lawyer is disorganized, unprepared, or unprofessional
- Your case involves areas of the law outside your lawyer’s expertise
- You do not believe your attorney can handle your case
- You do not understand or agree with your attorney’s advice
- Your lawyer lacks compassion
- Your attorney does not seem motivated
- Your attorney is too expensive
- You receive an unfavorable decision in court
- Your attorney does something dishonorable or unethical
- Your lawyer misses a deadline or makes a huge mistake
- You have experienced legal malpractice
Whether your lawyer’s mistake has jeopardized your case, or you just don’t feel like you are getting the representation you deserve, you have every right to hire a new attorney – even if you are in the middle of a case. If you are considering firing your attorney, discuss your situation with another lawyer first. Sometimes, your attorney is just the messenger for news you don’t want to hear. Other times, another attorney is a better fit.
What to Do if an Attorney Drops Your Case?
Unfortunately, your lawyer can drop your case in the middle of litigation for practically any reason. If this happens to you, do not lose hope. You can find another lawyer, and your next legal team will likely be better.
Lawyers drop clients due to conflicts of interest and personality, lack of expertise, and plenty of other reasons. Often, your lawyer is dropping your case so you can find better representation. In most cases, your lawyer will notify you of their decision, give you time to find another attorney, and transfer the case to your new lawyer. Some lawyers will even give you a recommendation or help you find their replacement. Ask your attorney why they are dropping your case and request that they stay on until you find another lawyer.
If a lawyer drops your case, they are not the lawyer for you, and you have the opportunity to find someone better.
Steps to Take if You Want to Switch Attorneys
Before you part ways with your attorney, review your contract. There may be a contractual procedure for terminating the attorney-client relationship. Try to follow the procedure as closely as possible.
After you have reviewed your contract, you will want to find a new personal injury attorney. This way, you will not have to handle any legal issues on your own, and nothing will fall through the cracks. Your former lawyer and your new lawyer can work together to transfer your case.
Once you have your new lawyer’s contact information, send a formal letter to your existing attorney via certified mail. Clearly state that the letter terminates the attorney-client relationship and provides forwarding information for your new lawyer. If you paid for legal services in advance, request a refund, but keep in mind you will not be entitled to a refund of your retainer (if you paid one).
In personal injury cases, refunds are unusual, but you will still want to settle up with your attorney (see the following section).
When you switch attorneys, you may also need to notify the court. Your new lawyer can help you file a Substitution of Attorney form, and your old lawyer should withdraw from your case.
How Contingency Fees Work When You Switch Attorneys
Personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means your attorney does not get paid until they recover benefits on your behalf. Still, your lawyer is entitled to payment for the work they did for you. As such, your previous attorney can file a lien on your lawsuit and recover some of your final settlement as payment for the time they put in.
Most attorneys will not file a lien because it is more trouble than it is worth, but if your attorney put a great deal of time and money into your case before you fired them, you can expect an attorney’s lien to appear on your case.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Switching Attorneys
Switching attorneys can be time-consuming because the new attorney will need to catch up on your case. Further, some attorneys do not like to take clients who switch lawyers, particularly midway through a case.
That being said, nothing can compare to having an attorney who understands you, prioritizes you, and handles your case with skill and efficiency.
The pros of hiring a better attorney far outweigh the cons of making a switch.
Hire a New Attorney Before You Fire Your Old One
The biggest problem with switching attorneys is the transition period, but you can simplify the transition by hiring a new attorney before firing your old one.
At Rourke and Blumenthal LLC, we can help you switch attorneys ethically and take over your case with ease. We have more than 150 years of combined legal experience, and we can handle complex cases that other lawyers can’t.
Before you fire your lawyer or let your attorney walk away from your case, hire a better one.
Discuss your situation with Rourke and Blumenthal LLC at (614) 321-3212 today or schedule your free consultation online.