Far too many times, individuals hold the false belief that their attorney is untouchable. On the contrary, you can fire your lawyer anytime if your case is not pending in court. Even then, you can receive permission to terminate the relationship. However, despite such freedoms, firing an attorney is no light matter.
Carefully evaluate your situation. Why do you wish to replace your attorney? There are many valid reasons, such as dissatisfaction with their work ethic, believing they are acting unethically, or other warning signs.
If you conclude that you need a new attorney, it may be helpful to follow a few of the steps below:
- Consider the costs. In some circumstances, firing your attorney is expensive. The cost depends on a few things, such as the services they have already performed. It is important to remember that you typically need to pay the lawyer for work completed, and then pay the next lawyer you hire. Therefore, the services you pay for might overlap.
- Send your attorney a letter. When terminating your relationship, have your wishes in writing. By sending a certified letter, your attorney should cease working on your case. You do not need to give a reason or explanation.
- Request your files back. Assuming you are in transition mode, you can ask for your files back. Otherwise, have the attorney to send them over to your new lawyer. Additionally, you are entitled to whatever work the attorney has done so far regarding your case.
- Act professional. It is normal to be upset with the attorney you are firing. However, being direct and mature about the situation makes the process easier. You are already dealing with conflicts, which is why you requested an attorney in the first place. Attempt to reduce the stress.
Sometimes, it is too late when individuals realize their attorney was the wrong choice. Maybe your attorney handled your case negligently, misused your money, lied to you or missed important deadlines. Before you pay for their mistakes, have a second pair of eyes look over your case. There is a chance you could sue for legal malpractice.