When a client is unsatisfied with the service provided by a personal injury attorney, it may become necessary to fire the attorney. The prospect of firing an existing attorney and hiring a new one will change multiple things about how your claim is handled, so it’s important not to make this decision lightly.
How to Fire an Attorney
Whatever the reason, when it comes down to it, the client has the absolute right to terminate the relationship. The client should first review any contract with the attorney. It may address the specifics of termination, including paying for services already provided.
Send a letter indicating the decision to end the attorney/client relationship. There is no obligation to provide a reason. Request a copy of the case file, unless a new attorney has already been hired. He/she may be able to handle the transference. But the letter should make mention that the file is to be released to that attorney.
Ask for an itemized list of all costs and fees for services that were already provided. Request return of payment for services that were not provided but were already paid.
How to Hire an Attorney
Although firing the attorney might seem the logical first step, clients who plan to fire an attorney should first hire a new one. This can reduce the lag time on tasks related to the claim and make the transition smoother. Ideally, transferring files should be easier as well.
It’s important to make sure that any issues with the old attorney won’t be resurrected with the new one. Most attorneys don’t charge for the initial consultation, so this is the perfect opportunity to address the issues with the previous attorney.
Once a decision has been made to hire the new attorney, the aforementioned letter should go out indicating the termination is effective immediately. This way the old attorney won’t continue working on the case, and the new one can pick up where the previous lawyer left off.
Reasons It May Become Necessary to Fire a Personal Injury Attorney
Before firing an attorney clients should make serious considerations as to whether firing the attorney is justified or not. Because the reality is that it can cost both time and money to fire one attorney and hire another.
Generally this decision is made because of a disagreement or dissatisfaction with how the case was handled. Both can be valid reasons. For instance, if the disagreement is based on something the attorney is doing that is unethical, illegal or downright detrimental to the case, then it may be the right step to take.
Or if there is a dispute concerning how the attorney is handling the case, such as a lack of communication, terminating the relationship and moving on may be the right choice. While it’s important to understand that the attorney probably has several cases going at once, it doesn’t mean that communication should be an ongoing problem.
If it appears that the attorney isn’t putting much work into the case, this could be another reason to make a switch. This can sometimes happen when the attorney doesn’t have a good understanding of the case. Or it could be that the attorney’s experience in a particular area of the law is limited.
Remember, an attorney can be fired and a new one hired at any point during the case. If you’re interested in hiring an attorney for your case, contact D.J. Banovitz to discuss your case and how we can help. Call us at 303-300-5060.