You have the right to fire your personal injury attorney nearly any time during your case for any reason.
Costs of Firing Your Attorney
Any unused retainer fees must be refunded upon termination. Your previous attorney may be entitled to a lien on the proceeds awarded in your case. This is to ensure that he or she receives payment for any completed work that has not been paid for.
Factors to Consider When Firing Your Attorney
First and foremost, you should feel secure in your representation. However, take these factors into consideration before you change representation:
- If you’ve changed lawyers more than once, you may have a difficult time finding a replacement. You could have the reputation of a tough client.
- Your new attorney may not have adequate time to prepare for an immediate or upcoming hearing, deadline, or appearance.
- If your case is especially complex, you want your lawyer to be as familiar with your file as possible. Switching right before trial begins can cause significant delays in progress.
- Your new lawyer may require a retainer or an additional investigation.
You will not sabotage your case if you fire or switch attorneys. But, before you take the leap, talk to him or her first. You could discover that your biggest issues could be out of your attorney’s control (e.g. the case is moving slowly or you’re unhappy with a ruling). If the situation is salvageable, we recommend you continue the client-attorney relationship.
If you have done everything in your power to address your disappointments, it may be time to terminate or replace your attorney.
Reasons to Replace or Fire Your Injury Lawyer
Like any relationship, there are typically telltale signs that something’s gone wrong. Some common reasons to secure new representation include:
- Lack of attention to your case
- Questionable fees and other costs of the suit
- Frequent requests for already-completed documents or forms
- Notifications for missed deadlines or documents
- Requests for time extensions without a clear, relevant, or valid explanation
Steps to Fire Your Attorney
- Read over the initial contract to see if there is a specific procedure to terminate the relationship.
- Notify your attorney of the termination in a formal, written letter. Ask that all documentation be sent to you.
- Secure a new personal injury attorney (only if you are absolutely sure of your decision).
- If your case is pending, notify the court of the withdrawal or change in representation in a formal, written letter.