Despite an attorney’s best intentions, some clients may not always be happy with their services. If you are unhappy with your attorney, you can end your relationship and decide to work with the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm instead, even if you have already started pursuing your claim.
First, think about the reasons you want to fire your attorney, along with the potential consequences.
Why You May Want to Fire Your Lawyer
If you decide to fire your lawyer, think about your reasons for doing so. You can use these reasons to determine whether you are making the right decision for your case. Some valid reasons to seek new legal representation include:
Lack of professionalism:
You should fire your attorney if they show unprofessional behavior. To maximize your settlement, they must never ask you to do things you consider unethical, such as lying in court about the severity of your injuries. If you feel your attorney has committed an ethics violation, you can file a complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Inattention to your case:
Depending on your attorney’s caseload, you may not have regular communication.
If they consistently ignore your concerns or fail to answer questions about your case, you might want to replace them. A lawyer should respond quickly to your needs and provide regular updates, so you don’t have to initiate contact.
No prior experience in your type of case:
Changing lawyers may be the best solution if your attorney does not appear to understand your case. If you need a personal injury attorney, the same lawyer who helped you set up the legal entity for your business may not have the knowledge to get you the desired outcome in court.
Choose a lawyer who is experienced in handling similar cases to yours and has extensive knowledge of the law in that area.
Guaranteeing a successful outcome for your case:
You should be wary of attorneys who guarantee they can win your case. No lawyer can predict the outcome, even with strong evidence on your side. An experienced and honest lawyer will assure you that they will do their best to help you get reasonable compensation for your injuries, but they won’t guarantee a win.
Considerations Before Firing Your Lawyer
Firing an attorney can have serious consequences for the outcome of your case. Here are some reasons you may want to reconsider firing your lawyer.
- The judge may not look favorably on your case: In court, a judge’s opinion of you can influence their evaluation and determine the results of your case. They may not sympathize with changes of lawyers because they may view it as a way to delay the proceedings.
- Your case may take longer with a new attorney: Firing your attorney may negatively affect the outcome and length of your case. A new attorney must work fast to catch up. Finding an attorney to take on a case with a short deadline could prove challenging. If you miss filing deadlines, you may lose your right to appeal or bring your case to court.
- The lawyer’s fees are still your responsibility: If your previous attorney rendered services to you, you remain responsible for the payment of those services and adhere to the terms of your fee agreement. However, according to your agreement, your new attorney can help you identify which legal fees you are responsible for.
How Do You End a Relationship with Your Lawyer?
If you’re ready to terminate the relationship with your current lawyer and hire a new one, here are the steps you can take.
- Read your legal agreement: Ensure you understand the agreement’s terms and conditions. If the clause specifies how to file for the formal termination of your relationship with the lawyer, you will need to follow these directions.
- Find a new lawyer: Before firing your attorney, explore other options. This helps you avoid missing deadlines and postponing your case while looking for a new lawyer.
- Write a formal termination letter: Send your termination letter to the previous lawyer’s office by certified mail so you have a record of delivery. Ask for your case file, including any documents and evidence in your letter. Provide the previous lawyer with your new lawyer’s full contact information in the letter so they can forward the file to them.
- Notify the court if you have already gone to trial: The court needs to know about your change of attorneys if your case has already been filed. Your new attorney must file a motion for substitution of counsel while your old lawyer withdraws from your case.