The relationship between a lawyer and a client lies in confidence and trust. Maintaining a good relationship is necessary to ensure a better outcome for your case. But like any other professional relationship, problems may arise that affect the relationship with your lawyer. This often results in misunderstandings and poor coordination during court cases.
There are plenty of reasons clients change lawyers. For instance, if you’re in the middle of a divorce case and you feel like your case doesn’t have a well-thought-out strategy for child custody, it’s time to consider hiring a more qualified family lawyer. In fact, you don’t need plenty of reasons to change lawyers, especially if you have lost confidence and faith in your lawyer. After all, it is your right as the client to switch to a reliable legal counsel.
Switching to a new lawyer may seem a daunting prospect for some. They think it involves a large penalty or a lengthy process. Finding a new lawyer is your basic right, but it’s costly in terms of time and money. That being said, we’re going to look at some common reasons clients change lawyers along with its legal implications and the process involved.
When to fire a lawyer
Communication is key in any relationship, including the one you have with your lawyer. But if you notice the current scenario is hindering the success of your legal case, it’s time to evaluate the situation and consider hiring a more qualified legal representative. Here are common reasons clients switch to a new lawyer.
Lack of communication.
Miscommunication is the most common reason lawyers get ditched. This happens when the client asks for an update, but the lawyer never calls them back or they have to deal with different people when calling the law office instead of getting the information they need.
Slow progress of the case.
Clients who notice very little to no progress in their cases are likely to leave their lawyer. The reason for this is the lawyer may be handling plenty of cases or they’re not putting much dedication and time to speed up the case. This will leave you inadequately represented by your lawyer.
Lawyer went missing.
Some clients end up talking to three or four lawyers in the course of their case. This usually happens when they work with a firm that sends different lawyers during consultations. While circumstances may change, dealing with different lawyers is confusing and time-consuming. You need a law firm that will value you as their client.
Whether you’re facing a personal injury claim or family dispute, lawyers often have a tough time giving legal advice. In most cases, there will be moments when your lawyer gives a piece of advice that makes you feel uneasy. Simply being unsatisfied with legal advice is a different matter, but a lawyer should never put you under pressure to accept advice you haven’t fully made up with.
Implications of changing lawyers
Clients have the right to switch their legal representatives at any time and for whatever reason. Although changing lawyers is a challenging proposition, this is a common occurrence in the legal field. Often, people have misconceptions about changing lawyers that’s why some are hesitant to take the plunge.
First and foremost, changing lawyers will not affect the progress of your claim. It is a common misconception that ending things with your lawyer means having to start all over again. Although a new lawyer needs some time to acquire and evaluate your documents, the claim will proceed according to its course without going backward. But it is important to consider the timing, especially if the case involves an urgent deadline or there’s an approaching court hearing.
When it comes to financial implications, changing lawyers does not mean it will cost you more. If you signed a contingency agreement stating that your attorney receives one-third of the settlement, your former lawyer and the new one will have to split the fee.
The process of changing lawyers
After deciding to change lawyers, the first step is to send a ‘stop work notice’ to your current attorney before switching to a new one. The letter can be as simple as two sentences expressing your decision, but be straightforward and polite when stating the reason for the change. If you’re hesitant to confront your previous lawyer, ask the new lawyer to submit the “stop work” notice on your behalf.
The lawyer-client relationship is a two-way street. Clients have the right to receive fair treatment from their lawyers, but they need to return the favor as well. Lawyers are client’s legal confidants, that’s why it makes sense to be upfront and voice out whatever bothers them. Communication with your attorney is key to ensure they can represent you in the best way, whatever legal dispute that may arise.