Most lawyers will do their best to make a great first impression. They assure you they have years of experience, excellent communication skills, and the dedication to get you the best possible outcome.
But over time, you may start to realize that they are not everything they are cracked up to be. You may be waiting for days for them to return your calls. They may be disorganized and unable to keep track of essential files. Worse yet, they may not be getting the legal results you desire.
If this is the case, it may be time to look for a new lawyer.
Firing an old lawyer and getting a new one is perfectly legal, even if you are in the middle of a legal battle. However, specific procedures must be followed, and it may affect your case.
Read on to find out more about what you should do if you decide to switch lawyers mid-case.
Will Switching Lawyers Hurt My Case?
Switching lawyers won’t change the way the judge and jury see your case, but it could have other repercussions.
For one, if you are coming up on a pivotal time in your cases such as a hearing, appearance, or motion deadline, and your lawyer isn’t fully caught up, it may result in an unfavorable outcome. Therefore, you will always want to find a new lawyer during times of relative inactivity. That way, you can be sure your lawyer is well prepared to represent you when you need it most.
Hiring a new lawyer can also result in additional costs. You have likely paid your old lawyer for the time they spent getting familiar with your case. If you have to pay your new lawyer for these same services, this will be more money coming out of your pocket.
And while switching a lawyer once may not affect your case, if you change lawyers too often, it will result in a delay in the proceedings that can make the judge and jury see you in an unfavorable light.
When Should I Fire My Lawyer?
Firing your lawyer is a big deal. However, if they are exhibiting certain behaviors, it may be necessary to let them go. Here are some signs that it’s time to send them walking:
- Disorganization: Is your lawyer unable to show up anywhere on time? Is he unable to keep track of relevant documents and stay on top of payments? These are sure signs that another lawyer is in order.
- Lack of Communication: Your lawyer should be returning your phone calls and emails promptly, and they should be keeping you on top of all the latest developments.
- Not Working for You in Court: Not every lawyer can get you the outcome you are looking for every time. But if you feel your lawyer isn’t doing everything they can to fight for you, it may be time to move on.
- Disagreements on Settlements: You may not always see eye to eye with your lawyer on all matters in your case, but if you feel they are forcing you to take a settlement you are not happy with, you may want to get a second opinion.
- Inexperience: If your lawyer doesn’t understand the key points of your case, they may not have the experience you need.
What Should I Do If I Need to Find Another Lawyer?
If you need to find another lawyer, there is a procedure you should follow. Here are the steps you will want to take:
- Look Over Your Contract: The contract you have with your lawyer will probably outline a process to follow if you’re going to terminate your relationship. Look over the contract to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps.
- Find a New Lawyer: You should never fire your lawyer before hiring a new one. Doing so can leave you unprotected if any important legal matters arise.
- Send your Lawyer a Letter: Once you have a new lawyer, you must send your lawyer a letter to let your old lawyer know you are letting him go. This letter should be sent certified mail, so you have proof it was sent. In the letter, you should give your lawyer a concise explanation of why you are letting him go. You should also provide the contact information for your new lawyer, so he knows where to send your legal records, and you should request that he returns any advance payments you have given him.
- Let the Courts Know: The courts should be notified of any changes of counsel as soon as it’s official, so this should be done at the same time or immediately after you have sent the lawyer your letter. Your old lawyer will then file a motion to withdraw, and your new lawyer will file a motion for substitution counsel.
- Pay Any Debts: Be sure to pay off any debts you have with your old lawyer. If you leave any balance open, he may file a lawsuit against you in small claims court, or he may take the money owed out of your settlement winnings.
Finding a New Lawyer
If you are looking for a new lawyer, you want to make sure you end up with someone who will live up to their promises. David Aylor is highly recommended.
David Aylor is a Charleston, SC lawyer with years of experience in a variety of practice areas. His attorneys have a professional attitude, terrific communication skills and are known for keeping their clients in the loop at every step in the decision making process. They strive to secure the best possible outcome for the people they represent.
Your legal case is critical. Please don’t leave it in the hands of a second rate lawyer. Turn to David Aylor to get the results you need.