As a defendant or plaintiff in a legal case, you have certain rights, and one of those rights is to choose which lawyer works on your case. If you are unhappy with your attorney, you almost always have the right to change lawyers in the middle of a case.
If you have already started a legal case and are unhappy with your representation, here is what you need to know about changing lawyers.
Can I Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Case?
In most cases, yes, you can change lawyers in the middle of a case.
As a defendant or plaintiff, you are in charge of your case. Your lawyer represents you, and you are ultimately in control. Your lawyer can make suggestions, but you decide what you feel is the best way to approach your case. If you are not satisfied with the way your lawyer is handling your case, you can change attorneys in most situations.
Are There Limitations to Changing Lawyers?
There are some limitations when it comes to changing lawyers in the middle of a legal case.
Depending on how far along your case is, a judge may need to approve your decision to change attorneys. In many cases, judges are open to allowing the change. But, there are times when a judge may not approve your changes. This could happen if:
- The case is too far along in the court process
- The judge feels the change is a stalling tactic
- You have already changed attorney multiple times
A judge is likely to approve the change if you have good reasons for why you want to seek new representation.
What Is a Good Reason to Change Lawyers?
Deciding whether or not to change attorneys in the middle of a case shouldn’t be a decision that you take lightly. Changing attorneys can cause a disruption to your case, can cause you to incur additional attorney’s fees, and may delay your case.
Yet, there are good reasons why you may want to change attorneys during a case. You may want to seek new representation if you find yourself in one or more of the following situations.
- Your lawyer’s strategy doesn’t make sense.
- You don’t agree with your lawyer’s strategy and want to take a different approach.
- Your lawyer is not responding to your calls or messages.
- Your lawyer is not adequately explaining the details of your case to you.
- Your case has stalled.
- Your lawyer doesn’t have the resources to adequately manage your case.
- You don’t trust your lawyer.
- You don’t get along with your attorney.
- Your lawyer has made multiple errors on your case.
- Your attorney has died or been disbarred.
Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question
What If My Attorney Drops Me?
Just as you have the right to stop working with an attorney, they have the right to stop working with you. An attorney can drop you as a client. While the American Bar Association encourages attorneys to finish the cases they take on, there are circumstances when an attorney may drop a client.
In those cases, your case is still active, and you will need to find another attorney to take on your case.
What Do I Do if I Want to Change Lawyers?
If you are thinking about changing attorneys, follow this process.
#1) Weigh the pros and cons. Remember, changing attorneys comes with both benefits and disadvantages. Before you make the decision, take time to consider your options. Weigh the pros and cons to determine if you are better off sticking with your current attorney or starting over with a new one.
#2) Read the contract you have with your current attorney. Refer back to the contract you signed when you retained your current attorney. There may be clauses related to changing attorneys. Review it to see if there are specific processes you must follow or fees you must pay.
#3) Talk to potential new attorneys. Before you decide to break ties with your existing attorney, take a few free consultations with other attorneys. Share the details of your case and explain why you would like to seek new representation. Use what you learn in the free consultations to help you decide if seeking new representation is really your best option.
Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer
#4) Talk to your attorney. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issues with your current attorney by having a conversation and working through the problems. Talk to your current attorney about the issues you are having and look for a way to resolve the problems before hiring a new lawyer.
#5) Retain a new attorney who will manage the change for you. If you find that you cannot reconcile the differences between you and your current attorney, take steps to hire another attorney. The newly hired attorney will manage the switch for you. They will file the proper legal documents and work with your other attorney to transfer documents.
Do I Have to Pay Both Attorneys?
If you change attorneys during a case, both attorneys have a right to compensation. You may need to pay your initial attorney for the work he or she has already completed. If you are in a contingency case (such as a personal injury case where your attorney is paid when you receive a settlement), your previous attorney may split the fees with your new attorney.
Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost? 8 Questions to Consider
Are You Looking to Change Lawyers?
If you are in the middle of a legal case and not satisfied with your attorney, we’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi to find out if he can take over your case and offer the excellent, experienced representation you deserve.
Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.
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