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Deciding When to Fire Your Lawyer


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When you hire legal counsel to help you with a serious matter, you expect that your case will be handled with the utmost care, attention, and expertise. Unfortunately, sometimes your lawyer simply may not be the right fit for your case, and you may be forced to consider terminating them.

At Goodman Acker P.C., we know how difficult it can be to navigate a complex case, especially when you believe that your attorney has not provided the right kind of service. In this post, we’ll review a few things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about firing your attorney and hiring a new one instead.

Common Reasons for Firing Legal Counsel

There are many reasons clients lose confidence in their legal counsel. Most of the time, the attorney just isn’t the best fit for a specific legal matter, or doesn’t have the experience required to ensure a positive outcome. Good attorneys care about results, so they will most likely be upfront with you about their chances of success, and respect your decision to find alternative representation if needed.

Unfortunately, in rare instances, your attorney may have acted unethically or illegally. If that’s the case, it’s especially important to document all the reasons supporting your decision to terminate. You should also avoid threatening your attorney with legal action or a report to the state bar association: Doing so can both threaten the health of your case and prevent you from finding a suitable replacement. If you know that your attorney’s conduct has been unethical, make sure to remove yourself from the situation first before reporting them.

Questions to Ask Before Terminating Your Attorney

Even if you believe your attorney truly isn’t the right fit for you or your case, it’s important to carefully review your reasons for termination before you act. Firing an attorney midway through a case can come with some unintended consequences, which may reduce your overall chances of success.

Here are some things to ask yourself when you’re getting ready to fire your legal counsel:

  • Is it mainly a communication issue? It can be very frustrating when your lawyer fails to return phone calls, or doesn’t share case updates often enough. However, if communication is the primary issue, it’s better to openly share your concerns first before letting them go. Poor communication can usually be corrected, and you may be able to get the answers you need by asking a paralegal or secretary for updates instead.

  • Is your attorney qualified in your practice area? One of the most important factors in hiring legal counsel is ensuring that they’re fully qualified in the practice area of your case. If your attorney has been proven time and again to have the highest level of competence for your practice area, they may still be able to get the results you need, even if you differ slightly on the preferred legal strategy.

  • Is another attorney trying to solicit your case? Many states explicitly prohibit one attorney from trying to steal a case from another – and regardless of state laws, it’s still considered highly unethical. If another lawyer is trying to convince you that they would be a much better fit for your needs, it could mean they will employ bad faith tactics throughout your case too.

  • Does your legal contract make you responsible for any additional costs? Before terminating your lawyer, it’s important to read and understand all the fine print of your contract. Many contracts include caveats about termination, and may make you responsible for any costs involved in the case up to that point.

Moving Forward with Confidence About Your Case

Ultimately, the best solution for your case may be to fire your attorney and find more suitable representation, especially if you have concerns about their legal experience in a given area. When that happens, always let your attorney know in writing first. Make sure to include all the reasons for your decision, and document your concerns in a clear, courteous, and professional way.

Taking the time to ensure that everything is above-board will mitigate your losses, and increase your chances of finding a successful outcome – even if it’s ultimately with another lawyer.

Do you need to speak with a qualified Detroit personal injury lawyer? Contact Goodman Acker P.C. at (248) 286-8100 today to benefit from our 75 years of experience offering compassionate legal counsel.