Reasons to Fire Your Lawyer (and Get a New One)
Like any other relationship, not every attorney-client pairing is perfect. Even if you were as careful as possible trying to choose the right lawyer, mistakes can be made and things can change.
From personality clashes to professional malpractice, here are a few reasons to ditch your attorney and find a new one:
Malfeasance or Misconduct
Obviously if you learn about any intentional professional misconduct by your attorney, you should fire and replace her or him. Intentional malfeasance, like misappropriation of client funds or fraud, is exceedingly rare, but should be dealt with immediately.
Ideally, you should trust your lawyer completely, but it's never a bad idea to monitor your attorney as best you can.
Attorneys mess up occasionally, and can commit malpractice by accident. Even after all that school, training, and experience, a lawyer can make a substantive error regarding the law or a procedural error with filing or discovery.
A lawyer can also make an administrative mistake like missing a meeting or deadline, or misplacing documents or evidence. Even if these are honest mistakes, they may be grounds for a malpractice claim and should have you thinking twice about your representation.
All attorneys have certain ethical obligations, to inform you of any decision that requires your informed consent, consult with you about legal strategies, keep you informed about your case, and reply to reasonable requests for information. If your attorney fails to meet these criteria, you may want to get a second opinion.
It may be that, for whatever reason, you and your attorney just don't get along. And while a close personal relationship isn't a requirement for good legal representation, you should feel comfortable conversing with your lawyer.
Whether your attorney can achieve your legal objectives should be the main criteria by which he or she is judged, but a cold courtside manner can have you rethinking your choice in a lawyer.
- Guide to Hiring a Lawyer (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Hiring a Lawyer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- How to Change Your Lawyer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Survey: The Most Popular Way to Find a Lawyer Is... (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.