We trust attorneys with closing our cases, proving our innocence, winning us the highest possible claim and many other law practices. Every now and then, some may realize that their choice in attorney or law firm wasn't the best fit for their case.
Even if your reason is justified, the cons of firing your attorney may outweigh the pros. Here are a few things to consider before finalizing your decision to fire your attorney.
What Agreement Did You Sign in the Contract?
Most of the time, even after an attorney is fired, he or she has a certain amount of money that they are paid for their services due to already starting negotiations on your case. This called a “lien.” On average, a typical lien will be around 30% of the offer won and/or a charge for time that they spent on your case.
For example, if the contract states that they can charge $200.00 per hour and they spent 10 hours on your case, they have the right to charge you $2,000.00. They have the right to this money as stated in the contract even though they’ve been fired.
Will a Previous Firing Make My Case Less Desirable to Other Attorneys?
Many lawyers do not accept cases with previous lawyers or liens currently placed on them. This protects them from having to work for a “problem client,” issues with the agreement over money division, and having to start all the work from scratch. If your case promises a big payday, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a new lawyer to take up your case.
What Are Your Plans After Firing Your Attorney?
Will you represent your case alone? Is a new lawyer already set to work on your case? If not, do you have a list of possible law firms to inquire? Before you make a move, ensure all your plans. If you fail to find a new lawyer and go back to your old one, he or she may charge more or refuse your case altogether.
I’ve decided to Fire My Personal Injury Attorney. Now What?
There are a number of ways to fire your lawyer. You could call, write a letter, fax, email or schedule an appointment with their office. All these options have their pros and cons. Which one you choose will depend on the comfort level you have with your lawyer or law firm.
Calling ahead of time is probably the best option to choose. Calling before going to their office allows them time to collect your files to give to you when you drop by their office. Plus, there’s less of a chance of any drama going on while you’re over the phone. Once your phone call is over, you can head over to their office to collect all your documents. Although slower, writing a letter is a great option for having something down on paper. Over the phone, it’s hard to go over all your reasons for firing them without getting too worked up. Through a letter, you can think about your reasons and write them down in the form of constructive criticism. This is good for both the attorney and client.
Another great thing is the ability to do all this without any physical contact or needing to come into their office. They can just mail back all your required documents.
Email and fax are great things that modern technology has given us, but they do have their drawbacks. When calling, you can be sure they’ve received the message when they answer the phone. With email or fax, you can’t check their inbox for them or see what things they’ve read. They can always say that they never received whatever you sent.
This is a good option though, if you would like supplementary evidence showing that you have fired your lawyer. It’s printable and can be documented, unlike the average phone call.
Lastly, schedule an appointment to meet with your attorney and discuss letting them go as their representation for your case.
After Firing Your Attorney
Make sure your stop by your law firm or lawyer’s office to obtain all of your documents, as they have no right to keep these. They may keep copies for their own files, but all originals are yours. You have a right to them and if they refuse to give them to you, you have the right to further legal actions.
In conclusion, for whatever reason you’re considering to fire your personal injury attorney, make sure that all your decisions are final and necessary back-up plans are made. Legal cases can be difficult and stressful situations but hopefully with a better attorney fighting for your case; it’ll all be worth it.