Yes, You Have The Right To Change Attorneys
Most people are intimidated by lawyers and have little experience with the legal system. So even when their lawyer is doing a poor job, they are reluctant to speak up or they second-guess themselves.
- If you are dissatisfied with your legal counsel’s effort or approach, you have every right to fire your lawyer and hire a different one. You should not put up with substandard legal representation when there are so many good lawyers out there.
- If you think your legal counsel crossed the line into professional misconduct, you may have grounds to sue your lawyer for malpractice. You deserve compensation if they screwed up your legal case through negligence.
Time to “switch horses”?
Charles Elliott & Associates is regularly hired by people who terminated their first lawyer. We can pick up the pieces of your personal injury claim or your business dispute if your present attorney has dropped the ball. We are also one of the few firms in Louisiana that pursues legal malpractice lawsuits against other lawyers.
Reasons To Fire Your Current Lawyer
There are legitimate reasons to move on from your present legal counsel:
Unresponsive – The No. 1 complaint about attorneys is not returning client phone calls. If your lawyer is dodging your calls or has stopped communicating, it could mean they have given up on your case. A good attorney keeps you in the loop and returns calls in a timely fashion.
Incompetence – If your lawyer seems disorganized or distracted when you meet with them, they may be in over their head. You can’t afford for your lawyer to miss deadlines or show up for court unprepared. You need a knowledgeable lawyer who has a plan for your case.
Shady practices – Are you being billed excessively? Are the answers vague and sketchy when you ask questions or request an itemized invoice? Do you suspect the attorney is misusing funds or has a conflict of interest? Trust your instincts if their behavior seems unethical.
Differing visions – It’s okay to change attorneys if you strongly disagree with your lawyer’s advice or tactics, or they refuse to follow your wishes. Perhaps they are pushing to litigate, and you want to settle or vice versa. You need to be on the same page.
Malpractice – If your lawyer has committed “fatal” errors in filing claims or applying the law, you could lose your case or forfeit your legal standing to bring legal action. You will need new legal counsel to fix your case or to hold your lawyer accountable for legal malpractice.
How To Fire Your Lawyer
You need to put the termination in writing. There may be protocols in the contract you signed, such as providing your present counsel with advance notice. Before you cut the cord, you need to first find a new attorney. That attorney can help you take the right steps to terminate relations and manage the transition of files, documents and key details.
If you have a pending case, you also will need to notify the court of the substitution. If you had a contingency fee arrangement for a personal injury case, your prior lawyer may be entitled to a “piece of the action” when your case eventually settles. Your new and former attorneys will work out the percentages in a formal agreement.
We Can Step In If Your First Attorney Didn’t Work Out
Charles Elliott & Associates has a reputation in central Louisiana and statewide for honest and ethical representation. We get many referrals from satisfied clients and from legal peers who know we will take good care of a client who had a bad experience elsewhere.
If you need a new lawyer for your case or want to explore a legal malpractice action against your former attorney, call our Alexandria office at 318-266-7937 or use our email form. There is no charge for the initial consultation.