Firing Your Attorney

Thu, Apr 16, 2015

General Legal Issues

Some rights reserved by raindog808She never calls you back. He never answers your e-mail. Your calls go straight to voicemail. You’ve complained and expressed concerns in various ways over time. You’ve been patient and hopeful things will change, but it never does.

It sounds like your attorney is ignoring you. That’s a pretty bad strategy for someone who makes their living from client billing. However, clients sometimes find they still get billed for services that aren’t necessarily followed through with. But rest assured, a good attorney will bill fairly and be attentive.

How can you fire your attorney and get a better one? There are a few steps to take.

  • Check out other options in the area. Call around to see who might take a case like yours mid-stream, ask what their schedule is like, and try to gauge their response time and how truthful you think they are being. Google their name, check out review sites, ask around, and see if they have a free consultation. Make sure you state up front that someone else is already handling the case.
  • Once you find someone who might be willing to handle the case, confront your current attorney in a respectful yet assertive way. Let them know how unhappy you are with their services, attentiveness, schedule, etc. See if they are willing to remedy their ways or if they can offer some sort of deal to make you happy. Also make sure you know if you are on the hook for any unpaid fees, bills, or if you had a non-refundable retainer. You don’t want a nasty financial surprise. Before this meeting, it’s also a good idea to see how much longer you might have for the case and if a switch is worthwhile…maybe you can just hold on and keep using the old one. Weigh the pros and cons carefully.
  • If you still are not feeling confident about your current attorney and a switch is possible economically and logistically, let them know you will be making a switch and ask how to go about that with them after you have consulted the new attorney and let them know you are switching. Make sure that you have all the records and notes you need for the case from your old attorney. And then work with your new attorney to get back on track.

It’s always a good idea to carefully track any evidence you provide your attorney, keeping a copy and good records of what you have learned in meetings, etc. You should have some notes from your dealings with the old attorney that you can provide for the new attorney – this can provide a good jump start; otherwise your new attorney might be waiting to hear from the old attorney.

Be prepared: you might have to repeat steps, repeat conversations, and further explain details to the new attorney. Be patient and understand that this is a process that shouldn’t be rushed…you want your new attorney to have a good handle on the case in order to prevent further delays. And keep calm, as the new attorney might have a new strategy. This shouldn’t be surprising if you have had good open communication with your new attorney from the beginning.

Hopefully you will never have to work with a bad attorney, but there are some out there. Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. takes on many types of cases and is able to offer free initial consultations on many types of cases. Give us a call if you aren’t happy with your current attorney.  We’d love to show you how good we can be, even with cases started poorly somewhere else.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

Image: Some rights reserved by raindog808

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