Can I change lawyers if I’m not happy with my current lawyer?
Yes! You have the right to change lawyers just like you have the right to change doctors if you are not satisfied with their services. You should hold any professional that you hire to the highest standards and, make sure they are responsive to your needs. Discharging a lawyer might be complicated by whether or not your current attorney is receiving a fee. If he is, your current attorney is entitled to continue receiving a fee from your benefits until there is new litigation in your case or, your new attorney is able to settle the case. This means that the new attorney that you hire might be working for free for a while until new litigation starts in your case or, until it settles. This situation might also be complicated by any settlement offers that your old lawyer might have gotten you before he was discharged. Technically, if the old lawyer was able to get you a settlement offer before he was discharged, then the old lawyer attorney is entitled to 20% of that amount as his fee, regardless of whether new litigation has started.
Most lawyers do not like to take clients from other lawyers. Because of this, you will likely encounter some reservation on the part of the new lawyer to taking over your file. Typically, the new attorney will recommend that you try to resolve your differences with the old lawyer, even if that means having you go to the old lawyer’s office for an unscheduled meeting. The new attorney will often times call the old lawyer to let him know that one of his clients is attorney shopping and, to suggest that he call the client to try and resolve their differences. But, if the client truly feels the differences with the old lawyer are irreconcilable, most lawyers will suggest that the client terminate the old lawyer’s services in writing, and then agree to get involved in the case. The new attorney will then try to resolve any fee issues with the old lawyer and, agree to protect the old lawyer’s litigation costs.
Communication between the client and the lawyer is really the key to a good, mutually beneficial relationship. But, you should remember that your attorney has other clients who need him as much as you do, so you must be willing to share his time.