Are you wondering whether you made the wrong choice in your personal injury attorney? Perhaps you already know that you are not heading down the right path and you want to know how to change your lawyer.
If done conscientiously and for the right reasons, changing your lawyer can be a seamless transition for the best. There are nevertheless some things of which to be aware moving forward.
What Steps Do I Need to Take to Change My Lawyer?
Step 1: Ensure the lawyer you want to change to will be a better fit than your current lawyer. Do not pick the first lawyer you talk to just so you can get out of your current arrangement.
Step 2: Review a copy of the written representation agreement you signed with your current lawyer.
Your written representation agreement should contain information about what happens in the event you change lawyers. The agreement might specify a different protocol for whatever the circumstances are surrounding your need or desire to change lawyers.
Step 3: Provide your lawyer with a notice dictating your plans to change your legal representation. Any notice you provide to your lawyer for ending the relationship should be in writing, dated, and include instructions about where to send your file. Be sure to make a copy for your records.
Step 4: Retrieve any property or papers you entrusted to your current lawyer. Ethical rules obligate lawyers to return any property to you as well as all documents necessary to advance your case. Certain rules allow lawyers to redact their unique “work product” from the file, such as any notes they made to themselves concerning the case. The rest of your case file belongs to you.
If you paid your lawyer in advance, be sure to recover any fees for unfinished work.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Changing My Lawyer?
A lawyer who has performed work on your case may have a quantum meruit claim against any compensation you ultimately receive. Quantum meruit means “as much as (s)he deserves.” This means that your current lawyer can bill you his or her reasonable and customary hourly rate for any work already performed or in progress at the time you ended the relationship. You will want to make sure you understand that computation.
Another factor to consider is whether, if your trial date is approaching, the court where your case is pending would grant a continuance to get your new lawyer up to speed and prepared to try the case.
Come See If We Are a Good Fit for Your Case. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, PLLC, we offer free, confidential consultations to help clients weigh their options in changing their lawyers. To learn more about your options, call us at 800-550-0000.