Can you fire a lawyer?

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  #1  
Old 02-12-09, 07:18 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Colorado
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Can you fire a lawyer?

When the lawyer has done some things on a person's behalf, but isn't really fighting for the client's best interest? (ie: Lawyer wants to settle the case and the one that deserves a good representation...doesn't and shouldn't settle)

Even if the case has already been started?

Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-12-09, 09:02 PM
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Location: USA
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Of course, you can fire your lawyer. But, if the case has already been filed, then it will require the court's permission to replace the attorney with another. Then, you will have to provide 'good cause.'

If the lawyer is not returning your phone calls, then you may need to seek another attorney.

You provide no specific details of the legal case or the lawyer client relationship, thus, it is difficult to provide any specific advice.

Please note that there are also lawyers that are bravado and promise you the moon and are very reassuring. Then, you get to court, and you lose. Then, the lawyer berates you for your morals, behavior, or whatever. And, then, they tell you your issues are philosophical and you need to go before the state legislature to change the laws. Been there and done that!

Laws tend to be state specific. Every case is specific. Every attorney, depending upon skills, is specific.

Unfortuntely, you are not specific and to ask such a vague legal question is asking for unspecific info. This website does not provide legal advice. It is recommended that you explore your state laws re: your specific case, legal case history, and consult with an attorney experienced in your desired area of expertise and familiar with your state's legal history within your required legal issue(s).
 
  #3  
Old 02-16-09, 08:23 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 135
in general i agree with twelvepeople with some exceptions. i do not think you have to go to court to replace the lawyer. you simply tell him you no longer want him to represent you; you ask for your file and you go elsewhere. the only time any court is involved here in wisconsin is when the it is the lawyer who wants to fire the client [after a lawsuit has been commenced]. then the lawyer has to go to court and show good cause why he should be allowed to withdraw from the case. if the lawyer is allowed to quit, then the client is given notice of this, and is also given ample time to find another lawyer. the court deadlines are put on hold.
now consider the ramifications of firing your lawyer:
are you sure another lawyer will take the case? if not, you are on your own.
how much money will you owe the ex-lawyer? look at the retainer agreement. if you are responsible for out of pocket costs if you win, the fired layer might argue, with some merit, that you owe him the acfual costs he has already spent on your behalf, right now [because you have deprived him of the opportunity to win].
it might be a little harder to find another lawyer if the present one has actually done substantial work on your behalf [although you are dis-satisfied with the work]. generally, the fired lawyer will want the fair value of his services paid directly to him by the new lawyer [if you win your case]. this does not affect you directly, but it lowers the potential fee of the second lawyer, because he has to share his fee with the fired lawyer. you come out the same, however.
finally, i get calls all of the time from people who want a new lawyer because they are unhappy with the current one. my standard response is that it is not proper for me to discuss the merits of their case while they are still represented by another lawyer [ie while they are still under contract]. i think this is the ethical response on my part. "after you tell your lawyer, in writing, you want to change, then i can discuss the actual facts of your case." good luck.
 
  #4  
Old 02-16-09, 06:52 PM
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Thank you for the help. A friend of mine has a divorce lawyer and she (sometimes) when in court with the friend or in mediation, smells "like alcohol". My friend is a police officer, so he knows that smell well..he arrests alot of DUI's.

And, she and his soon-to-be exwife's lawyer set up a mediation time with a mediator....they waited for him for over and hour and a half and he never showed.

But, she's billing the friend regardless for it. She's also trying to talk him into giving the ex wife generous maintenance, BUT....they haven't lived in the same house for 8 years. She moved in with a boyfriend and doesn't work. She can work, she just doesn't.

My friend has paid the house payment all these years by himself AND had custody of their daughter and paid for her expenses. The ex just walked away 8 years ago and didn't pay a dime towards anything.

Colorado is a 50/50 state and, I can see her getting 50% of the house's profit, but not maintenance. And, the ex wants money from the friend to get her teeth fixed ($5k).....again, she's lived with another man for 8 years.

It just seems like the friend of mine is getting a bad deal here, the lawyer is "iffy" and she just wants to get this over with quickly, so that she can get paid, but she's not looking out for the best interest of her client...my friend.

It's complicated, I know....but, that's the scoop and he's not happy with it at all.
 
  #5  
Old 02-17-09, 08:29 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 135
don't divorce laws really suck? they used to suck for the woman, but since the late 70's they suck for the wage earner, who is often, but not always, the man, as in your friend's case. the best solution, although illegal, would be for your friend to hire a hit man. obviously that is a no go. second best is to IMMEDIATELY FIRE AND REPORT TO THE STATE BAR ASSOCIATION any lawyer that has any professional contact with noticeable alcohol on his/her breath. there is no excuse for that. there is no "upper limit of alcohol" below which it is which is ok. Consider: what if the judge is a tee-totaler and smells the alcohol breath and holds it against the client that would have a lawyer like that. what if the lawyer is speeding to get to a court hearing and gets pulled over, but instead of a simple speeding ticket ends up with a dui charge? what happens to the client sitting in court waiting for a lawyer to show up. [by the way, same for doctors!!] obviously, your friend needs a more sober lawyer, someone he can trust. it is the loss of trust that is the issue here. one cannot analyze the legal skills of the putative drinking lawyer on the internet, although she sounds a bit "off." final thought, the 50/50 is generally a starting point. the courts chip away at that depending on the equities of the individual case. if he did all of the house payments and taxes and maintainance and repairs for 8 years, why should she get 50% of any profit? i think judges in our state would have little trouble accepting that argument, even though we are also a 50/50 state. good luck.
 
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