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Posted in Law on August 25, 2022   |  by Gary Burger

How to Fire Your Lawyer

How to Fire Your Lawyer. Everyone has a right to expert and dedicated legal representation. If you hired a lawyer who you later find to be not qualified or who is not doing everything they can for your case, you have a right to terminate your contract and seek new representation. Call consult with another attorney before proceeding with firing your lawyer. Call Burger Law today to discuss your legal options at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online. We offer the highest standard of legal advocacy to those who need it most throughout Missouri and Illinois.

When to Fire Your Lawyer

Your specific circumstances may dictate that certain results in your case are just not possible, so, just like with a doctor, a less-than-ideal outcome is not always an attorney's fault. However, they need to dedicate themselves to your case and do whatever they can to get the most favorable outcome possible. Below are some common signs that it's best to move on from your lawyer.

  • Your lawyer won't return your calls — Most lawyers typically work on several cases simultaneously. However, that is no excuse for not giving each client the attention and communication you would reasonably expect. Attorneys should not take on cases they don't have the time to handle, or tell you that they care about your case when it's just not true. If you've been leaving messages asking for updates, and no one is getting back to you, it's time to look elsewhere for a lawyer who prioritizes client experiences and communication.
  • They are disorganized and unprepared — Successful legal claims come down to knowing how to apply the law and organizing a strong case. If your lawyer isn't sure how to move forward or doesn't have their ducks in a row, your probability of a successful resolution to your case is greatly diminished.
  • They don't seem to understand your case — Lawyers should only take on cases that they have been trained in and have experience handling. If they told you they handle slip and falls but you later find out they work exclusively in real estate law, you need to find another lawyer who knows your case.
  • Your lawyer won't listen to what you want — A good attorney will guide you through the legal process and give you sound advice, but it's not the lawyers job to make decisions for you. Your lawyer should be able to explain to you why they think one approach is better than another, but you have a right to make your own decision about what you believe to be best for you, your family and your future. If your lawyer is unwilling to pursue an option you want them to, find one that is.
  • Unethical behavior or legal malpractice — Attorneys can be negligent just like anyone else, and the American Bar Association has strict Rules of Professional Conduct that govern how lawyers should act. If your lawyer doesn't provide the representation that a prudent lawyer would, or they are guilty of ethical violations, move on from them immediately. If your attorney's behavior led to financial losses for you, Burger Law's legal malpractice attorneys can help you file a claim to recover compensation.
  • Lack of dedication — All law schools teach the concept of zealous representation. You deserve a compassionate lawyer who won't back down from a fight and who will tenaciously pursue every legal avenue to get you the best resolution possible. If your lawyer doesn't want to go the extra mile to advocate for you, find one who does.

When you hire Burger Law, you will have founder and lead attorney Gary Burger's personal cell phone number. We zealously pursue every option to get you the justice you deserve, and we have over 70 years of combined experience fighting hard and getting great results for our clients.

How to Fire Your Lawyer

If you're considering firing your lawyer, the first thing you should do is make your frustrations clear to them, either by email or by making an appointment. If they blow off your concerns or don't change their behavior, then you need to consult with another attorney. While you may be hesitant to trust another lawyer, you don't want to go into any legal process without somebody who knows the ins and outs of the law and how to apply them. Another lawyer will be able to go over the fine print of your contract and its termination clause. After consulting an attorney and deciding to fire your other one, you should:

  • Hire a new lawyer — You don't want your case to be left in the dark. Have a new lawyer start representing you first, and then terminate your contract with the other one.
  • Write a termination letter — A contract must be terminated in writing. This letter should be direct and polite, and should clearly state that your attorney-client relationship is terminated and briefly outline the reasons why. Your new attorney can help you write this.
  • Request copies of your case file — In the termination letter, request that your case file be sent to your new attorney's office and provide the address. These will include all the records, evidence and legal communication needed for your new lawyer to fully grasp the background of your case and how to proceed representing you.
  • Notify the appropriate parties — If you hired a lawyer for a car accident injury, you need to notify the other driver's insurance company to cease communication with the previous lawyer and send all future communication to the new one. If you have already filed a lawsuit or are the defendant in a criminal case, notify the court and other side's legal team.

Do I Still Have to Pay My Lawyer if I Fire Them?

While you have every right to fire your lawyer if things aren't working out, they also have a right to be paid for the work they put into your case, assuming they didn't do anything illegal or were negligent. If your lawyer was charging you on an hourly basis or with a service fee, pay the remainder of your bill if you have not done so already.

If your lawyer was working on a contingency fee basis, they will likely attach a lien to the case. That means they are still entitled to a percentage of our final compensation, proportionate to the amount of work they did. Depending on what stage of your claim you're in when you fire them, that could be anything from a small fee to their complete contingency fee.

How to Fire Your Lawyer | Burger Law

It's obviously preferable never to be in a situation where you're considering firing your lawyer. Choosing the right lawyer should be your first priority whenever you're involved in a legal proceeding. Burger Law has been trusted by clients and feared by competitors for over 30 years. We offer free, no-obligation consultations where we'll tell you exactly what we can do for you and the legal advocacy we'll offer you. Check out our client testimonials here, call us at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form today.