Can I Change My Lawyer Mid-case?
When you are in the middle of a legal battle, you expect your South Carolina lawyer to do everything possible to help you win your case. But what do you do if your attorney stops giving you the service you expect?
In this article, Greenville, SC family law attorney Angela Frazier will tell you what you need to know about switching lawyers in the middle of your case.
Can I Fire My Attorney?
Yes. If you are not happy with the way your South Carolina lawyer is going about representing you, you have the right to fire them. Keep in mind that you need to take specific steps to do so, which will be discussed later in this article.
Does it Hurt My Case if I Fire My Lawyer?
It may. Even though the South Carolina courts will not change the way they view your individual case, it may be a challenge to get your new attorney up to speed. This could be detrimental if you are at a vital point in your cases, such as an appearance, hearing, or motion deadline.
Moreover, employing a new attorney may end up costing you more money in the long run. Your new lawyer could ask you to pay for the time they spend getting to know your case when you’ve already paid your old attorney for performing similar duties.
Additionally, if you change attorneys too many times, it may put you in an unfavorable light because it slows down the litigation process and wastes the South Carolina court’s time. It may suggest that you are unreasonable or that you were hoping your new lawyer could help you conceal important information.
When Should I Fire My Attorney?
Firing your current South Carolina attorney is a significant decision, and you need to do it for the right reasons. If your attorney is doing their best to get you the results you want, but the court is ruling against them, it’s not a good time to fire them. However, some reasons may cause you to become disappointed with the legal services you are getting. They include:
- Unfavorable Decision by the Court: If you’re not getting the results you want, you may want to think about whether your attorney is doing everything they can to fight your case or if you believe you can hire someone more qualified.
- An attorney is Acting Unprofessionally: If your current lawyer is wasting time in meetings and appears to be disorganized, this is a sign that you may want to move on. This can be problematic if you feel they are not handling your funds or documents correctly.
- Attorney Fails to Communicate With You: If your lawyer is not returning your telephone calls or emails and you feel like you’re not being updated regarding your case, you may want to find another South Carolina attorney to represent you.
- Your Attorney Doesn’t Understand Your Case: Lawyers who are new to practicing law may not have a good grasp on what your case is about and the relevant laws that apply.
- You Disagree With How Your Case is Being Handled: If you believe your current attorney is forcing you to accept a settlement that doesn’t cover your damages or has other opinions you disagree with, you may want to obtain a second opinion.
What if I’m Unhappy With My Attorney?
If you are not happy with your lawyer, you should first talk to them to see if you can settle any differences you may have. Switching attorneys can have repercussions, so you want to avoid doing so if possible.
If you believe that there isn’t a solution available to you other than hiring a new attorney, you need to take the following steps:
- Read Your Contract: The contract you signed with your current attorney could have provisions you need to consider if you want to terminate your relationship. If these provisions are provided, it’s vital that you follow them precisely.
- Get a New Attorney: You shouldn’t fire your current attorney until you have a new one in place to take over your case. That way, you can avoid having to handle any legal matters yourself.
- Write a Formal Letter: To end your relationship with your current attorney, you should write a letter and send it by certified mail. Your message should be concise and give a reason that you are terminating their services if you should also request that any legal files should be sent to your current attorney, and you should include their contact information. If you made any advance payments to your attorney, you should request that those funds be returned to you.
- Notify the South Carolina Court: If your trial is pending before the court, you must notify them of a change in attorneys. This should be performed immediately or simultaneously with you sending the letter to your old attorney. Your former attorney should submit a Motion to Withdraw, and your new attorney should file a Motion for Substitution Counsel.
- Settle any Payment: If you owe any fees to your old attorney you should pay those immediately. If you don’t, they can refuse to provide you with your case files. It could also give them grounds to file a lawsuit against you in small claims court, and they can also submit an attorney’s lien in court to receive any unpaid amount from your court settlement.
How Do I Find a New Lawyer to Take My Case?
If you fire your current attorney and you are looking for a new lawyer to represent you, Greenville, SC divorce lawyer Angela Frazier comes highly recommended.
Located in Greenville, our team of experienced attorneys has a track record of proven success. Your legal matters are important to us, so don’t settle for an attorney you’re not satisfied with. Call Angela Frazier today and get the legal representation you deserve.