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Nobody really wants to hire a lawyer if they don’t have to, but if you do, you want it to be a good one.  There is no way to know for sure that you’ve hired the right lawyer until you get in to the case. Maybe you discover their customer service is terrible and they don’t return phone calls or they yell at you.  Maybe you realize they don’t have the right experience for your case or aren’t going to fight for you. In some cases you discover your attorney is a liar.  In others you just don’t like them or get along with them.

The question that we get all of the time is, “Can I fire my lawyer?”

The answer is usually yes.  In hourly fee cases like divorce or criminal law, it’s usually just a matter of finding a new attorney and paying them a new retainer fee.  For contingency fee cases like car accidents, malpractice or work injuries, the answer is also usually yes depending on how far along the case is.  If there is a significant settlement offer for example, it can be hard to get new representation.

Our advice if you don’t like your lawyer is to do a few things:

1. Talk to them. Don’t be intimidated. You are the customer and should expect customer service.  That doesn’t mean your attorney is available 24/7, but does mean they should be respectful and respond to you in a reasonable time period.  We never go more than 12 hours without returning a call, but for most attorneys it’s reasonable to expect a call back within a day or two.  Tell them your frustrations and see if you can right the ship.

2. Don’t go crazy listening to non-lawyers.  A lot of people are concerned about their attorney because a friend had a case that was handled in a different manner.  The best advice we can give you is don’t take legal advice from non-lawyers. That’s not to say your attorney is doing a good job, but it is to say that in our experience, non-lawyers don’t usually know what they are talking about when it comes to your case.

3. Don’t wait too long to address your concerns or switch.  If you do getting a new lawyer may be impossible. If you want to fire your divorce lawyer two weeks before a trial for example, I don’t know anyone who would drop their schedule and take your case over.  If you went to trial and lost, no attorney I know would do the appeal of someone else’s mistakes.

4. If you have tried to work things out with your law firm and it’s time to jump ship, don’t fire them until you have a new lawyer in place.  When hiring a new lawyer, be specific about what you didn’t like about the old one and try to see if things will be different with the new one.  Lay out your hopes and expectations and use the knowledge you’ve gained to make a better decision.

Of course our service has been around since 2001 to help people find the right lawyer for their case. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but we are attorneys who will tell you what we think you should do.  We’ve had a lot of success and would be happy to help you, for free, any time.