Criminal Defense Lawyer
Not every relationship is a good fit for everyone involved, and that includes more than intimate relationships. The attorney-client partnership is a high-stress and necessary agreement. However, it is nothing more than that, an agreement. Therefore, you can change representation if the arrangement is no longer working out, but you should never make the decision lightly.
Making an Informed Decision
In criminal proceedings especially, changing attorneys should be limited to the direst situations. Therefore, if your lawyer is unprofessional, doesn’t understand your case, isn’t dedicated to you or does not communicate well, then go ahead and let them go. However, if changing could negatively influence your case, or if you have already changed attorneys and are having the same issues, then firing your lawyer may not be the best idea.
Also, while it is your right to have and fire an attorney, it is also the court’s right to have expediency and fair process. Therefore, it is better to make assessments of your lawyer’s capabilities before a trial begins and to change representation at that point as well. If a case is too far along, or if a judge feels that switching lawyers during the case would be detrimental to the process, then the court may not allow the change to happen.
Steps to Take
Sometimes relationships don’t work out, and that is OK. Lawyers understand that they are not able to please every client. However, it is essential to make sure that your decision is based on real issues and not emotional responses. Criminal proceedings are stressful, and sometimes conversations get heated. Don’t fire an attorney in one of these moments. Instead, let tempers cool and weigh the decision rationally, even discuss the problems with your attorney to see if the issues can be worked out without further action. If you still decide that changing representation is the best decision for you, then there is an easy process to follow.
- Review retainer agreement or contract
- Consult with other lawyers
- Be professional and courteous
- Send a certified or registered letter
- Ask for an itemized bill and refund
All relationships require work and cooperation. However, sometimes in professional and legal situations, the stress level is too high and the contention too great for the partnership to be productive. Therefore, it may be necessary to terminate representation and find someone who is better suited to your expectations. If you’re unhappy with your current representation, then consult with other attorneys and find a lawyer that better meshes with your personality and expectations.