Can I Fire My Lawyer Before Settlement?
If you’re having problems with your legal representation, you might be wondering if you can fire your lawyer before reaching a settlement. The short answer is “yes,” you can fire your attorney at any time without legal repercussion.
The more important question is, “Should you fire your lawyer before a settlement?” The answer to that question depends on the state of your case, the issues you have with your attorney, and the amount of money you’ll lose if you let them go.
Cost of Firing Your Lawyer Before a Settlement
If you’re considering firing your lawyer before a settlement has been reached, you’ll want to think about the money you stand to lose. The closer your case is to reaching a conclusion the more you’ll have your attorney. However, if your claim is still in its infancy, you won’t owe them much.
Speaking to a second attorney can help you get a better idea of how much you’ll owe your current lawyer. A second attorney can also negotiate with your current lawyer to figure out a payment that works for both parties.
What if I’m Close to Reaching a Settlement?
When deciding if you should fire your lawyer, you’ll want to factor how close you are to reaching a settlement into your decision. If negotiations are going poorly and it doesn’t seem like a settlement is on the horizon, you might be better off finding a new lawyer who’s a more skilled negotiator.
However, if a settlement is in sight, and your lawyer has assured you that it should just be a few more days until the final deal is nailed down, you might want to stick with them. Switching lawyers now means you’ll have to start back at square one. There’s also a chance that your new lawyer won’t be as skilled and will take even longer to resolve your claim.
Rethink Your Decision if Your Issue Is Out of Your Lawyer’s Control
If you’re thinking about firing your lawyer before a settlement is reached, it’s crucial that you examine exactly why you want to do so. If your attorney is failing to effectively communicate with you, or clearly not putting enough effort into your case, you should definitely consider firing them.
It’s important to understand that some things are out of your attorney’s control. For example, if you’re unhappy with a settlement offer and the defendant’s insurance company won’t budge on it, it’s not necessarily your lawyer’s fault. In that scenario, your issue is actually with the defendant’s insurer, not the lawyer who’s doing what they can to get you a fair settlement.
Some cases can be extremely complex and take a long time to reach a conclusion. If your attorney is doing their best to manage a complicated case, firing them won’t do any good. In fact, it will only make matters worse, as you’ll have to find a new attorney who’s willing to tackle a challenging case.
Situations Where You’d Be Better Off Firing Your Attorney Before a Settlement
While some issues are simply out of your attorney’s control, there are many situations in which firing your lawyer before a settlement is the best course of action. If your attorney displays any of the following behaviors, you’ll definitely want to consider cutting ties with them:
- They keep you in the dark on how their handling your case
- They avoid telling you how much your claim is worth
- They make a decision without your informed consent
- They miss an important deadline
If your attorney misses a deadline, loses important evidence, or settles a case without your approval, you might be eligible to file a legal malpractice claim. A second attorney can evaluate the mistakes your current lawyer has made and determine if you have a case against them.
Talk to Your Lawyer About the Problem You Have With Them
Before you go ahead and fire your lawyer, you’ll want to have a discussion with them. Tell them why you want to part ways with them, and give them a chance to explain themselves. At the end of the conversation, you’ll know there was nothing else you could have done but let them go.
However, they might end up saying something that makes you change their mind. You could find out that the problems you had were actually caused by an external factor or a matter that your attorney had no say in. If that’s the case, you might change your mind and end up saving yourself a significant amount of time and money
Ask for a Copy of Your Contract if You Decide to Fire Your Lawyer
If you decide that firing your attorney is in your best interest, you’ll want to take a look at the contract you signed at the beginning of your case. That’s because attorney-client contracts usually have a section with information on how to fire your lawyer.
Once you have a copy of your contract you can either have a second attorney look over the relevant section, or you can take a look at it yourself. Either way, you’ll want to follow the directions as closely as possible to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Considering Firing Your Attorney Before a Settlement? Talk to the Team at Pendleton Law
Firing your attorney before reaching a settlement is no small decision. You’ll want to be 100% sure that you’d be better off without them before you let them go. Talk to one of the experienced attorneys at Christina Pendleton & Associates to find out if firing your lawyer is in your best interest.
We’ll consider all the facts and issues you have with your current lawyer before advising you. We can also look over your contract and help you part ways with your lawyer in a way that’s fair for both parties. Once we’ve offered our guidance, you’ll feel confident that your decision is the best route forward.