Can my attorney withdraw from my case until I replenish my retainer? 19 Answers as of September 12, 2011

He was ready to go to court on August 19. Then he had it postponed and is now saying he has reviewed the case and decided that more information is needed. There was 120 dollars left in retainer at that time and now he has used that up reviewing the case and wants $1400 more dollars. I don't have it right now and he has withdrawn and is not even going to court with me.

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Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
Yes, it is usual to keep ahead on your attorney fees, and typical for the attorney to withdraw if no funds are on deposit.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/12/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
It depends on the contact that was signed at the beginning of the representation.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/12/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Yes. An attorney in a civil case may withdraw at any tie for any reason so long as the client has sufficient time to seek new representation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/12/2011
Holmes Law Offices
Holmes Law Offices | Martin M. Holmes
In order to withdraw he needs to file a motion to withdraw and get an order of the court permitting his withdrawal.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/9/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
Yes. In general an attorney can withdraw any time he or she is not getting paid. Now, in your case there may by issues with the timing of the withdrawal. Generally, when an attorney does withdraw, he or she should not do so on the eve of a trial or hearing. He or she should give you at least some time to get another attorney or to get the hearing continued again. Exactly how much time that is has to be decided on a case by case basis.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/9/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    No, he cannot simply withdraw without court approval, so if he threatens to refuse to go to court with you on ascheduled date, he may be subjected to a Grievance Complaint, which he does not want to have to answer, which will only take him more time. I suggest youpay him something in good faith to show your willingness to pay his full fee eventually and ask him nicely to attend. Only if he steadfastly refuses should you then suggest that he must attend until he gets court approval to withdraw from your case. Depending upon the point at which you in your case, he may not be allowed towithdraw and he cannot do so unilaterally without the Court's approval. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Failure to pay your attorney can constittute a breakdown of the attorney/client relationship as a basis for terminating representation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You should review your retainer agreement that should spell out the rights and obligations of both parties.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Legally, in a civil case such as a divorce matter, a lawyer may withdraw for failure to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    How has he withdrawn? Unless he files a Sub of Attorney (which you sign) or a Notice of Withdraw, he is on the hook.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Abandoning a client close to trial or other hearings is not ethical and as an attorney I am offended when some in our profession put their fee ahead of the oath they took. On the other hand, attorneys like everyone else work for a living and our knowledge and our time are our merchandise. If he is leaving you in a legally precarious position I would send him a letter expressing your concern and offer a payment plan, if he will not entertain such an arrangement you might send a letter to the judge stating your situation and ask for a continuance so that you can locate other counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
    If the retainer agreement you signed states that he can withdraw if you don't replenish your retainer then he can withdraw from your case. In my opinion, a good attorney will work with a client when they run out of the retainer. The next time you hire an attorney you should read the retainer carefully and find out what their policy is to avoid this situation in the future.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you don't pay your lawyer, why would you expect him to work for free? If he withdrew with proper court permission, he is no longer your lawyer and you need to get and pay a new lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Yes. If he has not been paid then like most attorneys he will seek to be removed from the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    If a judge allows it, then the lawyer can do it. You can ask to have the trial postponed until you pay the lawyer. Lawyers do not enjoy chasing their clients for unpaid fees after the hard work is done and the client no longer needs the lawyer and just stops paying. This lawyer could/should have offered you some sort of payment plan if you had demonstrated good faith, honesty, and responsibility in prior payment.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If you haven't signed a substitution of attorney, and if he hasn't filed and prevailed on a motion to be relieved as your counsel, he is still your attorney, and he is ethically bound to appear at the hearing(s) while he remains your attorney. If he refuses to do so, call the State Bar and complain about him. If you owe him money, he can file a motion to be relieved as your counsel, and he may possibly prevail on that motion unless he files it too close to trial. If he files that motion, you should file a responsive declaration to that motion setting forth facts to justify why he should remain your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Subject to whatever retainer contract you had with him, your attorney is generally not obligated to represent you if he doesn't get paid; so, he can withdraw. Depending on what kind of case it is, he may or may not have to get permission to withdraw from the judge handling the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/8/2011
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