Could I legally pursue a second opinion on my case? 52 Answers as of September 29, 2015

A year ago I consulted an attorney regarding a dispute. He did not require that I sign a retainer agreement, but I did pay him $1200. He rarely returns my calls and makes excuses for nothing being accomplished. I want to consult another attorney and then contact him by letter that I have retained a new attorney. Can I do so without ramifications?

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O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, you, the client, are generally free to choose any attorney, and may fire and hire counsel as you wish, so yes you can consult another attorney. I am sorry to hear your dissatisfaction with that particular attorney.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/29/2015
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
You most certainly can. He was paid for a service and has not done his job to your satisfaction. The least he could do is return your phone calls to inform you on the progress of your case. I suggest you send a certified return receipt letter to him and if nothing happens report him to the Florida Bar.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/21/2015
KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
Yes you may, however indicate you are looking for a second opinion and that you are now represented. They may or may not speak with you. If you are disatisfied with your attorney, notify him and fire him. Then you can seek new counsel.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 9/18/2015
Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
You are free to consult any other attorney. Inform the attorney you write about that he is fired, demand he return any file he has on you and then consult any attorney you wish.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 9/18/2015
Law Office of Michael Johnson
Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
That would be a yes.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/17/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    As long as no legal case has been filed, I do not see any ethical issue with consulting another attorney for a second opinion about your case. If you do replace your current attorney, you are entitled to ask for an accounting of the work that has been performed and obtain a refund of any unearned fee.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    Yes, but I recommend telling the second lawyer what you are doing.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD
    Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
    You can always consult with another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    You can ALWAYS get a second opinion in a legal matter. Sounds like your first attorney isn't very professional. 1st, he didn't get an agreement for his representation, that's both sloppy and a violation of his malpractice insurance (if he has malpractice insurance), 2nd, he hasn't attended to the matter in a reasonable time. 3rd, he doesn't return your phone calls. Both of these are reasons for being disbarred. I encourage you to find another lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Law Office of Martin A. Kahan | Martin A. Kahan
    Absolutely, there are no legal impediments for you to contact another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane | Lauren H. Kane
    Yes, absolutely.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Absolutely, IF there is no outstanding money.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/17/2015
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    A client can fire their attorney when ever they want to, with or without reason, but you owe him for the work done. ?You do not say what the basis for the $1,200 payment was; if it was for an hourly fee, he would be entitled to that hourly rate for the work done that was of benefit for you. ?If it was a legal project that had several steps to it and he finished some of them, he would be entitled to some payment, perhaps as to a percentage of the work done, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    It's hard to determine what are the ramifications which concern you. You are entitled to employ any lawyer who you can afford. So you certainly permitted to consult another lawyer, and substitute in that new lawyer if you wish.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Yes. absolutely
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Of course you can. And you can file a state bar complaint as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes. You can. You may be entitled to a refund as well. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Yes, you can do that.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    You always have the right to get a 2nd opinion. The only "ramifications" that I can think of are that you will possibly pay again for work that you already paid for and the 1st attorney did (since you aren't sure what he did/didn't do since you can't get that info. out of him?). Also there is the possibility of "lost time" in that the new attorney may have to start from scratch, if you or he/she don't get the 1st attorneys file (which you should be able to get as you paid for his work). Certainly the 1st attorney can claim you owe him $ and/or he doesn't owe any refund, but typically that is a matter that is spelled out in any retainer agreement/letter you had with the 1st attorney. If the matter is in suit, you need leave of the court to replace your existing attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
    Robinette Legal Group, PLLC | Jeffery Robinette
    It is always best to try to work things out with your own attorney. You may think that because your lawyer hasn't communicated with you lately there is nothing going on. You may be surprised to learn that a great deal of research and discovery has been conducted on your behalf. If you have reasonable cause to believe that your lawyer really is not doing anything for you, consult with a possible replacement lawyer. You will still owe your initial lawyer fees for any work done on your case and repayment for any charges made on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    Yes, you can get as many opinions as you like. You may also have a case against the first attorney for neglect. Your second attorney may be able to help you obtain a refund of the money you paid to the first attorney if they did not perform services worth the $1,200.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    You can get as many opinions as you like.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Office of Robert E McCall | Robert McCall
    Recommend you contact the Florida Bar if you are not getting services you contracted for;
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Certainly. And, fyi, the State Bar of California has a rule that any fee of $1,000 or more requires a written agreement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If you have no fee agreement then there is nothing that sets forth what your relationship is. If you orally directed him to take action he could rely upon that in many circumstances. You can always seek a second opinion. You should also ask that attorney to review all correspondence from Attorney No. 1 and help you determine the status of that relationship as well as your obligations. From your email it is unclear if you are receiving bills, etc. This is opinion is solely based upon the facts presented in the inquiry. Additional facts may be important and may change the analysis. If you are uncertain, seek legal counsel. We are not your attorneys. This answer is being offered to assist you in determining if you need to retain legal counsel to assist you, not to resolve your issue through an email inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Hudson Bair | Hudson Bair
    Usually you can switch lawyers while your case is still open, your new lawyer will have to be prepared to pick up where the old lawyer dropped off (so, if you have a jury trial date the new lawyer will have to be ready to go if the Judge denies his/her request to continue the trial).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    You can always get a new attorney and have the new attorney contact him and request a copy of your file. If you think he overcharged you, you can file a small claims lawsuit against him for the amount you believe he overcharged. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Yes. You can change attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq.
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq. | Stacy Joel Safion
    Yes, you may.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen
    Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen | Joshua Cohen
    There are a few issues here, most importantly that you never signed a contract to retain him. That means you're not represented. You are free to consult another attorney and hire them. You should also ask for your money back.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    Yes. If you are not happy with your present attorney, you can discharge him and retain another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Abso-freeking-lutely. And then, after you get the new lawyer, you may contact the grievance commission of the bar association. The guy may owe you some money back.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If you're not happy with the service you are getting, you have the right to terminate that relationship and look for better service elsewhere. The same is true of the legal profession. When you find a new attorney, contact the first attorney and ask him to forward your file to the second attorney. Note that he is only required to turn over legal documents and not any work product that he has personally created, such as research on similar cases, notes on the strengths and weaknesses of your case, lists of witnesses, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar | Mandy J. McKellar
    Yes you can always select and end representation with counsel at your discretion.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
    I know of no reason you may not retain another attorney. But, you likely will not receive a refund of the $1200. You may always consult with another attorney about your case. I know of no circumstances where that would be forbidden. RE: makes excuses for nothing being accomplished It is possible that those excuses are valid. The law moves slow.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C. | Russell Gregory
    Yes, that's always the client's prerogative.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    That would a yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    Yes - you are free to change lawyers. Talk to a new lawyer - explain your situation completely. Leave nothing out - as lawyers do not like surprises... The new lawyer and you can then ask (in writing) for the first lawyer to transfer the file to the new lawyer. The new lawyer will likely request a retainer payment similar to the one you have already paid - so be ready for that. You might ask the first lawyer for an accounting of the money paid - so if there is a refund available - you should get it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    It depends on what your agreement with the attorney says and what he has done.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    There are always consequences to actions. However if there is no written contract and you have received no further invoice from current counsel, you should be able to conclude that you have no ongoing obligation to him. This assumes that it was NOT a contingency fee agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
    Yes. If you are in Wisconsin, there must be a written retainer agreement for amounts greater than $1,000.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss
    The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss | Kimberly Moss
    Absolutely. You can fire your attorney with or without cause at any time. Make sure you do so in writing. Because you did not sign a retainer agreement, it is incredibly unlikely that you will get any of the money back that you paid the first attorney. I recommend checking out sites likes Avvo to read client reviews before hiring the next lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You have provided insufficient details upon which to form an opinion. Generally you are entitled to the attorney of your choice. You certainly can pursue the opinion of another legal practitioner.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Yes, you can contact another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    ARC Law Group
    ARC Law Group | Mark Pearson
    You always have the right to fire your attorney and hire a new one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Chambers Law Firm
    Chambers Law Firm | Dan E. Chambers
    That would be a yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
    There is no reason you cannot see another attorney. I suggest to refrain from writing any letters until you find an attorney who has good references and whom you are personally comfortable with. You should always have a signed engagement letter once you have found an attorney agrees to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
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