If I want to discharge my attorney for another one, how does it work? 18 Answers as of June 12, 2013

I haven’ been happy with my attorney for almost 2 yrs now. I really want to get someone else. I was told that I would still have to pay him the 30% that the contract says he can get. What if he doesn't get me the money? Also I was told that if I let this attorney go at this point (he just filed the suit) that no other attorney would want the case unless there's a LOT of money involved. What are my options here?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
You are free to discharge your attorney for any reason you want and either hire a new attorney or represent yourself. You indicate that a lawsuit was just filed so your current attorney would have to ask the judge to be permitted to withdraw from your case. Judges in civil cases routinely grant this request especially if you have a new attorney. Without knowing exactly what has occurred in your case your current attorney it is doubtful your attorney is entitled to 30% of the amount you ultimately receive in your case. Depending on the fee agreement you signed with your current attorney, he or she may be entitled to be reimbursed his or her costs.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 1/10/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Talk to the new attorney; he/she will know what to do and how to do it. If you are not happy with your attorney, you will not trust their judgment, and will question everything. That is not good for either of you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/27/2012
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
If you find another attorney you would like to represent you and who wants to take on your case, that attorney will send a letter to your current attorney and let him know he/she has been fired. Your current attorney has the right to put a lien on your case, generally speaking, but he will have to prove the value of that lien, he is entitled to the reasonable value of his services rendered to that point - called quantum merit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/14/2012
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You can fire your attorney at any time. Do it now.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 5/23/2013
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
If you fire an attorney was working on a contingency basis normally he will be allowed at least lien on the file for remuneration of his hours worked at a reasonable hourly rate.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/14/2012
    Sedin Begakis & Bish | Mindy Bish
    You can discharge your attorney anytime. A discharged attorney is entitled to what is called quantum merit which means he is entitled to payment for the work he performed prior to being discharged. So if he worked 2 hours on a file then he would be entitled to 2 hours of time etc. If you hire a new attorney that attorney usually handles this lien when the case resolves. If nothing is collected nothing is owed to anyone. Attorneys take cases that other attorney worked on all the time when the case is worth it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Fire your attorney and find another.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Hire another attorney and he/she will do the rest.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/12/2013
    Law Office of Phyl van Ammers | Phyl van Ammers
    Talk to another attorney and see if that prospective attorney will take a small case. You need to read the agreement you signed. Read it carefully.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    Lahmani Law | Nicole Lahmani
    If you find another attorney interested In the case, the two attorneys will split the fees from their percentage (it may be 40% after the filing of a lawsuit.) this should not affect your percentage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    Why are you asking an attorney how to beat an other attorney, so what you are asking is that because you are not happy the time and effort put in to your case is worth 0, and that attorney deserves nothing, well the info you received is correct they will be entitled to place a lien on the file for their worthless efforts, that is something that all lawyers decided years ago to get accomplished to screw clients, because after all if the client is not happy the attorney should just donate all their time and effort to make the client feel better because they did not get what they thought they should get fast enough.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    You can discharge.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 12/14/2012
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    Under California law, a client may discharge his/her attorney at any time and with or without a reason. You apparently engaged the attorney on a contingency fee basis. The attorney's fee is contingent upon a recovery, but it is not the percentage. It converts to an hourly rate for reasonable compensation for services rendered, but cannot exceed the percentage amount. What usually occurs is the new attorney negotiates the fee sharing with the former attorney. If they cannot agree the matter may be resolved by arbitration between them. The client receives the appropriate recovery. (There are exceptions to this general scenario. The specific facts need to be understood to fully address the issue.)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/13/2012
    Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PLLC | Richard Johnson
    You can fire your lawyer any time, or your lawyer can fire you, too, I suppose. If you fire your lawyer, he / she has to give you your file, but he / she may well lien the case for the reasonable value of time in the case, plus what the lawyer has advanced in costs for you. Liening the case means a chunk is going to come out at the end that is not going to be available to you / your new lawyer, who you will probably want to retain on a contingent fee basis, too. So, yes, changing lawyers in mid stream can make it harder to get a new lawyer to take on your case. AND, I think, the new lawyer is going to be a bit leery about taking on a case with a client who has fired his previous lawyer. And, you know, there is no guarantee you are going to like the new lawyer any better than you like the former one. I mean, unless your first lawyer and you are really fighting / are at odds / the present lawyer is just missing the boat / not getting the job done, maybe you ought to just stay where you're at.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/13/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    You should call and interview other attorneys. Some may or may not be interested. If you switch the attorneys split the fee according to their work effort. There isn't a second fee.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/13/2012
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    First, you can fire your lawyer at any time. The Court must approve his withdrawal, but early in a case the Judge is likely to do so. At least in the Dane County area, the usual share of the fee which the discharged lawyer gets is one-third of the one-third which will go to your new lawyer. It is true that lawyers, who are business people as well as professionals, are not likely to accept a case unless they expect to receive fair payment (or very large payment) for their efforts. So if a lawyer expects to put, say, 100 hours into a case, he or she is not likely to be very interested in a case whose total damages are less than about $90,000.00.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 12/13/2012
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    You are NOT liable to your attorney for the 30%. You are probably liable for a reasonable fee representing any appropriate work your attorney has already done on your behalf. Check the original retainer agreement you presumably signed to see that it says about your rights and obligations. If it says nothing about this, you may be able to walk without any obligation. If you are really unhappy, you should - at least - take the time to meet with another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/13/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney