What can I do if my attorney does not contact me? 48 Answers as of July 08, 2013

My attorney is refusing to contact client about an on going case. Is their anything I can do about swapping attorneys?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Occasionally, there are communication issues as a case proceeds. Usually, a simple phone call or letter may address the issue. Attorneys are not mind readers and may not even aware that a client is feeling that way. Occasionally, parties must substitute their attorney with a new attorney during a pending case. It's important, especially if the breakdown is hindering the ability of a client and attorney to work with each other, to take care of these issues early in a case. Ultimately, any substitution requires a judge's approval. If the matter is too close to a trial, the judge may not grant a substitution.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/7/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
Your attorney has an obligation to keep you informed. If he does not, you can switch attorneys. If he is privately retained, you can demand at least a portion of your retainer back and if he is court appointed, you can ask the judge to get you another attorney. The judge might not agree but you can ask. Inform the judge of the communication problems you have had. Also, send the attorney a letter documenting dates you called and he failed to respond.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/1/2011
The Geller Firm
The Geller Firm | Marc B Geller
You have an absolute right to hire new counsel.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/26/2011
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
There is no law that requires you to remain with one attorney if you are unhappy with his/her services. You can hire a new attorney at any time. The new attorney typically notifies the previous attorney of the change. However, before you do that I would strongly suggest that you leave a message for your current attorney expressing your displeasure and that you intend to seek alternate representation if you do not hear from him/her within 2 days or whatever limit you care comfortable with. Set a time and day and then stick to it, but give the payer a chance to respond. He or she may just be temporarily busy with a case that is all-consuming. I often am totally immersed in a matter for a few days if it is in trial or final stages of negotiation. It could even be personal issues that the lawyer has run into. Only you know what has transpired so far. Speak to a new attorney and they may be able to guide you in this decision.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 10/25/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If it is a retained attorney you can hire another one and terminate the other. if it is a court appointed attorney you need to get permission from the court to get a different attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/25/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Is this a retained attorney or court appointed attorney? If retained, you are always free to fire your attorney and hire another one. If court appointed, you will have to petition the judge. How long has the attorney gone without contacting the client? If it is persistent, I would suggest contacting the attorney and stating that if the client does not hear from him within 24 hours they are going to file a grievance with the state bar. Trust me, no attorney wants that. Hopefully that should propel him into contact, If not, you may have to try the other steps suggested.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You don't say anything about the nature of the representation. If you have a public defender, unfortunately, these attorneys often times have hundreds of clients, making the amount of time they have for each client minimal. One option is to contact the attorney's office and see if you can schedule an appointment. The other option is to ask the court for a new attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    File a grievance with the Attorney grievence commissino. Go to the attorneys office.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    Yes, you can swap attorneys at anytime. The attorney you hired to defend you in a criminal case has an ethical duty to stay in contact with you and to promptly return your phone calls. You have plenty of reason to fire your lawyer and request a refund of any unearned portion of the retainer fee. Once you retain a new lawyer, he will file a Certificate of Representation with the court, notify the prosecutor of his representation, and request all of the case file documents from your former attorney. The best defense is to insure that the new attorney has a complete mastery of all the facts. In order to accomplish that goal, the lawyer needs to stay in constant contact with his client and continue to acquire new information about the case. There is no better source of information than the client who has first hand personal knowledge of the facts of the case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    Yes. Fire the one you have. You can do it for no reason at all, but do it in writing. Your new attorney will send him or her a change of attorney form to sign.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    Normal communication between the attorney and client is important. If the lawyer isn't responding to your communication by calling you back or otherwise, you should switch attorneys. You simply need to hire a different attorney. Your new attorney can then send an entry of appearance to the other lawyer, who will then likely file their motion to withdraw. Switching lawyers at the last second is rarely a wise decision and so this should be done right away if there really is a communication conflict. Furthermore, you may want to consider discussing your concerns with the current lawyer first, and giving them a chance to resolve the issue. But then again, if they aren't communicating with you in the first place, this may be difficult to achieve.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If the attorney is retained by you, you could fire the attorney and hire another. If the attorney is court appointed, you could bring the issue to the attention of the court through a motion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Is your attorney appointed or retained? If retained just get another attorney. If appointed then you have to ask the judge for another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can always fire them. Or if it is appointed, ask the Court for another attorney and tell the Judge about the attorney's behavior.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You may change attorneys at any time by simply hiring a different one.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Unless he is stuck in trial or out of the country, a conscientious lawyer will return calls with 24 - 48 hrs. If not request your retainer to be returned and hire new counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You can always hire an attorney to substitute in for the one currently replacing you. The lawyer has a duty to keep the client informed and return reasonable calls.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
    You can change attorney if you think you are not being represented, however let your attorney know how you feel it may just be a case of misunderstanding.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    I suggest that you call your attorney's office and schedule an appointment. If you have retained counsel, it may be possible to retain other counsel, provided that he or she will have sufficient time to prepare to represent you. If you have appointed counsel, you might find that you are not permitted to change attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes. Fire the old one and hire the new one. They will handle the paperwork.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Certainly, you can go out and hire any lawyer you wish, however, you should send written notice to your present attorney, informing him of your decision to retain alternative counsel, and if you have paid him any significant moneys, make demand for reimbursement of at least some of the money.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Did you retain the attorney, or is this an appointed attorney or public defender? You can always fire an attorney you have retained. If the attorney is appointed or a public defender, you don't get a choice. Call your attorney's office and make an appointment. Ask him/her what is happening. Having said that, keep in mind that in real life all attorneys handle more than one case at a time. There are times in any case when nothing is happening. The state may be doing more investigating or waiting to present it to the grand jury. The case may be ready to go to trial but there are older cases in the same court that have higher priority for trial time. It makes no sense to call a client periodically just to tell them that nothing is happening right now. I think you find that the closer the case gets to being heard the more you will be talking to your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Hire a new attorney and file a grievance with the state bar.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of James Bordonaro
    Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
    You are free to fire your attorney at any time. Another suggestion would be to contact the judge assigned to your case and tell him/her that you aren't getting enough attention from your lawyer. They will probably send an email to the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/22/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Your attorney should always keep in touch with you. Please try to contact your attorney again by phone, mail, e-mail etc. If you do not get a response then contact another attorney and substitute attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Of course. You can fire your lawyer "for cause" and demand a partial refund of what you've paid so far. If the lawyer was assigned to you in a criminal matter, then you can complain to the judge who might, but does not have to, replace the lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You have not told me if you retained the attorney or they are a public defender, but I assume that you have a Legal Aid attorney. They are overworked and underpaid and some do not return phone calls. Write him a letter and inform him that you will ask for another attorney if he or she does not give you a copy of the file and return your calls. If you do not hear from the attorney after that you can make a motion or simply ask the judge to appoint another lawyer. That might mean getting a lawyer who is not as good as the one you have and if they are a public defender they too will only want to talk to you when you are in court. If you leave a message telling the lawyer why you need to speak to them and they feel it is important they will return your call. You need to impress them as to why you need to speak before your next court date. You get what you pay for, and you paid nothing. If it is a serious case you should retain a good criminal attorney, they are charging you $300 per hour, so they will return your call. The best lawyers always return calls the same day, even if they have to work late to do so.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    I would suggest calling a legal assistant and scheduling an in office appointment. Regardless, you may always change attorneys if that is your desire.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    You can hire a different lawyer. The new lawyer will contact the old one and get the file. Sometimes just a written letter will make them respond because things in writing come back to 'bite' people. An attorney will probably respond to a letter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    One option would be to hire another attorney to replace your current attorney. They would just go to the next court date and substitute in as the attorney of record at the Court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    You can certainly retain other counsel at any time. Attorneys have a duty to communicate with clients. A bar complaint may address the problem.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    Threaten to contact the Bar Assosciation about it. Call another attorney and have that attorney contact him to say you are switching attorneys - it is your right.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    First you can file a complaint with the Attorney Disciplinary Office in Topeka, KS. You can go to the Judge and request a replacement attorney if he is court appointed. If you retained him, you can fire him and hire someone else.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Yes, you can hire a new attorney. That is your prerogative at any time.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Any time a law enforcement officer sees a crime being commented he has the reasonability to make an arrest or report the crime to the proper authorities.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    If you are having difficulty reaching your attorney be sure to make a good effort to get in touch with them. Call, write, and visit the office if necessary. If you are still unsuccessful in communicating with them contact a local attorney in your area and discuss having them take over your case. Your current attorney is required to provide you with a copy of your file in a timely manner if you request it from them and you will be able to turn the case over to your new attorney and have them enroll as counsel on your case. Before hiring a new attorney, be sure that you do all that is necessary to attempt to contact your current attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    If it is an attorney you hired yourself, you can always fire him. If court appointed you must ask the judge presiding over your case for a new attorney. You should document all attempts to contact your attorney. Failure to respond to a client's reasonable requests could be considered a violation of the lawyer's ethical code and as a last resort you might want to consider contacting the Bar Association to file a complaint.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Fabian & Associates, Inc.
    Fabian & Associates, Inc. | Stephen G. Fabian, Jr.
    Yes. Go an hire another Lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    That would depend on whether the attorney in question is a public or private attorney. In the case of a public defender, you have to get court permission to have a new attorney. Your best strategy there is to make an appointment to meet with the public defender to address your concerns. If that does not resolve the situation, you would want to consider asking the court for a different attorney. If you have retained your own attorney, you can fire him or her and retain someone else. If the attorney wants to be a jerk, you can file a bar complaint. If there is a dispute about attorney’s fees, suggest mediation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
    It depends on whether the attorney is a public defender or a hired private attorney. If it's a private attorney, then you can change attorneys at almost any point during your case. If it is a public defender, you have to ask the judge to assign a new attorney to you, which is not guaranteed to occur. How long is the attorney taking to get back to you? Some defense attorneys can be in court all day and unable to answer any phone calls.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    You can change attorneys at any time? What type of case do you have?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    If the attorney is court appointed, you cannot get a different one. If they are not returning your call, contact their supervisor or the judge. If it is a private attorney, you have the right at any time to bring in a new attorney if you choose to.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Pascher Law Firm
    Pascher Law Firm | Sonia Pascher
    In my opinion, it would be beneficial to you to memorialize your concern in writing. The attorney should call you back to give you the status of your case. If this continues, you may want to contact the State Bar and file a complaint. Further, you can substitute the attorney out of the case, so long as it is not in a critical stage, like for example, one day before trial. A judge must grant the substitution and they typically don't allow it if it's at a critical stage of the litigation. I hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Contact the state bar on line. register a complaint for failure to contact you. The bar will contact him. If time is a question, you could hire a new attorney to get your file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can fire the attorney, and contact the state bar about the misconduct.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
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