Despite having entered into a contingency fee contract with their lawyer, a client can fire his or her lawyer at anytime… for any reason. While firing a lawyer can be a difficult decision and one that should never be made in haste, here are the top five reasons why clients fire their lawyer.
1. Failure To Communicate
By far, this is the number one reason why a client may be so dissatisfied with a lawyer that they want to fire him and hire another. A client naturally wants to be kept up-to-date on the status of their case. When a lawyer doesn’t return phone calls or emails, a client should rightfully be worried. When a lawyer fails to properly communicate with you, the client, it could just mean that the lawyer is busy or understaffed. Still, there is no excuse for your communications to be ignored. As a practicing personal injury attorney, however, I’ve seen instances where an attorney intentionally ignores his client. He wants to be fired! It turns out that great case of yours isn’t so great after all. It is actually more trouble than it’s worth. He would love for another lawyer to take it over!
2. Lawyer Is Incompetent
How do you, the layperson, determine the competency of your attorney? After all, you are not experienced in the field of law. For most clients, it comes down to a gut feeling. If your lawyer is ill prepared at hearings or depositions, it could mean he or she is not as experienced in personal injury law as you thought. When you do speak with the lawyer about your case, he doesn’t seem to know or grasp the facts very well. If a lawyer doesn’t inspire confidence, it’s very likely the client will look elsewhere.
3. Lawyer Acts Unprofessionally
The lawyer doesn’t have a good “bedside manner.” He is rude to you and doesn’t listen to your questions or concerns. He may try to force you into a settlement you are unhappy with.
4. Case Taking Too Long
This is a big complaint of most personal injury clients. While a lawyer may be ignoring your case, it is more likely that the delay is just a natural consequence of the litigation process.
5. Loss Of Trust
The lawyer-client relationship is all about trust. Once that bond between client and lawyer is broken, it is only natural for a client to want to go elsewhere. A client’s loss of trust may be unjustified but once lost, it may never to regained.
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