SO YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR ATTORNEY
There are times when a client wants to change his or her attorney. May the client do so? Absolutely. A client has the right to change his or her lawyer at any time.
There is more good news for the dissatisfied client. Once he finds another attorney to replace the attorney he has, the client need not have any contact whatsoever with his former attorney. The client signs a “Consent to Change Attorney” form and the new lawyer takes care of all the other details. What’s more, the final fee the client will end up paying, to either or both attorneys, will TOTAL no more than the fee the client was going to pay the original attorney. It will be up to the former and new lawyers to work out their fee arrangement.
The most common reasons for client dissatisfaction with their lawyer are:
1. Failure of the lawyer to return phone calls.
2. Failure to hear from their attorney in a long period of time.
3. Disagreement as to the value of the client’s case.
Reputable attorneys, receiving a call from a client wishing to change their attorney, will closely question the client to determine if, indeed, their firm would be in a better position to satisfy that client. Knowingly taking a matter from another attorney when there is little or no chance to realistically rectify the “problem” described by that client would be, arguably, unprofessional.
From an attorney’s point of view there may be other reasons to be reluctant to accept the new matter. If the matter is already at an advanced stage, when much of the discovery in the case is complete, and the date for trial may not be far off, there could be great hesitancy on the part of the new attorney to accept the case. Experienced attorneys have standards they adhere to, and there may be great reluctance to be tied into the work of a prior attorney whose standards may be different, and there would not be enough time to rectify what may not be acceptable to the new attorney.
One important word of advice to a client thinking of changing attorneys:
make the effort to speak with the old attorney and state explicitly what the problem is. More often than not, the attorney will make every effort to accommodate the client. For more information contact one of our New York Personal Injury Attorneys at The Orlow Firm.