Can You Change Your Attorney During A Case?

It is a difficult decision for you to change your attorney during trial. However, it may be a good decision for your interests and for the resolution of the case. When you are thinking of changing your attorney and getting someone new to handle your case, you need to follow certain guidelines relating to why, when, and how to change your attorney during trial. You can change your attorney at any time when you think it is not working out. However, there are many positive and negative effects that this decision can have on your case.

Reasons to change your attorney

Before you decide to change your attorney, you need to ask yourself the question ‘WHY’? You may be dissatisfied with your lawyer due to various reasons. Some reasons could be:

  • The lawyer does not give the client enough personal attention
  • The client believes that the lawyer is not familiar with the case
  • The client feels that the lawyer is unnecessarily drawing out the case by requesting multiple continuances
  • The client and the lawyer disagree on how the case should be handled
  • The lawyer does not reasonably control fees and costs
  • The lawyer does not keep the client informed on the progress of the case

Ways to change your attorney

When you have finally decided to change your attorney, you should first contact your current attorney and notify him that you have appointed a new attorney. You could also have your new attorney to do this task for you. Your file should be transferred over to the office of your new attorney. Then, your new attorney will create a document called a ‘Substitution of Counsel’. This document is used to officially inform the court and the other parties about the change of attorney and it will require signatures from your previous attorney, and your new attorney.

Most attorneys will sign the ‘Substitution of Counsel’ and pass your files, however some attorneys may refuse to cooperate. The reason to not cooperate may be that the client still owes money.

The decision to change your attorney during trial may be a difficult one but if you have strong reasons to do so, you must not hesitate. It is important to carefully interview a substitute attorney as changing attorneys several times can make reputable attorneys think twice whether or not to accept your case. Make sure you don’t create an impression to the court and to the new lawyer that you are impossible to work with. If you are in doubt, you should take advice from experienced lawyers. To change your attorney during trial is your right and you should do what is best for you and your future.

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