Switching Attorneys – What You Need to Know

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The relationship between lawyer and client is a contractual agreement that allows for one or both parties to terminate the agreement. With few exceptions, a plaintiff in a civil case may discharge their attorney and seek new representation at any time during the course of the case.

When to Switch Attorneys

There are many reasons to discharge a lawyer and hire other lawyers in Las Vegas. These include communication problems, disagreements over the course of the case, and concerns over achieving a fair settlement at the conclusion of the case. These problems can often be resolved by opening a dialogue directly into the relevant issue.

Other reasons a client may wish to switch attorneys include overbilling, breach of trust, and breach of duty. These more serious causes should be thoroughly documented so that the client can show clear cause for wanting to switch attorneys.

A client may discharge their attorney at any time before a lawsuit is filed with the court. However, a plaintiff will need the court’s approval after a lawsuit is filed.

Individuals wishing to switch attorneys need to carefully consider the reasons, rewards, and risks. For instance, a new lawyer might be easier to work with, but they will need to expend considerable time and resources to get “up to speed” with the facts and legal issues surrounding the case. This adds to the time and cost. Moreover, switching attorneys may or may not have an impact on the final outcome of the case.

When a Client May Not Switch Attorneys

If a trial is scheduled in the immediate future, a judge will consider whether the plaintiff has an attorney who is ready to step in without delay. Most judges will deny a client’s request to change attorneys if a trial date is set for the near future and they don’t have a replacement who is up-to-date with the facts of the case. It is up to the judge’s discretion to determine whether the reasons for the discharge request are sufficient to justify the change.

Moving Forward After the Switch

Once the lawyer is discharged, they are no longer responsible for the case or entitled to any settlement that may be won at the conclusion of the lawsuit. The exception is if the client owes the client for legal services that were provided prior to the switch. In such cases, the lawyer may file a lien against the judgment to recover the money owed to them.