Can You Change Attorneys Mid-Case?
You got into an accident without much rhyme or reason, and you hired a lawyer to represent you. On paper, the lawyer you hired seemed like the right choice, but as time has gone on, you are starting to think you may have made a mistake.
Luckily in the state of Florida, the law does not prohibit you from changing lawyers mid-case. In fact, you can fire your current lawyer for practically any reason. The Florida Supreme Court has set out “10 Basic Rights” that every client is entitled to from their lawyer:
When I retain a lawyer, I am entitled to one whom:
- Will be capable of handling my case.
- Will represent me zealously and seek any lawful means to present or defend my case.
- Will preserve my confidences, secrets or statements which I reveal in the course of our relationship.
- Will give me the rights to make the ultimate decision on the objectives to be pursued in my case.
- Will charge me a reasonable fee and tell me, in advance of being hired and upon my request, the basis of that fee.
- Will always show me courtesy and consideration.
- Will exercise independent professional judgment in my behalf, free from compromising influences.
- Will inform me periodically about the status of my case and, at my request, give me copies of documents prepared.
- Will exhibit the highest degree of ethical conduct.
- Will refer me to other legal counsel, if he or she cannot properly represent me.
If these expectations are not being met, you can simply switch lawyers. If you decide you would like to switch, write a letter directed at your lawyer and include a signature and date. The letter may be faxed or mailed. It is important you keep a copy of your letter along with your contingency fee agreement for your personal records. Before you fire your current lawyer, it is important that your new lawyer is hired prior to firing your existing one.
After you have switched lawyers, do not worry about your case file, because your new lawyer will obtain the previous lawyer’s case file on your behalf. This will save you time and money and will avoid the task of recreating your medical records, and billing any other investigation that has already been done.
A next question one might ask is: Do I have to pay my first lawyer?
The short answer is yes. Your first attorney is entitled for services rendered up until their dismissal, in accordance with your contingency fee agreement. However, that does not equate to paying double attorney’s fees. This is something your first and current lawyer will figure based on splitting the applicable percentage fee.
While we hope that you never find yourself in that position, if you feel as if your current lawyer has not provided you with the service you need, Meldon Law is ready and willing to help you in your situation. Meldon Law can take over your case and deliver an elevated experience. Or if you are simply looking for a second opinion, we are always offering free consultations.