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Firing and hiring a new attorney

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Soulartist

New member
I want to fire my current lawyer for a variety of reasons. I see online advice to get another lawyer before firing the current one.

But, after contacting several lawyers, they weren’t interested in taking on my medical malpractice case, as I still have an attorney. One lawyer told me that I need to fire my current lawyer first. Otherwise, she felt that taking my case was poaching.

Please advise me on how I need to proceed.
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
I want to fire my current lawyer for a variety of reasons. I see online advice to get another lawyer before firing the current one.

But, after contacting several lawyers, they weren’t interested in taking on my medical malpractice case, as I still have an attorney. One lawyer told me that I need to fire my current lawyer first. Otherwise, she felt that taking my case was poaching.

Please advise me on how I need to proceed.
What state?
 

justalayman

Senior Member
Also, you need to understand you will likely end up paying both attorneys. If you haven’t been paying the first one on an hourly basis (and are current in the account) they will expect to be paid for the time they put into your case.
 

Soulartist

New member
Contingency basis--lawyer had done next to nothing. He did come up with a demand letter that I had to edit and correct for gross mistakes. I realize that each situation is unique. He is causing me much grief. So, should I fire him first before looking for new representation? Thanks.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Please advise me on how I need to proceed.
You did not mention the state and that matters because the rules of practice for lawyers and well as the customs of the profession vary from state to state. Where I practice lawyers will not enter into an agreement to represent you on a particular matter while you are still the client of another attorney for that same matter because it can create some problems with the representation and possible conflicts with the rules of practice. So what a person would need to do in my state is meet with some attorneys and find out which would consider representing him once he fired the lawyer and decide which of those attorneys he likes best. Then fire the old attorney and go and hire the new one.

Bear in mind that lawyers will be a bit wary of taking on a client who fired his previous attorney. That's because that's sometimes a sign of a troublesome client. If you have a good reason for switching lawyers, make that known to the new lawyer.
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
So that we can understand your situation better and whether your reasons are justifiable, please mention the other reasons that you want to fire this attorney.

You need to find out from the attorney you have currently hired and also from any attorneys you are considering working with in the future, by asking: "What is the dollar amount in damages that you think I can reasonably expect to receive from my case?" Some attorneys may think that your malpractice case is not financially valuable enough for them to even take on and they may not want to tell you that this is the real reason they are denying you.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I want to fire my current lawyer for a variety of reasons. I see online advice to get another lawyer before firing the current one.

But, after contacting several lawyers, they weren’t interested in taking on my medical malpractice case, as I still have an attorney. One lawyer told me that I need to fire my current lawyer first. Otherwise, she felt that taking my case was poaching.

Please advise me on how I need to proceed.
The state name matters.

Generally the best thing to do before firing your attorney is to make an appointment to speak with him in person to discuss the status of your case (what has been done, what still needs doing) and to discuss your concerns with the way he is handling your case. You should get an outline of costs expended so far.

Only after this meeting should you think about firing the lawyer and lining up another to take over your case.

When you fire an attorney who has been working for you on a contingency basis, you will still owe this attorney money for the time and effort he put into your case, once you come to a settlement in the case and/or win a judgment in trial. You will have to review your contract with the attorney to see what it says about termination of representation.

A new attorney might be reluctant to take on a case that has progressed too far and/or has reached the settlement stage.

Please return to give your state name and we perhaps can provide additional information.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
Contingency basis--lawyer had done next to nothing. He did come up with a demand letter that I had to edit and correct for gross mistakes. I realize that each situation is unique. He is causing me much grief. So, should I fire him first before looking for new representation? Thanks.
I'll ask again...What state?
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
Contingency basis--lawyer had done next to nothing. He did come up with a demand letter that I had to edit and correct for gross mistakes. I realize that each situation is unique. He is causing me much grief. So, should I fire him first before looking for new representation? Thanks.
How much (billable) time has the lawyer spent discussing the matter with you?
How much (billable) time has the lawyer spent reviewing documents regarding your matter?
How much (billable) time has the lawyer spent researching the law regarding your matter?
Pretty much every minute the lawyer spent working on your case is billable.

Read your agreement with your lawyer carefully. If you don't understand it, you may want to bring it to another lawyer for an explanation. I suspect there's a clause in there requiring you to pay him for the work done on the case in the event you decide to terminate the relationship. It's entirely possible that he's already spent more time on the case than he's likely to be paid for. If so, you may end up owing him more than you recover. His fee is likely capped at a percentage of the settlement. If you terminate the agreement, that cap may no longer apply.

Let's make up some numbers. Say your claim is worth $120,000. Your agreement says he gets 1/3 if settled prior to trial, and 40% if he takes it to trial. He sent a demand letter, and he's waiting for them to reply. There's a good chance they won't until they run up against the statue of limitations, when you will have to file a lawsuit if no settlement is reached.

So he's figuring on $40,000 in his fee if the case settles, or $48,000 if it goes to trial. If you read closely, you'll probably find that all costs come from your portion of the settlement. So if you need to hire an expert (almost always required for a medmal trial), that will come out of your $72,000. Let's say the doc charges $10,000 to testify.

Now, up to right now, the lawyer has already done the work to bring forth a settlement offer, so if they offer $120,000, he's entitled to his $40,000. If he bills at $400 per hour, and has spent 100 hours on it, he's already earned $40,000.

So you decide you're going to lawyer B. Lawyer B has to start over, research the case, research the laws, review your documents, and sent a demand letter to the bad doctor. Lawyer 2 takes the case to trial and gets a judgment for $120,000.

So using the numbers above, you pay lawyer 1 $40,000, you pay lawyer 2 $48,000, you pay your expert $10,000, and you end up with $12,000 in your pocket.
 

elenastewart

New member
I want to fire my current lawyer for a variety of reasons. I see online advice to get another lawyer before firing the current one.

But, after contacting several lawyers, they weren’t interested in taking on my medical malpractice case, as I still have an attorney. One lawyer told me that I need to fire my current lawyer first. Otherwise, she felt that taking my case was poaching.

Please advise me on how I need to proceed.
First of all you need to discuss to the current lawyer regarding all the issues you are having with the current lawyers, you can try to solve those problems with a healthy discussion.
If this trick doesn't work than you can think to hire another lawyer as you will have to expense the money to that lawyer that could be more than current lawyers and there are possibilities that the lawyer may not be trustworthy. It can take long time to create and maintain trustworthy relationship with new lawyer.
As you said that no lawyer is interested to take your medical malpractice case, so it is better to go with the current lawyer as he is having enough knowledge regarding that case, so he can handle the case very well.
If another lawyer is telling you to fire the current lawyer which means he has no trust on you, and there is possibility that he can back off from you, and moreover you will have to pay to both of the lawyers at the same time. This will be the best decision to keep the current lawyer by your side rather than hiring new lawyer.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
First of all you need to discuss to the current lawyer regarding all the issues you are having with the current lawyers, you can try to solve those problems with a healthy discussion.
If this trick doesn't work than you can think to hire another lawyer as you will have to expense the money to that lawyer that could be more than current lawyers and there are possibilities that the lawyer may not be trustworthy. It can take long time to create and maintain trustworthy relationship with new lawyer.
As you said that no lawyer is interested to take your medical malpractice case, so it is better to go with the current lawyer as he is having enough knowledge regarding that case, so he can handle the case very well.
If another lawyer is telling you to fire the current lawyer which means he has no trust on you, and there is possibility that he can back off from you, and moreover you will have to pay to both of the lawyers at the same time. This will be the best decision to keep the current lawyer by your side rather than hiring new lawyer.
Huh?
 

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