Why Lawyers Fire Clients

Many people end up representing themselves in a lawsuit (called being pro se) not through choice but because their lawyer quits the case after being paid and the person just can't afford to hire another attorney. Of course, there are ethical issues in a lawyer leaving a client hanging but usually it is done only when the situation has deteriorated to a point where the lawyer feels that they can no longer be effective.

Below are the 5 most common reasons for a lawyer to withdraw from a case:

1) Too much contact by the client. This often comes about when the client telephones every day, sometimes more than once, "just wanting to check on the case" and then becomes upset when the lawyer doesn't return a call. The simple truth is that most cases go weeks (sometimes months) at a time with no activity on them for a variety of reasons. In addition, the attorney likely receives hundreds of telephone calls a day and there is not enough time to do the work and answer all the calls so the ones that require attention are handled first and the "just checking" calls are shuffled to the bottom.

2) The client cites law and argues with the lawyer. This one is becoming more common with the internet being widely available. However, knowing what the law is and how it applies to a specific case takes a lot more than just reading a blog post on the internet. The lawyer has been through three hellish years of law school learning to "think like a lawyer" and arguing with your attorney about the law and how it applies can often lead to the lawyer withdrawing from the case.

3) The client is impatient. Unfortunately, to do a lawsuit correctly takes time. Answers, discovery, requests for setting all take time to prepare, to serve, and to get a hearing. A small case will take a realistic minimum of one year to get to trial and most take two years. Certainly, it is possible to move cases along at a quicker pace but the client should be prepared to pay double or triple the normal fee to do so since it is a lot more involved to do so. In almost all criminal cases delays work to the defendant's advantage and pushing them to trial can do much more harm than good.

4) Failing to meet the financial obligation to the lawyer. Of course, if you have a payment plan set up with the lawyer you should stick with it and any bills should be promptly paid. There is something about the field of law that makes people believe lawyers should be willing to work for free or delayed pay. The lawyer has bills and necessities just as everyone else does and often their student loan payments alone are staggering. 

5) Failure to cooperate. When your lawyer sends you questions to answer, requests information from you, etc. then it is safe to assume that they are doing so because there is a specific need. You should provide what they request as quickly as possible since it could mean your case faces delays or even worse if the information is not provided timely.

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