Sunday, January 27, 2008
Firing your attorney
This week I received a fax from an attorney I know setting a hearing for a client that was firing me and hiring her! I immediately picked up the phone and called her. I said just send over the forms and I'll sign everything so that the hearing won't be necessary. Also, once she's the attorney of record, I need to send her all the documents in my file so that she can be on-top of the case. Of course, I did not tell her that he owes me money and has not followed the terms of our Legal Services Agreement! He only made one payment and he's missed 2-3 monthly payments. I was getting ready to withdraw from his case due to his lack of paying and lack of returning my phone calls! My Legal Services Agreement clearly states that a client can file me at any time and I will withdraw at any time they are unhappy with my representation. Of course, my contact also includes that I can file a client at any time they refuse to honor their promise to me to make their monthly payments or they refuse to respond to my letters or phone calls. Obviously the client is unhappy for some reason (since he has not talked to me I don't know the reason) but I never try to hold onto a client that wants to use another attorney. I don't have this happen often but when it happens I try to make the transition as smooth as possible. In this case, I've known the new attorney for years and I like her very much. We have always had a very cordial relationship at the courthouse. We have always been able to work together on cases where we are opposing counsel. I want her to have everything she needs in order to finish this case. If you are not happy with your attorney, contact him/her. Let her/him know why. Perhaps there is an explanation. With everyone using cell phones, perhaps he tried to call me and he thought he left me a message but I did not receive it. That is why I try to call someone (or email someone) and if I don't hear from them I follow up with a written letter. I don't just email or voice mail. Sometimes there are "gremlins" tinkering with our technology!