You spent time trying to find the right attorney for your divorce but, for whatever reason, midway through the proceeding, you want to change attorneys. Is it a good idea? Will you be starting from scratch because the new attorney will want to handle the case differently? While your new attorney may disagree with the strategy and/or tactics of your prior one, you have and should be the voice in what is done in your case and shouldn’t avoid making a change in legal counsel for this reason. However, before you make a change, consider these issues:
Did you try to resolve your problems with your current attorney?
It is crucial to communicate with your attorney about any issues you have, whether they involve legal strategy, delays in your case, fees or another matter, and allow them adequate time to respond and rectify the problem. Your attorney needs to understand and respect your priorities, concerns and expectations. So, speak up. Also, remember that you are not required to take your attorney’s advice and can tell the attorney what you want to do. However, if you have spoken up but your attorney is dismissive or disrespectful, then it may likely be time to make a change.
Are you prepared to interview prospective new attorneys?
You want to interview any attorney you are considering hiring whether at the start of the case or in the middle. You should discuss their experience handling similar matters and clients and get their thoughts on strategies for your case. If you are happy with your prior attorney’s strategy, you should explain that in the initial consultation.
An attorney who takes over a case should proceed in the manner that you, the client, want, including the legal strategy. However, if the new attorney sees problems, he or she is obligated to share those concerns with you. A lawyer’s role is to give clients an informed opinion about their best options for a positive outcome. In the end, however, the client has the final say provided he or she doesn’t ask the attorney to violate ethical rules or the law.
Most importantly, you must communicate your concerns with any prospective attorneys and gauge their response to help ensure you make a good choice. You should feel comfortable with your lawyer and be treated with respect. Always, follow your gut.
If you are considering changing your divorce lawyer, contact us for a consultation to learn how we can help.