Breaking up with your lawyer

Relationships with attorneys aren't unlike relationships in life. People choose attorneys based on their gut feeling. At the beginning, things probably go well; it seems too good to be true. Then after a while, the relationship becomes strained. Maybe there is a disagreement, or an argument, or just a difference in opinion.

Like any relationship, you'll want to consider all your options before calling it quits. If you clash with your attorney, don't have confidence in their ability, or don't agree with how they're handling your case, you have the right to find someone new. But we don't recommend switching on a whim. There are some drawbacks to hiring a new attorney - you have to give them time to get familiar with your case, for example. And there's a good chance you'll still owe your first attorney a fee of some amount.

Try fixing the problem first. There are some common misunderstandings between lawyers and clients. The legal system moves very slowly, especially in Cook County, which is one of the largest court systems in the world. Perhaps the delay in your case isn't your lawyer's fault (although they should communicate with you and explain this). Or maybe they took an approach you disagree with. Keep in mind that they have (hopefully) handled many cases like yours before and have probably chosen this approach for a reason.  Again, they should be willing and able to explain this. The point is that we recommend having a heart-to-heart with your attorney before deciding they aren't doing a good job.

If you've done what you can and it's time to move on, don't delay. The earlier you switch, the easier it will be. There are thousands of Chicago-area attorneys. Get a couple of referrals, and start talking to other attorneys. Find someone you feel confident in and comfortable with.

Changing attorneys shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction to a bad result or a roadblock in your case. But at the same time, you need to take control of a bad situation and turn it around in time to save your case if you feel it's in the wrong hands.  And if you do break up with them, don't be afraid to say that it's not you, it's them.

 

 

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