Every day this week I'm discussing a different lie told by attorneys in the Chicago area. Today's lie is:
You can't fire me!
While in the best scenario you'd never need to find a new attorney, I'm blown away by the number of lawyers who make their clients believe that they are stuck with them. It happens all of the time in workers' compensation and personal injury claims and often in criminal cases too.
There is nothing that prevents you from getting a new attorney. In personal injury cases, if a lawsuit hasn't been filed, it's often as easy as just calling them up and telling them to stop working on the case. In workers' compensation, unless there is a huge offer to settle it's a snap too.
The terminated attorneys may have a claim for some fees for the work they've done, but that usually doesn't increase your fees by one penny. In most cases the old and new attorney work something out.
We have seen some attorneys who get fired over and over try to add clauses to their retainer contracts that discourage a client from even thinking about finding a better law firm. Try to work things out of you can, but don't think that you are stuck with the bad lawyer forever. It's not true and it's actually very common for a client to switch attorneys when things aren't going well.
Legal Tip Of The Day from Park Ridge attorney Julie Smolka: Before entering into a contract with a contractor, be sure to get information such as the full name of the salesperson, a landline phone number, an address, and the full name of the company. This information matters if the contractor breaches the agreement. If you need to file suit and serve the company, a first name, cell phone number and a p.o. box will not cut it. You will be out of luck, and it's impossible to get that information once you are in the dispute.
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