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11 Reasons to Fire Your Lawyer



How many professionals tell you when to fire them? Not many. I’m not a lawyer yet, but I’m happy to explain when lawyers should be fired.

I am a licensed Virginia attorney, but this isn’t legal advice. This post is educational only

Fire your lawyer if…

He’s a jerk.

Nobody wants to pay hard earned money to a jerk. As the client, it’s your right to fire your lawyer, even if he’s just being a jerk. You don’t need a special reason. I hope I would be fired for being a jerk.

He’s not really a lawyer.

It is against the law for someone to practice law without a license. It’s called the “unauthorized practice of law.” If somebody holds himself out to be an attorney or lawyer and isn’t actually a current member of the bar, that is illegal. I wouldn’t want to be represented by an impersonator, do you?

He didn’t properly care for your property.

Lawyers have an ethical obligation to properly care for your property. If you entrust something to your attorney, and he doesn’t take care of it, he can be disciplined by the state bar. To illustrate, a guy asked his lawyer to hang onto his gun collection for a little while. The attorney put the guns in the garage; they rusted. Disciplined! Fire that guy.

He sat there silently as you confessed.

Criminal Procedure 101 – shut up! If you’re being interrogated by the cops, your lawyer shouldn’t let you talk freely. What you say will be used against you. After talking with your lawyer, you might decide together to talk. But if he doesn’t even consult you first, get a new lawyer.

He doesn’t listen to your goals.

Attorneys plan the tactical strategy of your case. But he’s ethically bound to follow your goals, assuming they’re legal and ethical. If you want to plead “not guilty,” your lawyer must go along with you. He can try to dissuade you, but he can’t go against your overall goal.

He deposited an advance payment with his general funds.

Your lawyer must properly account for money that you pay to him. If you pay him a “retainer,” that is a payment to ensure his future availability. He earns that when he agrees to be available to you. But if you pay him an “advance,” that money must be deposited separately. Any fees you incur must be taken out of the advance, since the lawyer only earns that money as he does work for you. If your lawyer runs off with an “advance,” that’s stealing. Yep, fire him.

He sold you a one-size-fits-all form.

Very few legal matters can be solved by filling in the blanks. A simple house purchase might, but not much else. If your attorney doesn’t do proper research and spend the time to get your case right, he’s no good.

He didn’t notify you of a settlement offer.

Generally, lawyers are ethically bound to notify you of every settlement offer, even if it’s laughable. It is your decision whether or not to accept it. If you find out that your attorney turned down a settlement offer without telling you, show him the door!

His interests conflict with yours.

Conflicts of interests are complicated. But a simple version is that your lawyer can’t represent people on opposite sides of the same legal matter. There are lots more rules and plenty of exceptions, but be cautious. If you are asked to sign any kind of conflicts waiver, read it, ask questions, and understand it before you sign.

He waived your grounds for appeal.

Very few cases have an automatic right to an appeal. It’s important that the first run is done correctly to preserve the possibility of appeal. This typically means your attorney must object to errors and make sure they are noted on the record. If you lose and you have no appeal preserved, find a new lawyer for future matters.

He’s sleeping with your wife.

Not only is this lawyer a jerk (see #1), but he’s also un-ethical. Lawyers are ethically required not to enter into sexual relationships with clients. Your wife is probably close enough to constitute a violation. You guessed it; fire him!

Have you fired a lawyer?

Now’s where I get your feedback. Have you ever fired an attorney? If you feel comfortable sharing your story, we’d love to hear it. Post a comment below. :)

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Comments

53 Responses to “11 Reasons to Fire Your Lawyer”

  1. DM
    June 11th, 2007

    What do you do with the wife if she slept with him? Do you hire the lawyer again to file the divorce? LOL. Good article Andrew!

  2. Elizabeth
    June 11th, 2007

    I fired a lawyer. He was a jerk and he didn’t listen to my goals. He also delegated work he was supposed to be doing to assistants and paralegals. I demanded and got my nonrefundable retainer back.

  3. Andrew Flusche
    June 11th, 2007

    Hi DM,

    I’m glad you liked the article. Funny!! Maybe you should hire a different lawyer to file for divorce. ;)

    By the way, I love your avatar. Very nice, and it stands out from others.

    Andrew

  4. Andrew Flusche
    June 11th, 2007

    Hey Elizabeth,

    I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with an attorney, but at least you got the retainer back. That’s amazing!

    Delegation is definitely a touchy subject in the legal profession. Lawyers regularly have associates, paralegals, and secretaries work on matters with them. The big problem would be if the work isn’t done correctly and the lawyer doesn’t take responsibility.

    Thanks for commenting,
    Andrew

  5. Jeff Rubenstein
    June 12th, 2007

    I am a lawyer and I agree with all off your points. Lawyers are human and can make mistakes, but as professionals we are responsible for our actions and inactions. Treat clients as people not paper or dollar signs, follow the golden rule and “listen” to what your client wants and then advise them legally and ethically. Do the work you are paid to do and be honest with your clients. People respect the truth even if it is not what they want to hear. Let clients know they have other options even if it means referring the case to another lawyer how might be a better fit for a particular client. I practice this way as do many of my ethical colleagues. Best to all.
    J

  6. Andrew Flusche
    June 12th, 2007

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I know there are many great and ethical lawyers in this profession, otherwise I wouldn’t be joining it. :)

    Thanks again for stopping by,
    Andrew

  7. FacingSharks
    June 12th, 2007

    Andrew opened a can of words his post! Yes, I’ve fired a lawyer before, and there’s a reason I named my blog “Facing The Sharks”

    Let me add a couple more points of why you should fire your lawyer:

    12. If you filed a suite against the United States and you were stupid enough to hire a former JAG attorney, but you learned later his loyalty was not to you….fire him

    13. If you know what questions need to be asked in a deposition, but your lawyer refuses to ask the questions and instead, spoon feeds the defendants into how to answer his own set of questions…fire him

    14. If your lawyer holds a deposition and conveniently “forgets” the deposition took place, can’t remember who recorded the deposition, can remember what said in the depositin, then you later find the deposition and realize he went off record to coach the defendant’s witness and spoon fed that witness too…FIRE HIM

    15. If your lawyer conducts depositions of government defendants but tells them exactly what to say so they can be dismissed as a defendant, then you find a court log from the night before the deposition that your lawyer had a meeting with the judge and the defendant’s lawyers and he said he sees no problems with the depositions (that haven’t even taken place yet) and that the outcome of those depositions will justify releasing the government defendants from the case….FIRE HIM!!!

    I should have gotten a clue when I wasn’t allowed to submit questions to be asked of the government defendants.

  8. Andrew Flusche
    June 12th, 2007

    Hi ProSe,

    I definitely didn’t intend to open up any old wounds here. But I do appreciate you sharing your experiences.

    Depositions are a tricky subject. It’s definitely not appropriate to spoon feed answers to the deponent. But I’m not sure if many lawyers would ask the precise questions the client wants asked. That gets into strategy and tactics, which are generally the lawyer’s call. Of course, the lawyer should be able to explain why his questions or phrasing are more appropriate.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying the conduct you described is right. I just wanted to highlight the difference between overall goals (which the client sets) and specific strategies (which the lawyer typically decides).

    Then again, what do I know? I’ve only been inside a courtroom like twice. :)

    Andrew

  9. Mark Cahill
    June 13th, 2007

    A great list…

    Part of getting the right attorney is being sure you actually talk to several. Find the right fit for you, and for your case. The guy who did your divorce may not be the guy for your wrongful termination suit.

  10. Andrew Flusche
    June 13th, 2007

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your great comment. You’re definitely right about finding the right lawyer for you and your case. Hmm… maybe that’s some good stuff for another post. :)

    Andrew

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  12. Alec Henderson
    June 17th, 2007

    Dear Andrew:

    Regarding 10 reasons to fire your lawyer I must point out one error you made. It is not an enthical transgression to have sex with a client in California. Why? Because our rules tells us it is not. Rule 3-120 states the kinds of ethical violations which can occur as results of sexual congress but the actual act of intercourse is not diapproved. I don’t necessarily agree with this but it has been the subject of intense debate here in CA.

  13. Andrew Flusche
    June 17th, 2007

    Hi Alec,

    I definitely appreciate your comment. I wrote this article from a national perspective, focusing on the ABA Model Rules. As I’m sure you know, Model Rule 1.8(j) prohibits starting a new sexual relationship with a client.

    You are correct to point out that some rules do differ among the states. I didn’t know that CA differed on this point. I can see that it would be a big source of debate.

    Thanks for commenting,
    Andrew

  14. Nick Kasoff
    July 5th, 2007

    I fired my first divorce lawyer. Unfortunately, it was a year too late. On every single concession that was demanded in negotiating the initial divorce, she said, “You may as well settle, the judge will just give it to her anyway.” So I got totally screwed.

    Since then, I’ve found a great new lawyer, but you can’t undo the sort of damage this woman did.

    Nick Kasoff
    The Thug Report

  15. Tom J.
    August 6th, 2007

    I’ve fired two lawyers in the past; one for refusing to inform me of the filing of a lawsuit and the other for refusing to work on my case with some regularity. And I’m ready to fire my current lawyer because of filing an offer to settle without my permission, changing two settlement agreements after I signed them, and making changes to settle that place me in a position to be responsible to fund the defendant if another party also sues them in the same action. In the first case the lawyer received a handslap and I found a new attorney. In the second case I wrote an informative letter to the Chief Justice who made sure the attorney returned everything to me (I then represented myself in court and won more than I had anticipated.) This last one is yet to complete as I just don’t know what to do with the plethora of negativism and distrust created by the lawyer’s unethical actions.

  16. Robin
    August 7th, 2007

    How about when your ex fires FOUR laywers all to delay the request for documentation from him? How many laywers are you allowed to fire/hire before the courts put a stop to it? This divorce is going on 3 years and the insanity must stop!

  17. Andrew Flusche
    August 7th, 2007

    Robin – I’m sorry to hear that this painful time is being drawn out so long. It would be better for everyone to get things finished and move on. I’m not sure if there is a limit to the number of lawyers you can fire and re-hire. States have a pretty strong policy of letting people have the counsel they want, but it does sound like he’s abusing the system to create delays.

    I wish you the best,
    Andrew

  18. Star Harris
    October 11th, 2007

    Now seeking 3rd Attorney see case Star Harris Vs. 711 NC037837 Need change of venue to L.A. Need ethical Attorney, setlement offer at 50,000 DVD shows guilt morethan, preponderance Viscious assult from customer, no reasonable care no 911 call, no Police 3rd Rally Oct19th 2007 7pm-11pm. Defenent request no more demonstrations. I Think Not. I have my 2nd sellout Attorney. Some Victims don’t die they fight, please advise trial Nov5th. Thank You, 562-912-0210,562-912-0499, 562-912-7592

  19. Andrew Flusche
    October 11th, 2007

    Star,

    It sounds like you’re in a tough position. I’m not a licensed attorney yet, so I can’t give you any legal advice. However, if you’re looking for a new attorney, the California State Bar has a web page for lawyer referrals.

    Best of luck!
    Andrew

  20. Christine and Giovanni Lombardo
    October 30th, 2007

    I am thinking of firing our attorney. My husbad was hurt at work infront of several people including a boss 10 months ago. Workmans comp dropped our case a month ago saying the injuries to his back were only a strain and he has MRI’s that say he has 2 herniated discs. Our lawyer says it could be months before we get an emergency hearing. (why call it an emergency hearing?) so we are left with no money, no injuries have been taken care of except his hand, they dropped our insurance so we cant afford his meds or the doctors visits. We asked our lawyer to please do anything he can for us. He told us we could file for temp. disability but he says we have to do it on our own and doesnt know how it works. He said we are pretty much on our own until we go before a judge and he said we may not get the case overturned. We asked him if we could sit down with him and discuss our case. He told us no. He told us he would not have a meeting and doesnt have meetings with his clients. I was stunned. Can he do that? we havent bothered him ever, infact up until last month when they denied us we never talked to him except to send our bills in to him from the doctors. I feel awful. My father in law wanted to meet him when we set up an appointment because he had questions to ask our attny. But he refused. Is that a good enough reason? am I expecting to much? remember I have not met with him except for the day we hired him 10 months ago. we have emailed each other in the last month and his answers are always very sarcastic. We feel very alone and scared. My husband isnt getting the proper medical treatment he deserves. He has had 5 operations on his hand and it is infected. He is supposed to be on an antibiotic but it cost over 200.00 for 10 pills. We cant afford it. I know your not an attny yet but does this behavior fall in the jerk catagory? I have a better word for him but Im not sure I can use it online since i am a lady. It would be nice to get an affirmative response. Thank you for your time. God Bless and Please, never forget that your clients lives depend on you when you become an attny. You sound wonderful. The law needs more men like you!
    Christine

  21. kay
    December 27th, 2007

    i was hurt in a car accident when a lady failed to yeild at a yield sign. It was just whiplash, i think, the MRI i took showed i had some dislocated vertabres. So, I was sent to a chiropractor and put on pain medication. After going to the chiropractor every day for about a month I realized that I hurt worse leaving that place then befor I went in. So, I quit going. I ‘m still on the pain medication and it helps. Recently though, I got a job hostessing at a local restaurant. I worked for about two days when I realized that I wasen’t going to continue working there, because I couldn’t stand for more than an hour with out having major pains in my back. I couldn’t take my medicane while I worked ’cause it made me bit drowsey and out of it. At that time I had no money so I had to work, I stayed there about two more weeks then finally quit. Im 18, and know nothing about the law. But I can’t afford my medicane now that I don’t have a job and I can’t find a job where I don’t have to do some sort of standing or sitting for long periods of time. My lawyer’s main office isn’t in my city so, i rarely talk to him mostly just his assistants. Now, the problem is his assistants seem like their not on my side.They make me nervous to tell them what I really want because I feel like an idiot for speaking up. For example: I go in today to talk about a settlement agreement and I wasen’t happy with the offer. The assistant left the room then came back and began to inform me that there was no way I was going to get any more that amount that I was only 18 and they wouldn’t give me more because of my age. She was talking to me like I was an idiot for even thinking I could recieve a better offer. I don’t feel like they have my best intrest at hand. I’ve been wanting to fire them. Honestly, I have no clue what I should do or say. I just wish they were more understanding. :(
    -Kay

  22. Dee
    April 4th, 2008

    I can sympathize with Kay (December 27th, 2007)

    I too, even though almost 66, knew nothing about the law. I should make myself a T shirt with “Snow Job Available Here”. I have been caused nothing but frustration (and grief) since my husband died in August of 2007…under terrible circumstances, not knowing my rights. One of the terrible circumstances, other than his unexpected death, was that we had been temporarily separated for 9 months, due to an incident involving him and my son (who lives next door). Even though we kept on ‘good terms’, it was a terrible shock and left so many regrets that he had died alone, and I had no opportunity to say goodbye or make ammends. I still loved him. Our separation was due to and incident between my husband and son. Very long, so I will try to make it brief.

    I had given my son permission to use the car that was registered in both my husband’s name and mine in order to bring me back from GA. My husband declined my offer to come get me. It ended up in a 10 mile car ‘chase’ on a highway. My husband forced my son off the road 3 times (I was a witness via my son’s cell phone while it was happening). It later ended up with my son calling 911 when my husband threatened him with a gun that he had cocealed in his pants pocket (at our home). I filed a restraining order to keep my son from doing so, knowing he would not drop the charges. My husband and I had a very serious, extended conversation and agreed to temporarily separate to try and work things out, since I had been put in the middle of other things between him and my son. I agreed to drop the charges, but had to appear in court to do so. I did so before our testimony. He bought a mobile home on a rented lot and stated that we could use it for rental income when/if we worked things out later. He had a key to ‘our’ home and accessed it whenever he wanted. He still paid the mortgage payments, home insurance, property taxes and utility bills.

    The week after my husband died, his two daughters, who live overseas, came to be “closer to their father.” They had only seen him twice in 14 years (one of those two times he went to see them). Things started out okay, but when they wanted to turn his mobile home (in his name only)over to the owners of the trailer park (they financed the loan), dispose of his new truck, 1990 van, 1993 motorcycle, and everything in his home (many items he had only ‘borrowed’), things turned sour. I didn’t know what to do about the mobile home since it wasn’t in my name, and I only had $500 in my account when he died, so agreed. I did not agree to sell the van or motorcycle, or anything else, and told them, more than once, that it wasn’t legal to do so before my husbands estate was settled. I had agree to repay them afterwards. They wanted to money to help pay for the funeral expenses, other expenses, and their air fare. Since I had objected to them disposing of his estate, they sent me looking for a safety deposit box and the keys to his trailer that the sheriff’s department still had. When I got to my husband’s home, they had already made arrangements to sell, donate or give away everything. I bit my tongue big time, trying not to make a horrible situation worse. I know now that I shouldn’t have, but I thought the law would make them accountable for their actions. I won’t even go into the mess they caused by having his motorcycle taken to a consignment shop without my signing an agreement, and without the title (which I have) or a death certificate. They hired a lawyer in my home town and sent a waiver for me to decline my right as PR of his estate. I object and went to a lawyer, finally acquiring the money from my husbands life insurance to do so. It has been a horrible mess. I found out that my husband (my second) and I were ‘tenants in common’…something I wasn’t even aware of. He bought my ex husbands half of the property for a fraction of what it was worth, before we were married. I had lived at my residence since 1983 and owed the property since 1971. I learned it made no difference that we were later married, since my name had not been changed to my married name on the mortgage loan papers, Warranty Deed and Homestead tax claim filed at the courthouse. I had been concerned, after we were married, and asked the bank who held the mortgage about it. Their answer: “I don’t see where that should cause a problem.” Lesson to learn from anyone also thinking otherwise! This goes on and on with my lawyer pressuring me to ‘buy out’ his daughter’s since they own one half of my homestead. The amount to do so would be half of my monthly income, leaving me in the hole after my bills were paid. They did not care and kept pressuring me. When I tried to comply, and asked the bank what I could borrow and stay within limits I could afford, they gave me wrong figures. That cost me $2000 in legal fees, just to find out I couldn’t afford to pay his daughters off, afterall. Skipping bunches of other issues. My hearing for the PR appointment was last week. My lawyer told me I didn’t need to be there. I offered to give him information I had compiled for my defense and he said it wasn’t necessary. I LOST my right as PR. It still has to be proved that my husband still considered this his ‘Homestead’ to have rights to a life estate (from what I’ve been told) I do not trust anyone working on my husband’s daughters behalf. I found out, on my own, through the court sheets, that my husband’s daughters lawyer had two witnesses to testify against me. Both gave fradulent testimony which I can prove. My lawyer filed nothing in my behalf and failed to tell me that there were witnesses and ‘their’ lawyer had filed my restraining order (but no papers showing it had been dropped), From the witnesses testimony it looked like I had no contact with my husband since we separated (totally not true), and that I didn’t even attend the memorial services for my husband. I rode with his two daughters. I compiled everything I have to prove I am innocence, plus gave my response to each witnesses false testimony. I turned it into my lawyer with a letter saying I was requesting an appeal, plus asked him to contact me. I have since taken in other paperwork and asked his paralegal to have my lawyer call me. She is just as Kay discribed…need I say more. It has been over 10 days with no response from either of them. I feel I should fire my lawyer but am afraid I will only end up with someone worse (it seems to be my luck). I hate to spend even more money with the chance of no better results. Quite a quagmire! Anyone wanting give me advice…or to tell me how ‘stupid’ I’ve been…have at it. I agree. (Do I win something for having the longest, most confusing comment…lol) Dee

  23. Suzanne
    May 21st, 2008

    Hi Andrew!

    After reading some of your reader’s replies and your postings, I am hoping I might get some sound advice. I am from New Orleans and lost everything due to Katrina. I had to move out of state. During the move I was in the middle of a nasty divorce/property settlement and had just been diagnosed with MS. I have been through 2 attorneys who have dropped me as a client once the retainers were depleted. I signed a collateral mortgage, received a partial settlement for the community, however, now he is wanting money for repairs to the home from Katrina, legal fees, labor fees, property insurance, and interest from promissory notes signed for money borrowed from his family to build the home (for which they are claiming at 8%; I signed the loans, however they loaned the money interest free, put the percentage in the note once the divorce proceedings started. I am up to my ears…I live on social security, live out of state and have two months to come up with a Detailed Descriptive List and Traversals (whatever that is) and need some sound, advice? Can you or anyone give me some advice? Thank you so very much, I am so appreciative!!!!!

  24. Andrew Flusche
    June 5th, 2008

    @Suzanne – I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through such rough times. Unfortunately, my only advice is to find a local attorney and get him to help you. If that is not possible, you can always look at your local library for books on divorce and how to handle it yourself. Good luck!

  25. guyj
    June 25th, 2008

    i been going to the chiropractor for about 4 weeks .itold the doctor that i was feeling better,the lawer told me that if i don’t keep going to the doctor i wasn;t going to have a case. what do i do

  26. Andrew Flusche
    June 26th, 2008

    @guyj – That is something you need to consult your doctor and attorney about. I cannot (and will not) tell you what you should do in this instance. Good luck!

  27. Amy
    July 29th, 2008

    I am currently attempting to write a letter firing my lawyer, but since this is the first lawyer I’ve ever had, am having difficulty doing so.
    My lawyer said that she filed to cancel paternal rights to my sex offender ex boyfriend of over six years ago. It has been over a year since this was filed, and she has not returned my calls since at leasts october of last year. Obviously she took my money. She was paid up front for ten hours. I can no longer find the stub to the money order that she requested as payment.
    Do I have any hope of getting my money back? Do you have a sample letter for firing an attorney? I have a new lawyer lined up, but she won’t discuss detailes until the current lawyer is fired.

  28. Andrew Flusche
    July 29th, 2008

    @Amy – Your letter just needs to say that you are ending the relationship with your attorney and that you are retaining new counsel. Ask the attorney to give you your file. Once you have the new attorney, he/she can advise you about any possible refund.

  29. Steve Conver
    August 20th, 2008

    Great article Andrew. I read in one of the emails above that it is important to talk to several attorneys before choosing one. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always guarantee getting one that will stay diligent in getting you the best outcome. My son is going into court tomorrow morning on a DUI charge. Unfortunately, he is also on a deferrment from a previous case where he was arrested for domestic violence (he did not even touch his girlfriend, but apparently here in Colorado, if you are even just arguing and someone calls the police, you can be charged, have to go classes, etc.). Anyway, his attorney told him today to accept the DA’s offer to go to jail for 120 days and the DA wouldn’t file a motion to cancel his deferrment on the other case, or he could go to Comcorp(?) for 120 days and no guarantee on whether or not the DA would file a motion to cancel the deferrment. Pretty much a no win situation in either case because either way he loses his job, won’t be able to pay rent and will then get booted from his house. On top of that, he and his ex-girlfriend (and mother of his 3 y/o daughter) are in the middle of coming to an agreement on mutual visitation with his daughter, but if he has to go to jail or Comcorp, that will no doubt change that picture as well. Based on the preceeding, my son is seriously considering asking the judge for a continuance in court tomorrow because he needs time to find another attorney. What will happen to him if he does that right in front of the attorney who is there representing him?

  30. Andrew Flusche
    August 21st, 2008

    @Steve – I cannot provide legal advice for a non-client. But your son can fire his attorney at any time. That is his right. However, I don’t know if a judge will give him a continuance because of that.

  31. Lisa P
    September 30th, 2008

    I have a question as to if I should look into firing my husbands attorney?!
    My husband is being charges with risk of injury to a minor (which he is not guilty of) but, his attorney suggested taking a plea rather than going to trial to better his situation but, on his first appeal given last month (August) which was 0-18 mos. but, his attorney can argue for lesser time or even probabation. At the time of that court date for the first appeal given, his attorney did not let us know that he would be able to argue for straight probabtion and just gave us the choice of taking or denying the appeal given to my husband and with my husband not ever in trouble before and this is his first offence-we did not find out about the probabtion he could argue for until he sent us a ltter in the mail which was sent after we decided to deny the firsr appeal due to the 0-18 mos. mentioned which my husband refused only because he is innocent and refuses to do ANY jail time for something he did not do wrong. Now that his attorney did not give us details of ehat he could have done for my husband in regards to his first appeal, we got lucky to get a second appeal on same charge of risk of injury to a minor but, we not longer can argue for straight probabtion becasue he dod not take the first plea which I find very unfair to my husband because if we would have been told from the very begining then he would have went with the first apeeal and would have most likey gotten the straight probabtion. Now, he is looking at doing some time (for not wrong doing)but, becuase his attorney screwed us up we get screwed in return as well. As his attorney shouldnt he be letting my husband know what he can do for him ect. to help with his case? It seesm as if his attorney is just lookign to get the case doen and over with since he got his money up front 2 yrs. ago and I am not happy with the way all this has turned out. His court date is set for Dec. and if he does have to do some time then I feel his attorney should be at fault for not providing us with specfic details during his case with him from the start. As two adults who have never got into trouble before with the law ect. we are not sure what questiosn to ask and I think with knowing that his attorney took advantage of us just to end the case and he can move on to something else. Is what his attorney did by not providing sugnificant details as to what eh coudl have done for us from the start fair or does he have the right as a professional attorney to withhold details? I am still confused in all this mess and now also worried of what my husband will have to go through as being an innocent man. Please supply me with info in regards to what an attorney should be providing to his clients ect.

  32. Lisa
    September 30th, 2008

    I am glad to have stumbled across your website and found your articles quite interesting. My question to you is: My husband for the past 2 years has been accused of risk of injury to a minor (which he is truley innocent of) and as of Dec. 2008 he has a sentencing date at court to go to and I am very upset to this outcome and to the lack of professionalism from his attorney through all of our ordeal up until now. During our court dates (for my husband) he was given two appeal deals to take advantage of and both were dnied becuase he is innocent and refuses to do any jail time for something he feels he did no wrong for. The 1st. deal was bad and of course we denied it. The 2nd deal given to him was just risk of injury to a minor with 0-18 months time but, his attorney could argue for lesser time or even straight probabtion. His attorney also advised us during this tiem to not take iour case to trial because when it comes to a minor it is very difficult to fight ect. therefore, we agrreed to see what his plea deals would be instead and go from there. Now, on the 2nd plea given to my husband liek I said it was just risk of injury w/ 0-18 mos and the attorney could have argued and gotten him just straight probabtion instead. Well, the thing that angers the both of us right now is that during that 2nd. plea dela given to him, his attorney DID NOT mention that he could argue for straight probation, he basically told us the plea deal given to him and asked what his answer would be yes or no?! My husband did express that eh refused to do any jail time for something he did not do and with a celan record up until now it would destroy his furture for nonsence therefore, he said no to the plea deal and we decided to go to trial with the case.
    Well, after that court date we got a letter in the mail for a trial date and also to inform us that his attorney could have gotten him straight probabtion but, the plea was denied. My husband and I were very angry with this news becuase his attorney at court never expressed us these details of what he coudl have done for him if he did decide to take the plea deal and when we told him of this face to face he decided to see what eh can do for us in regards to getting the same plea deal and not go to trial after all. Come to find out-we got the same plea dela back as of this month (Sept.) but, our attorney cannot argue now for straight probation because my husbnad denied the 2nd. plea before and noe he may possibly have to do time which I find very unfair on our behalf that we in the end got screwed out fo a better deal because his attorney was not straight foward with us from the start and now it’s too late. I now feel that his attorney basuically wanted to just get the case done and over with,got paid his money up front and we got screwed in the end. Do you think that my husband’s attorney was wrong for not proving details during his case and the plea deals given to him and what the his attorney could have done to help better? We never got into trouble with the law and we both have a very clean record and with not knowing how the court system works ect. we also did not know up front the right questiosn to ask during this whole ordeal and I just feel & think that his attorney shoudl have been more detailistic on certain things and he wasn’t….is this what an attorney has the right to do to an individual he is suppose to be representing in a case? I also feel that the court system is unfair and untrue about thier saying: “YOU ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY”. My husband is innocent and they have no evidence on his whats so ever but, just because it’s a minor (non related to us) he is automatically gulity regardless. What adivse can you supply to me at this time because my husbands last court date is Dec. and it’s for his sentencing for the plea deal he was given but, with the attorney being at fault with not providing him the details of his case from the begining I find unfair and is there anything we can do at this point to avoid jail time or anything at all??

  33. Blue
    October 24th, 2008

    I came across this site looking for sample attorney firing letters. I hastily retained a lawyer for a DUI. However, I was referred to another lawyer. After speaking with him, I feel that the new guy is better than the one I retained (more informed, quicker responses, familiarity with court/arresting officer and all in all nicer). I just received the agreement of service. I haven’t signed it and the only thing that he’s done is request an ALS hearing. I still have a week before the deadline. This gives me time to address the court of a change and the new lawyer time to send in his request. My questions: Do I have to wait until a court date is set to address court? Since the retention fee covers me until the arraignment date, am I eligible for a partial refund?

  34. Shark Bait
    December 15th, 2008

    I have been stuck with my divorce attorney due to pressure from my husband who is paying him. The attorney seems to be confused about who he is representing and has constantly ignored my instructions not to have telephonic, personal or electronic communications with my husband. I feel he has not given me adequate legal counsel during the case and I have buckled through him casting doubt and fear of commercial suits after the divorce. He has failed to have the correct documentation on our arrival at court and has blamed me for this (signed agreement/consent papers). A serious conflct of interests as well as unprofessional conduct, in my opinion. The case goes to court in two days, tomorrow is a public holiday. I have also endured sarcasm and insults from this less than professional man. My question is: Is it feasible so close to the divorce hearing to ditch him and start these proceedings all over again…

  35. Happy
    February 19th, 2009

    I should have fird my attorney months ago. I am two years into a divorce case. I paid him a hefty retainer- 25 percent of my annual income.

    Every time I called- I could not get ahold of him. I would call say on a Tuesday and not hear from my lawyer til the following Monday. (It was like a day before my call- but the following week.) I had to find out about a settlement offer from my soon to be ex- and lawyer had it for about 2 months- only AFTER me calling-emailing- did lawyer send it to me.

    I used to have shared custody of my children- ex’s girlfriend sold my equipment I use for work without my permission- at her yard sale. (No I did not take it all from the house when I left- as ex was about to beat the crap out of me- and I ran and stayed at a shelter.) Lawyer would not go to court without me giving more $$- which I obviously didn’t have since my stuff was sold.

    Also refused to file motions of contempt on STBX when I was hospitalized and unable to PU the children- and ex refused makeup time- which is clearly stated in child custody agreement.

    Refused to file motions when ex made the phone busy for three weeks and then refused to put the children on the phone- for 52 calls. (I also supplied lawyer evidence to all this.) Again, this is clearly stated in child custody agreement. (For both of us.) :

    LAWYER REfused to file motion for me to move when I had to move in with my dad because of $$. (I attempted to file all these motions myself.) (I WAS IN CONTEMPT.)

    Refused to notify me of pending court dates- told me it was better if he didn’t and HE showed up on my behalf…??? AGAIN- I found this court stuff out from EX! Did not notify me that oldest child- (does not live with me) a senior was shadowing him for a day as part of school project.

    AFter all this- he tells me he needs more money- ok tells me that alot- or he cant do anything else for me. Told him fine- this was last summer- that I have no more $$ (as never filed for me to get alimony- was married 18 years) and would ahve to be done on my case. Well …. I found out he wrote a letter to ex’s (STBX) attorney- ????

    Oh- also refused to file change of venue in the case- as I used to be at that court house a few times a week for over a year with the job I worked- and it was a job in which I was critical of the happenings there- escpecially lack of security. The judge on my case is the judge I saw about 3 times a week. The GAL- is a friend of a former friend of ours. ???? (Small town and apparently no one else avialble….)

    ANYHow- I would say if you dont hear back from your attorney in 48 hours – and this happens on more than one occasssion- fire em right there and get your $$ back. And especilly if they have paperwork and dont notify you and you have to hear from the other party in the case.

  36. kay
    March 8th, 2009

    i received my file back from my attorney who withdrew from my case, because i wouldn’t accept a settlement offer. the problem i have is my lawyer reused paper to copy my file, on the backside of my papers are other client cases with there case and private information, like about there case, address, phone numbers, social security numbers. i’m afraid my lawyer will give out my information to another client. what can i do?

  37. Andrew Flusche
    March 8th, 2009

    @kay – I’m afraid there isn’t much you can do in this situation. It is unethical for an attorney to disclose confidential information about clients (and even former clients). I suppose you could contact your state’s bar (the govt. body that regulates lawyers) and report your former attorney for giving out confidential information.

  38. yushi motomo
    March 9th, 2009

    my lawer is sleeping with my wife,what a jerk!

  39. Kemberly R
    March 19th, 2009

    Hi, I just have a question if my lawyer is not doing a good job and i want to fire him.Am I able to get my money back?

  40. Andrew Flusche
    March 20th, 2009

    @Kemberly – That is a tough issue. Just “not doing a good job” probably will not get a refund of the fees you’ve already paid. It could be that the attorney is doing ok, just not quite what you expected. If he has committed malpractice and hurt your case, you might be able to recover against him. If you want to leave your attorney, I suggest consulting with another in your area about your case and a possible refund from your current counsel.

  41. S.J
    May 8th, 2009

    my husband was hurt on his job back in 2003 his attorney has no answers and is unable to tell us why we have not gotten a lump sum he tells my husband to let him know if he hears any news from b.w.c and thats all we get every couple months .then b.w.c. we had a fraud case .then we had to hire another attorney which is his brotherinlaw and had to pay him $500.oo to handel that case but no one had read the c84 papers, I feel we did not need that attorney and i am very upset because our attorney did not disclose that they had the information where he did fill out the papers so what do you think

  42. Laura
    May 27th, 2009

    My fiance just hired a lawyer and we were on the web and found 54 bad reviews about him. Unfortunately he did sign a contract. If he does fire him can he be sued by the lawyer he is firing? The lawyer went to court today for him and never called him to let him know what is going on, nothing. We are in the dark and his lawyer has not returned any of his phone calls. Except the one asking what credit card he plans to put this on. Shame on us for not researching more, but now that we are in this situation can we just simply fire him?

  43. jenifer
    June 8th, 2009

    I have been trying to attract counsel for a woman in a most extreme and unfortunate situation. Because of multiple litigation cases in pending state and over-all blatant conspiracy and cover-up, I am looking outside the state. Because, person has a retained lawyer for the bogus criminal charges against her, I cannot enlist the services of another firm. Should she fire her present lawyer and be without representation? She was arrested 31Jan2009 and to date has not had an arraignment or a prelim. Her lawyer keeps her in the dark about everything, has let deadlines pass by, unmentioned, and has not helped her in any way. I am her only advocate and I cannot meet her or talk to her by telephone. I can’t even put money on her books. She didn’t know me at the time of her arrest so of course would not have thought to place my name on her visitor list. (I still have not met with or spoken with inmate.) We correspond. I recently attempted to file a notice to appear by substitution in a complex federal suit that was being litigated Pro se by her husband. Her husband’s death was ruled a suicide… Anyway, upon being served the suggestion of death, it started the calender to run given her 90 days to arrange for substitute representation. I am not a lawyer, I missed the deadline by 3 days so it has been ordered Striken. These worthy claims against 37 defendants will be dismissed with prejudice meanwhile this lady is being left to rot in detention, not even formally charged. GAGGED, Yes. ZERO phone privelages. V, difficult to attempt to find a new person to represent in her civil case(s).

    Any suggestions or advice?

  44. barbara lockaby
    July 23rd, 2009

    My husband and I were injured in an auto accident 2 years ago, we were both injured with neck, back and leg problems, we have spent medical bills of 30,000 each and are now having to use our private insurance for treatment. We hired our lawyer on advise of his wife who is a doctor’s PA, big mistake! He has done very litlle to help us; he will seldom accept appointments with us we are always told he is in court , not true,and when he does, he has no new info to give us, he has not communicated with the insurance co., we were both forced to call for pip forms because he would not. This jerk has shown us nothing but neglect Should we FIRE him?

  45. Jenifer
    July 23rd, 2009

    In follow up to the post I left on June 8th, the situation for this party has deteriorated in every way, and, I’m still wondering where her bogus attorney is, except to appear to ask for another continuance of competency and now added dangerousness hearing: because it is known she is of sound mind.

    In this interim period, inmate, has lost ability to hold a pen and wrote, she is wheelchair bound, and has now lost control of bowel. This is found to be due to the 18-20 gas canisters that were thrown into her residence during a 100 plus officer siege upon an elderly couple. fifteen sherifffs cars arrived to deliver a fraudulent notice of eviction. (A CIVIL MATTER) The truth is that the couple had won full rights to the property, after litigating for a lengthy time, from countrywide. Furthermore, there was a civil matter filed in federal court alledging civil rights violations and acts committed under color of law against 37 parties. The same parties that brought about the death of inmate’s husband and her subsequent incarceration.

    Although she has yet to have a prelim hearing ( in which it would be found that all grounds for her arrest were made by parties already proven purjerers and liars in court), she is being held in the State Woman’s Prison in the diagnostics unit. She has not been allowed to make any phone calls and I have no way of knowing if she receives my mail, nor, what her condition is.

    She is dying. The neurological damage incurred during this unlawful act is irreversale. She is deterriorating rapidly. Yet, her attorney has not been able to secure a lighter bail ( she is presently being held on $500,000.00 bond w/o 10% option), nor, have her released for reason that she is not guilty of commiting any crime.

    It would appear he has her placed in a secure and well padded environment from which she will not be heard, up to the day she dies, if she has not already died yet. Her recent scheduled hearing for July 23rd was continued, again, at last possible momment. New hearing date and time have not been set.

    Should she fire her attorney?

    He has withheld information regarding re-schedule of hearing dates and left her waiting for transport, even though he had seen her the prior day, to discuss, light-heartedly, the upcoming following day.

    She received a correspondence from his office, while waiting to be taken to hearing schd. at 4 pm, handed to her by detention staff, that hearing was postponed until 2 months later.

    Please indicate if there are oddities in this case. Why is her attorney doing such a poor job of representing her? He is a well established and acclaimed lawyer. She has been violated in every possible sense of the word.

    Thank you, I appreciate your dedication,

    Jenifer

  46. Tim
    July 26th, 2009

    We fired our attorney about two weeks ago and are looking for a new one. My family lost our brother due to foul play due to his live in partner a pain management physician. We paid a great deal $34,000 and to date over one year later, the physician has had no deposition. A young lawyer who was handling our case, left suddenly for another position last Feb. The firm didn’t notify us, we found out when we called for him. The partner of the firm took over, however we’ve had to call him continually to get updates. He was telling my sister that he was talking to his girl friend about medical aspects of the case, she is a pediatrician. We were concerned about him talking about the case outside of his firm. My sister’s date for her deposition last month was fast approaching and in preparation, we provided timelines, details, answers to questions our lawyer had asked us to prepare. I took time off from work and flew across the country along with my sister to talk with our lawyer and prepare for the deposition. When we got to his office, he left the door open on the conference room, had to pick up his children’s toys from the floor, kept taking interruptions for other cases not related to ours from his assistants and kept looking at his text messages. He didn’t seem to know any key details to our case, no names of witnesses, dates or key evidence we had been supplying his firm. He had files on the conference room table that he never opened. And he argued at one time with me…stating that I shouldn’t make false accusations against others in the case. My sister and I had to calmly point out that the supposed false accusation was actually a fact found and documentedin a medical record. He had this medical record for over 7 months and we had been in contact with his firm specifically about this fact.

    We were horrified that we realized he was a complete idiot and had been charging us money for terrible service. Although we were concerned about my sister’s deposition scheduled for the next day, we didn’t know who to be worried about more, the opposing council or this moron.

    We went to another law firm that helped us move the deposition and we ended up firing this firm. Since this time, we’ve only received highly insulting and accusing emails from this lawyer. I’ve never seen anyone act as childish as he has. We’ve talked and written to the other partner to get our files back but they don’t seem to care. We are currently trying to find another law firm to handle our case. Although we are limited on funds.

  47. Erika
    August 12th, 2009

    Hello my name is Erika Martin I had a personal injury in 2008. I had a baby in August 13th, 2008 4 weeks later on September 18th, 2008 I slipped and fell in a grocery. One of the grocery workers ran over and tried to help me up and he stepped on my foot and caused me to slip and fall again. I injured my back, neck, tailbone, hand, and head. When I stood up I had a instant headache. I have a lawyer but I fell as if he is not working hard on my case. I was suppose to return to back to work on October 2008 but I didn’t because I am still suffering with bad back and neck pains. Every week I suffer with headaches because of the fall. My injures are Lumbosacral Sprain/strain, Thoracic sprain/strain, cervical sprain/strain, brachial neuritis/radiculitis and Lumbar Disc. Dorsolumbar range of motion was decreased upon flexion and extension. I have increase pain to my lumbosacral spine upon all planes of motion. I have some sensory lost to the right side of my body. I also need future medical treatment but I don’t have the money to pay for it. I have a medical bills that are over $4,000. I just don’t know what to do because I have a lawyer and he is not doing what he needs to do to get me a better offer. Please help me because the insurance company offered me a $4,500 that is not enough because I have missed out on so much money from work. Also pain and suffering need more medical treatment. Please tell me what I should do thank you so much…

  48. Nancy
    August 17th, 2009

    Hello: I retained a lawyer over 3 months ago. However, he has since left the firm and I have had no reply or contact from them in over months. How should I word my letter to dismiss them and can I e-mail it to them? We were just in the discovery phase, they just gathered my medical records, but i’m not sure that was even done. When I called for my lawyer after not hearing from him for so long, I was told he “took another job.”

    Thanks SO much for your help.

  49. tc
    August 29th, 2009

    can a judge fire your attorney.

  50. Jackie
    August 31st, 2009

    My husband was hurt at work. We didnt know what ot do , we didnt get a lawyer. When he went back to work he just kept getting worse. We went from doctor to doctor , specialist to specialist used all our money , savings and still no answers they were treating him badly at work and he has worked there for over 25 years started when he was just a kid. Now we have a lawyer but he is just a work comp lawyer , we were told he was good but he is rude, he has been highly rude to me and I told him when I contacted him that my husband couldnt read and was a good man. He was rude to my husband yesterday my husband told him that he was just a country boy and didnt understand all of the legal stuff and the lawyer raised his voice and told my husband not to even go there because he had been cheated by country boys. He told me that just because what he was telling us didnt fit my pistal that wasnt his problem. It just feels like he doesnt give a damn about what happens . He is a lawyer that only gets paid if you do. Has he decided that there wont be a big pay off so my husband is just an irratation or something . Im worried.

  51. Jackie
    August 31st, 2009

    I forgot to say , do we have the wrong kind of lawyer? He says that if we get our insurance cut off that has nothing to do with him. He said that if my husbands benifits counselor was sending short term disability when he was getting work comp and we needed to know what to do to make them straighten it out that was our problem not his. More or less we are completely on our own. he has been as rude as the people where my husband works. That just seems unprofessional shouldnt he protect my husbands interests instead of brushing our concerns off and acting like he is a slip and fall case that worked there a day and fell down pretending to be hurt. I understand there is a lot of that. But, shouldnt he have had time after having my husbands case for almost a year to figure out my husband has been hurt repeatedly at a job he liked and intended to retire from someday. It makes me wonder if my husband may not be able to offer as much to the lawyer as the company can for the lawyer to let my husband lose.

  52. seriously confused
    October 10th, 2009

    it seems you’ve left this site.. but if you haven’t.. My lawyer took 5 yrs to try and settle my car accident.. and it’s still not settled. I feel he’s working for the insurance company. he started with asking $90000 which I thought was to high. but just recently jumped down to $25000 nothing between.. Now he wants me to except a settlement for $10000 of that I may get $3000 due to his bills.. Now he wants me to send him $900 to do a deposition on one of my Doctors?? is this ethical? and if I fire him seeing the trail is maybe 3 weeks away. because this is an injury case and he’s supose to get 1/3 of the settle ment if he wins.. can I get my files from him or do I have to pay for them? any one know?

  53. freakedout
    October 14th, 2009

    we hired an attorney in costa mesa, ca. to make a long story short they are in the middle of out loan mod., and you can’t reach them by phone or fax they have like just shut down. So I call the attornewy generals office and they help a little on filing complaints. Come to find out public knowledge he will loose his liscense on 16th of Oct due to unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18 years of age (2 counts). Now I’m in the middle of this loan mod. I have no idea where to turn I need help right now, there sending back our payments now to us. So I have to try and contact someone at the mortage company which have tried before and they won’t even talk to you. sent them an e-mail today as well.
    How did the law allow this guy to take on clients without disclosing this, seems illegal to me. .

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  • About Andrew Flusche

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