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Can My Lawyer Quit My Case? Everything You Need To Know

With any case that is going to court, trust and clear communication between the lawyer and the client is crucial for a successful trial and positive outcome. For anyone opening up and sharing confidential information about a sensitive case, having an attorney that sticks with you to the end is always preferred. 

But what happens if the lawyer you hired at the start isn’t able to stay by your side for the duration of the case? This is a genuine concern that leads to the question—can my lawyer quit my case? Here is everything you need to know to navigate these waters. 

While it is encouraged that attorneys stay with their clients until the legal matters are resolved, lawyers can still quit a case in certain circumstances outlined by the American Bar. They are also able to leave a case if there is an alternative compelling reason for them to do so. However, disagreements, misunderstandings, or miscommunication on their own aren’t enough to warrant the withdrawal of an attorney. Unless the client wants to take actions that he attorney finds repugnant or has a fundamental disagreement.

When Can A Lawyer Quit A Case? 

1. When There Has Been A Voluntary Withdrawal
2. When There Has Been A Mandatory Withdrawal
3. When They Get Permission From The Court

Firing an attorney that you have hired is very normal and happens regularly. On the other hand, when an attorney wants to leave a case, they can’t just fire their client. Very specific circumstances are required for a lawyer to walk away and they are laid out in more detail below. These circumstances are: 

1. When There Has Been A Voluntary Withdrawal 

Voluntary withdrawal is when there are unique circumstances that provide a scenario where withdrawal can happen voluntarily. If the attorney is not able to represent their client due to a breakdown of the relationship, there has been fraudulent behavior conducted by the client, wise counsel is not heeded, a voluntary withdrawal becomes an option on the table. 

Another reason for withdrawal might also be if a client isn’t paying the attorney what they initially agreed upon. 

2. When There Has Been A Mandatory Withdrawal

A mandatory withdrawal is a much different story for an attorney. A mandatory withdrawal means that the lawyer is required to remove himself from representing the client in their case. Some of the things that could be grounds for a mandatory withdrawal are: 

  • If the attorney finds out that the client has chosen to abuse his legal services to progress criminal activity. 
  • If the attorney is considered unable or no longer competent for providing legal services to their client
  • When there is a conflict of interest between the client and the attorney that prohibits them from continuing forward with the case. 
  • If the lawyer suddenly becomes involved with the case on a deeper level or becomes an important witness for the case. 
  • When the client decides to terminate the attorney and their services. 

lawyer quit case

3. When They Get Permission From The Court

Whether an attorney leaves a case voluntarily or it is mandatory, getting permission from the court is always required before their representation can be excused. 

For the attorney, circumstances can arise suddenly and the court understands

 that special situations can occur that require them to discontinue representation. However, if the court looks into the details of the attorney’s request and finds that there are disputes or prejudice involved, evidentiary hearings might need to be held before a final decision can be made. 

If a withdrawal request is approved, the court usually ensures that there will be plenty of time for the client to find alternative legal representation before the case continues. 

Why would a Lawyer not Accept My Case?

1. Your Case Has Been Rejected Previously
2. Your Case Shows Signs Of Weakness
3. Your Case Is Out Of Their Specialty
4. Your Case Won’t Benefit Them Financially
5. The Statute Of Limitations Has Expired
6. You Have Not Made A Good First Impression

As mentioned above, lawyers are not able to just up and leave a case because they want to. With this being the way things are done, attorney’s are very careful about what cases they say yes to and don’t take them on lightly.

If you are having trouble getting an attorney to accept your case, take a look at some of the following reasons this could be happening. It might be because: 

lawyer quits case

1. Your Case Has Been Rejected Previously 

When other attorneys are looking at your case, they will be able to see if it has been dropped or released once before or multiple times by different firms. If this has happened with your case, attorneys will be very hesitant and cautious about moving forward with it. 

If the law firm thinks that you are just “lawyer hopping” to find out what the value of the case is, they will usually be pretty quick to turn your case down. 

While picking a good lawyer is important, you also want to make sure the lawyer has a record of handling similar cases and has won similar cases in the past. 

2. Your Case Shows Signs Of Weakness

When meeting with attorney’s you always want to be ready to question them about what they think the strength of your case is. If a firm thinks that your case isn’t strong, they won’t be quick to accept it because it means that they have a good chance of taking a loss. 

Lawyer’s most certainly want to assist their clients however they can, but they also have reputations to uphold to maintain a steady stream of cases in the future. 

3. Your Case Is Out Of Their Specialty

There are many different types of law, and that means that there are many different types of cases. Lawyers often specialize in a specific area of law, so choosing one who specializes in the area of your case is the direction you should go in. 

You may have a strong positive opinion about one lawyer and want to hire them, but the reality is that they have never dealt with a case in that area of law before. 

Worst case, lawyers are generally great at referring you to alternative lawyers that also have good reputations. Take advantage of these contacts and find one that better suits your individual needs. 

4. Your Case Won’t Benefit Them Financially 

Trying cases isn’t cheap for attorneys, and this plays a big part in how they select cases. For a lawyer to accept your case, it will need to be able to bring in more money than the lawyer has initially invested. 

If a lawyer chooses to pass on your case, the right move is to go to an alternative attorney who has worked on cases that are very similar to the one you have. 

5. The Statute Of Limitations Has Expired 

If you are unaware of what the statute of limitations is, it is a law that is put in place to set the amount of time someone has to start legal actions from the original date of the alleged offense. 

Depending on the jurisdiction or state, the amount of time that the statute allows for legal actions to be brought can be varied significantly. If it has been even one day over the date that has been set, legal actions will not be allowed to proceed. 

6. You Have Not Made A Good First Impression 

Attorneys are not required to accept taking on your case, so that means that it is on the client to present a case that has the potential to win, but also make a strong first impression. So often, clients can assume that just because they have a case, they can make certain demands or requests that a law firm will not be able to refuse. Every strong case that goes before a judge needs to have an attorney and respectful client relationship has clear communication and mutual agreements before courtroom proceedings. 

This all starts with the very first encounter you have with a law firm, so make that first meeting count. 

hiring the right lawyer

How do I pick the right lawyer for my case?

Ultimately, anyone who has a case wants to find a lawyer who will be a good fit for them and their situation. There are so many negative stereotypes being formed about lawyers that simply aren’t truthful and this leads people astray. 

The reality is that even if you are having a hard time finding a lawyer, many other qualified lawyers would love to help you with your case regardless of how difficult it may be. You just need to know some tips on how to pick the right one for your case. 

When picking a lawyer for your case you should: 

1. Ask Friends And Family For Contacts 

When looking for professional services, our first instinct is to go to friends and family to see if they have any references for companies they’ve used in the past. The same should go for choosing a lawyer for your case! Find out what lawyers they have used and which ones might be a good fit for your situation. You’ll be surprised to find out how well this works! 

2. Do Proper Research Online

The internet is a powerful tool for vetting an attorney before you decide to approach them about your case. If there is an estate planning attorney, personal injury lawyer, traffic ticket lawyer or business lawyer you are interested in, make sure to read through their website, check their social media pages, and try to get a better grasp of who they are as people. This will help you make the final decision later down the road.

3. Setup An In-Person Meeting 

Picking an attorney for your case doesn’t have to be random. Once you have made contact with an attorney, make a point to set up an in-person meeting. This kind of meeting will allow first impressions to take place and will help you seal the deal when it comes to finding the right fit for you and your case. 

For any further questions about the roles of an attorney or how to go about finding one, contact your local law firm today! 

Written By

Matt has over 10 years of legal writing experience. He's worked and written for legal websites for serval websites including Truskett Law, Bruner Law, Jeffrey & Erwin, Gary Crews, PLLC., Deposition Academy, and Wagner & Lynch.


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