It can be a very difficult decision indeed. It's not like you're taught how to approach the subject in school. In the heat of the moment, in your hour of need, and with a million questions swirling around in your head, choosing a lawyer - the RIGHT lawyer - can prove difficult, especially if you require their services because of a car accident or other personal injury.
It's about more than money or easy to remember 1-800 numbers. It's about having the competent and knowledgeable representation required to protect your rights while seeking the compensation and redress your situation deserves. Certainly, name and reputation can guide your decision. But they are not always flawless indications of what you end up getting.
You see, once you've committed to your new legal representative and signed the contract on the dotted line, a lot of things can change. Said lawyer can pass the case off to an associate or underling. You can easily become just another name in a database, a statistic waiting for the insurance company to make an offer so Mr. or Ms. Attorney can take their percentage and move on to the next case file.
Then there are the details - the approach to the claim, the doctor recommendations, the financial burden of being injured, and perhaps the most overlooked aspect of any professional relationship - how well you get along as people. So the question becomes, can I fire my attorney? Better still, can I fire my current representation and hire someone new?
Well, the quick answer is "Yes." There is no such thing as a lifetime contract between you and an attorney. But like any breakup, the process can be complicated and the results difficult to deal with. First of all, recognize this simple fact - your intended new attorney cannot speak with you about the specifics of your case until you've discharged your previous representation. This can be done - as recommended by the Tennessee Bar Association - via an official letter of dismissal, followed up by a phone call.
Naturally, the discharged lawyer has a right, under the law, to claim part of any future settlement. In the case of a personal injury claim, this is usually a percentage of the final award amount. The total is usually negotiated by the new attorney. This is called "compensation for services" and often reflects the amount of (or lack of) work done. Your previous counsel may also be entitled to be reimbursed for any costs or fees advanced on your behalf. You should also be prepared to discuss your reasons for firing the previous attorney and make sure that this new legal relationship will live up to your expectations.
So, if you find yourself unable to trust your current lawyer, believe that this professional does not have your best interest at heart, if they are refusing to communicate with you and answer basic questions, or simply feel you need to change your legal representation, you can start the process today. Before you do, however, make sure you do your research. Reach out to the State Bar. Read reviews online. And remember, this is your life and your injuries you are dealing with. Make sure the decision regarding who will represent them is a sound one.
Attorney, Brian Lee Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with. If you're looking for representation in a personal injury case, have questions about your legal claim, or want more information on Tennessee and changing attorneys, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.
This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.