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Can I Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Lawsuit?

Most of the time, you can change lawyers whenever you like, even in the middle of your lawsuit. However, the judge may have the final word on changes in representation. If, for example, the court believes there is an issue with your preferred attorney taking over this particular case, or if the timing isn’t appropriate for a change, it could deny the change.

Whitley Law Firm offers comprehensive support to serious and catastrophic injury claimants. No matter what stage of the legal process you’re in, we want you to call us. Our firm can explore your options and advise you on whether changing personal injury lawyers could benefit you. Dial (919) 785-5000 to begin a free case review.

You Could Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Lawsuit in These Situations

At the beginning of your partnership, you felt confident in your lawyer’s abilities. But now, things have changed, and you’re wondering whether changing lawyers could benefit you. You deserve an advocate who prioritizes your needs above all else.

You may consider changing lawyers during your lawsuit if:

Your Lawyer Becomes Ill or Injured

Filing and completing a lawsuit comes with many obligations. If your lawyer comes down with a life-threatening illness or suffers an injury, they might be unable to fulfill their obligations. It’s an unfortunate situation, but you still need compensation to account for your losses, and you want solid legal counsel. Here, you could change lawyers and hire someone else who can dedicate their full time and attention to your case.

There Are Consistent Issues With Communication

You shouldn’t have to wait days––even weeks––to get in touch with your lawyer. You shouldn’t have to deal with:

  • Phone calls that go unanswered
  • Unread emails and text messages
  • Not knowing how to contact your lawyer
  • Vague answers to your questions
  • Uncertainty about your case’s progression

At the beginning of your partnership, you and your lawyer should discuss your ideal communication method, whether that means biweekly check-ins or prompt responses to emails. If your lawyer doesn’t uphold their promises, you have the right to seek legal help elsewhere.

You Don’t Feel Confident in Your Lawyer’s Abilities

You should feel confident in your lawyer’s ability to build a strong case on your behalf. This is especially true if a large amount of money is on the line, which is common in catastrophic cases. The other party will fight tooth and nail to pay you less than you deserve.

If your lawyer is not up to the task, you could lose hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

There Is a Personality Conflict

When two personalities don’t get along, it strains the working relationship. For instance, your lawyer may be a very distant, by-the-books individual. This can cause friction if you’re looking for a compassionate, empathetic representative. You don’t have to be best friends with your lawyer. Yet, if you feel as though they don’t have your best interest at heart, this may prompt you to change lawyers.

What Could Happen if I Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Lawsuit?

You shouldn’t run into any problems if you want to change lawyers in the middle of a lawsuit. Different people need different lawyers, and hopefully, your attorney understands that. Still, you could expect one or more of the following to happen:

A Judge May Prevent You From Changing Lawyers

Judges want to set matters straight the first time. They want to make a ruling, so everyone involved can move on with their lives. They don’t want to rule on a case and have someone appeal the decision because they didn’t like their lawyer.

In most cases, judges approve changes in representation without any issues. Yet, they may prevent you from doing so if:

  • They think you have an ulterior motive for changing lawyers. For instance, if the judge thinks that you’re hoping to delay proceedings with a new lawyer, they could rule against the change.
  • The case is too far advanced. If the jury is two days away from making a decision, a judge may rule against the change to keep the case moving along. They might not see the benefit of getting new representation with a case so far developed.
  • They don’t think the reason is valid. The judge may want to know why you’re changing lawyers in the middle of a lawsuit. If they don’t think the reason you provide warrants changing a lawyer, they could advise you to continue as-is.

You Might Have to Pay Your Lawyer for Their Time

Most injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they take a percentage of their clients’ settlements as payment. However, if you change attorneys, there is no money from which your previous lawyer can draw their fees. So, depending on your contract, you may need to pay them for the time they spent building your case.

Considerations Before Changing Attorneys in the Middle of Your Lawsuit

In most circumstances, you have the right to change attorneys when you like. However, before signing with another firm, you should attempt to resolve any friction between you and your lawyer. This may include:

  • Discussing how you prefer to receive communications (and how often)
  • Outlining your expectations
  • Sharing your grievances
  • Waiting to see if matters improve
  • Reassessing your expectations

You shouldn’t expect any retaliation or threats from your lawyer while discussing your needs. If so, this may further prompt you to seek representation somewhere else.

Connect With Whitley Law Firm for More Information

Our family-owned firm has served seriously and catastrophically injured claimants in North Carolina for almost 50 years. We treat our clients as we would like to be treated—with care and compassion. We do not settle without fighting for every dime you deserve.

We understand the implications of changing lawyers in the middle of a lawsuit. While it’s not unheard of, it can be scary. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000.