Your Columbus, Ohio, lawyer works for you. This means you can fire him or her for any reason at any time if you feel doing so will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Depending on how far your case has progressed, you may need to inform a judge and opposing counsel of your decision, but you would almost never be blocked in your effort to hire a new attorney.
The personal injury, wrongful death, disability, and Social Security attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman can each name clients who let them go for all kinds of reasons. They can also recall others who might have done better by choosing someone else on the team. Like friendships and romantic relationships, lawyer-client pairings do not always work out.
You should never decide to change lawyers on whim, however. Nor should you fire an attorney you have spent weeks or months with just because it looks like you might lose your case or have to settle for less money in compensation and damages than you initially sought. Not all outcomes can be achieved, so recognizing what is possible must factor into any decision to stick with a lawyer or seek out new legal representation.
Once you start feeling you might need to switch attorneys, take the time to figure out why you feel dissatisfied, disrespected, or ignored. Ask yourself the following questions.
Does my lawyer answer my calls and emails? Does he or she make time to meet with me in person?
You should expect to have all messages returned within 24 hours. You should be able to schedule appointments at your convenience (within reason). You should not put up with multiple broken promises to get back to you with more information or numerous missed appointments. No lawyer can adequately represent you if he or she will not take the time to speak with you to learn your story and needs.
Is my lawyer working hard on my case and doing the things I cannot?
You hire a lawyer for his or her expertise, experience, and resources. If your attorney tasks you with doing all the paperwork, tracking down records and contacting officials, and looking up information, fire that lawyer. You do need to stay involved and active in your case, but you should not take on the assignments of a paralegal or co-counsel.
Do the answers my lawyer gives me sound correct and complete?
Thanks to TV, movies, novels, and your friends and family, you have learned more than a few basics about how the legal system operates. That understanding only goes so far, but you must fire any lawyer who tells you things about the process and laws related to your case that you know are not true. Similarly, never trust an attorney who misuses or misspells legal terms.
Is my lawyer pressuring me to accept a settlement or deal that I said I could never sign off on?
Explain to your attorney what you want to accomplish by filing an insurance claim, applying for disability benefits, or pursuing a lawsuit as clear as possible as soon as possible. Understand that you may need to compromise some to avoid a truly terrible outcome, but do not agree to abandon your initial position completely.
Have you spotted personal or behavioral issues that you can’t overlook?
You deserve respect and empathy. You must expect professionalism, punctuality, and attentiveness. Fire your lawyer if he or she insults or mistreats you. Do not put up with actions and comments you would not excuse in a co-worker or friend.
When switching lawyers become necessary, avoid similar problems by following our tips for finding a trustworthy law firm. We know that Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman may not be your best option. That is OK. Feel free to call us at (614) 678-3318 or schedule a no-cost consultation online to find out. We serve Columbus and Franklin County, and we have satellite offices in Cleveland and several other localities across Ohio.