Can I Change Lawyers?

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Estate Planning Lawyer

Compatibility between you and your estate planning lawyer can be a crucial factor in the success of your case. A common question that people often ask is: Can I change lawyers if I’m unhappy with the one representing me?

The bottom line is yes, you can find a new estate planning lawyer to represent you. It actually happens quite often, although not always is it a simple process. Kaplan Law Practice is here to help you with your estate planning needs in Bergen County, New Jersey. 

How To Know It’s Time to Change Lawyers

One major sign that it may be time to change lawyers is the suspicion that your case is not getting enough attention. This may look like unanswered phone calls or emails, forgetfulness about the details of your case or disorganized files. 

A lawyer should not be asking you to provide the same documents or sign the same forms more than once, nor should they be repeatedly asking for time extensions from the court. Your phone calls should be returned within 48 working hours and the documents you have been promised should be ready on time. 

How To Go About Firing Your Lawyer

Before you formally end your lawyer-client relationship with your representative, it is best practice to raise your concerns in a professional conversation. Provide specifics, ask for an explanation and decide what is or isn’t a deal breaker for you. 

You may also be interested in getting a second opinion from another attorney. They may be able to tell you whether these issues are attorney-specific or have more to do with an overworked court system. 

If you do decide to make the switch to a new attorney, here are several tips:

  • Find a new lawyer to hire before you fire your current lawyer. Oftentimes, a judge may not allow your old lawyer to exit the case until a replacement has been hired. It is also important to find referrals for your new lawyer. 
  • Be prepared to pay for your new lawyer to get caught up on the details of your case, especially if they charge hourly. 
  • Know that your old lawyer’s work does not have to be turned over to your new lawyer. Only the documents you gave the lawyer must be shared with your new hire. 

Possible Consequences of Changing Lawyers

Although not uncommon, changing lawyers is typically not a painless process. For example, if you are not caught up with payments to your lawyer, you will need to pay what is owed before proceeding with a new lawyer. Also, be aware that judges can decline a new lawyer depending on how far along you are in the case. If you wish to make a change with your legal counsel, start that process today by finding a second opinion with an estate planning lawyer

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