How Do I Switch Without Hurting the Attorney’s Feelings?
No one likes to be rejected and we sometimes stay in a bad relationship – personal or professional – because we fear hurting the other person’s feelings. It’s no different when that relationship happens to involve a lawyer. Luckily, the second attorney can do the “dirty work” involved with giving the first attorney the bad news that you are wanting to switch attorneys. It’s nothing personal, it’s just you exercising your right to hire a lawyer you are comfortable and confident with. And the second attorney can arrange all the details to make that happens without you having to do anything but say the word.
What If There Is an Offer on the Table?
When you switch attorneys, the second attorney agrees to take care of whatever fee may be owing to the first attorney, whether it’s for a percentage of a settlement offer they secured or a “per diem” payment for the time the first attorney put into the case. In no case should your attorney fee be greater just because you switched lawyers. The second attorney will generally respect the fee arrangement of the first attorney and there should be no increase to the typical one-third attorney fee, or 40% if the cases goes into litigation.
Can I Get a Second Opinion on Whether I Should Switch?
Changing lawyers is something you should be careful doing as you don’t want to go from one bad relationship to another. You obviously will want to do your own soul searching and then talk to an attorney or attorneys to seek feedback on whether they feel your case is going in the right direction. When I meet with people who are not happy with their current lawyer and are asking for advice, I review the facts with them and give them a “second opinion” (pursuant to Rule 4.2 of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct) of what I would have done if their case was in our office. If I met with you, for example, I would tell you that I’m not looking to “steal” your case from the first attorney and would let you know that you have the right to switch attorneys, if that’s what you want to do. Following this explanation, we have been asked if we could take over the case. If I had the chance to speak with you, I could usually let you know on the spot if yours is a case we could help you with and if it meets our case selection criteria. Occasionally, we would need to do additional research to make sure we would be the best fit as a replacement lawyer.