HOW TO SWITCH YOUR LAWYER IN UTAH?
FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY
FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY
If you hired an attorney to help you with your accident or personal injury case and you you’re no longer satisfied with them, you have the right to switch to another attorney. In fact, you don’t even have to be dissatisfied with them. You can literally change your attorney for any reason whatsoever.
People wish to switch their attorneys for a number of reasons. Here are some of the reasons our clients that have come to us have shared for why they wanted to change their lawyer:
Your Lawyer Already Has an Offer on Your Case
If you are considering leaving your lawyer with an offer on the table, you should know that the first lawyer will likely have a “lien” on your case for one-third of the amount of the settlement offer. This fact will likely cause the second attorney to pause before agreeing to represent you because they will essentially be working for free until they can increase the offer above what the first attorney was able to get. An attorney looking at a scenario very likely may decide to pass on the case if such a lien exists. This does not mean, however, that you cannot find a lawyer who feels that your case is worth lots more than what is being offered. Our firm handled such as case where the client was represented by a law firm you have seen on a billboard and they had managed to get an offer of $30,000 on a semi-truck versus semi-truck case and was pressuring the client to take the offer. We came in as the second attorney and after working up the case, was able to get the client an amount that was almost 10 times what the first firm had obtained.
Your Case Is Involved and/or Has Difficult Liability Facts
In offering free second opinions over the years, I have looked at cases and thought that the first attorney was doing the client a favor by taking the case in the first place and that their case was not one that I would have signed up. In these situations, I have encouraged the potential client to stay with their original attorney and have, at times, sent an email to that attorney (and sometimes even a phone call) to encourage them to maintain good communication with the client, as it was the lack of it that usually drove them to look elsewhere.
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.
Consult with Another Attorney for a Second Opinion
Even though you may currently be represented by another attorney, you have the right to consult with another one to get a second opinion under Rule 4.2 of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct. That second attorney, likewise, is entitled to give you an unbiased second opinion of how they feel your case is going and what their recommendations might be.
Sign Up with Another Attorney
The choice to change lawyers is yours. If are ready to make the change, however, you will need to sign the retainer agreement of the new attorney and likewise sign their medical record and authorization forms.
The New Firm Will Let the Old Firm Know That They Are Taking Over
Once you officially sign with the new attorney, then that firm can reach out to your old attorney and let them know that their services are no longer required and that they should send the file to the new firm.
Our firm is pleased to offer a second opinion on your accident or personal injury case. There is no charge for this. Because we are selective, we will generally pre-screen the case to make sure it is a case we have experience handling. Don’t put off making a change when you know things aren’t going right. Call today to get your second opinion scheduled.