Can a Lawyer Drop a Client in the Middle of a Case?
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Yes, a lawyer can drop a client during a case. There are possibilities that your lawyer will be with you at the end of your case.
On the other hand, this may be more challenging than it seems. For instance, the lawyer must obtain permission from a judge before proceeding with his decision. Furthermore, it will be almost impossible for the lawyer to withdraw from the case if it is in advanced stages or the time for trial is very close. This will help prevent delays in the case or give the opposing party an unfair advantage.
Furthermore, the possibility of your lawyer dropping you in a case is valid. But before getting approval, the lawyer must provide valid evidence to the court. Come along as we elaborate more on this below.
Why a lawyer can Drop a Client in the Middle of a Case
A lawyer can drop a client in the middle of a case due to diverse reasons. Some of these include:
1. Dishonest and fraudulent acts by the client
The first reason a lawyer can drop a client in the middle of a case is due to dishonest and fraudulent acts by the client.
Dishonesty entails keeping relevant information away from your lawyer and telling him lies. This sometimes happens when a client nurses the feat that the lawyer will disclose their honest confessions to the police. But in contrast, this act usually goes a long way to affect the full representation of the lawyer. And depending on the level of dishonesty involved, the lawyer can pull out of the case.
Furthermore, lawyers are bound by the legal oath, and thus, they can’t engage in any fraudulent activities. Acting against this oath usually has huge consequences, such as disbarment or jail. If a client tries to lure a lawyer into fraudulent acts, the lawyer must withdraw from the case.
2. There are conflicts between the client and the lawyer
Conflicts between the client and the lawyer can also lead to a withdrawal from the case by the lawyer.
The client has to be aware of the lawyer’s demands and opinions on the case. This should entail acceptable court evidence, as well as any extra requirements. If there is no full agreement between the lawyer and the client, the lawyer can file a motion to drop the client.
3. The client is not satisfied with the lawyer’s handling of the case
Every lawyer is obligated to handle his client’s case with all seriousness. But on the other hand, every client usually has their expectations regarding handling their case by their attorney. If they feel the lawyer is not up to their standard, they can ask the lawyer to file a motion to withdraw from the case. This will enable the client to source for a competent lawyer who can handle the case as they desire.
Furthermore, it’s best to seek the opinion of another legal expert before asking your lawyer to step down from your case. This will help you to avoid making errors during the process.
4. Defaulting in the lawyer’s fees
Except you are using a pro bono lawyer, you will usually incur fees for every lawyer you contract. If you fail to pay the fees in the middle of the case after the full agreement, the lawyer can file a petition to step out.
If you will default on the lawyer’s payment, it’s best to discuss with him early enough and find a common base for agreement. This will help to prevent confusion and complications along the line.
5. There is a potential conflict of interest on the part of the lawyer
Lawyers are obligated to represent their clients in the best way possible. Thus, a lawyer can drop a client in the middle of a case if his representation will result in a clash or conflict of interest. For instance, if the lawyer shares a close relationship with the opposing party, this may affect his full representation of his client. In such a situation, the lawyer can file a motion to withdraw from the case.
A lawyer can drop a client in the middle of a case. On the other hand, a client can also ask the lawyer to withdraw from the case if they are not satisfied with the representation they are getting. The lawyer representing you in a case will usually play a major role in the outcome. Thus, speaking with a legal expert before taking any step is best.
- Rosenbaum, Lisa; “Conflicts of interest”: https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMms1502493
- Komesaroff, Paul A.; Kerridge, Ian; Lipworth, Wendy; Conflicts of interest: new thinking, new processes: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imj.14233
I’m a driven and accomplished law graduate and post-graduate, passionate about sharing my legal expertise via my blog. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of London (UK) and a Master’s in Law from the University of Derby (UK). Both gave me the foundational knowledge and skills to excel in my chosen career path.
Throughout my academic journey, I have gained extensive knowledge in various fields of Law, including Corporate and Business Law in the USA, Criminal Law, International Law, US Copyright law, and most importantly, American Constitutional law.