Can My Texas Divorce Lawyer Fire Me?
Divorcing people already feel highly vulnerable. So when a lawyer refuses to continue representing you, it’s easy to feel adrift in a sea of confusion. Your lawyer can fire you, but only under the right circumstances.
Why a Lawyer Doesn’t Have to Represent You
Lawyers are selling a service, just like most other professionals. And they cannot be forced to sell that service, which means that—in most cases—an attorney cannot be compelled to represent a client. Your attorney can leave your case if he or she feels they can no longer represent you.
When Can a Lawyer Fire a Client?
Your attorney can stop representing you, even for no clear reason, if you have time to find suitable substitute counsel. If your attorney feels they can no longer represent you in good conscience, he or she might not have to give as much notice. But in most cases, the court will look at how much time you’ve been given to find substitute counsel before deciding whether or not to let a lawyer leave your case.
Why Can a Lawyer Fire a Client?
Your lawyer can fire you for any reason, or for no reason at all, if you have enough time to find suitable substitute counsel. However, an attorney cannot use a threat to fire you to get you to do certain things, such as settle your case. If you owe the lawyer money, your attorney must give you reasonable time to pay, and cannot drop you immediately prior to a trial or other important development in the case. But a lawyer cannot be compelled to represent a client who doesn’t pay. So even if there’s good reason for your nonpayment, your lawyer can drop you if he or she gives you sufficient notice.
It will be up to the judge in your case to determine what constitutes sufficient notice. In many cases, fighting over the cause of the termination is not worth it, because doing so makes you look bad to the court and erodes your relationship with your lawyer.
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