By hiring a defense attorney to represent you in a criminal matter, you have entered into a professional relationship with him or her. Your attorney has responsibilities toward you, but you also have responsibilities to meet to help achieve your shared goal of a favorable outcome. Entering into an attorney-client relationship is not to be taken lightly because, unlike many other professionals, it may not be possible for you to fire your current lawyer if you are unsatisfied with his or her performance. Even when it is possible, it can be costly.
Communicate Your Concerns
Before you consider firing your lawyer and hiring another one, you should make an effort to resolve whatever issues you may have with your attorney. This means communicating with him or her and expressing your concerns. It may be that the circumstances that are causing your dissatisfaction are beyond the attorney’s control. It may also be that there is a simple remedy for your issues.
You should first attempt to talk to your attorney on the phone or arrange an appointment to meet face to face. If that does not work, a letter or an email may be more effective.
Consider the Consequences
If you cannot resolve your issues with your attorney on your own and wish to hire a different one, you will have to ask the court’s permission. However, the court may not necessarily grant permission if the process has already progressed too far. If that is the case, you are essentially stuck with your current attorney for the duration of your case. This is another reason why it is important to communicate your concerns and try to work things out on your own.
Changing attorneys may also cost you money. In the first place, if you are in the middle of your case, the new attorney will need to put in some background work to get up to speed, and that can cost you. You may also owe your current lawyer for work that he or she has already done on the case. The expense involved in changing lawyers may cost more than it is worth.
Cut Ties Carefully
Before you fire your current attorney (assuming the court allows you to do so), you should find and hire a replacement criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA. This may seem awkward, but it prevents you from being stuck without any representation at all.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense and what to do if you’re unhappy with your attorney.