Did your attorney make a motion in court? If so did you oppose the motion? Your lawyer cannot walk away from the case. He/she must obtain a court order. In any event, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney and advise of the facts of your claim. Another attorney may prosecute the case from this point forward.
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Presumably, your attorney got cold feet based on his updated perception of the strength of liability or the damages involved. The retainer agreement doubtlessly states he may withdraw, but he should file a motion to do so unless you consent to discharge him. In the meantime, you should hustle to obtain another attorney to proceed. That may be difficult if, as most med mals are expensive to prosecute, the case is not strong and potentially profitable. Alternatively, on can retain such counsel on an hourly basis, but then that becomes very expensive and you must feel your case is strong and potentially finacially viable.
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AS indicated, unless you consented to the attorney withdrawing, he/she must make a motion to do so. However, you should not want an attorney who no longer wants you and try to get another one ASAP.
The other attorneys explained to you that unless you consented to your attorney withdrawing, it can only be done by court order. Try to retain new counsel before your current attorney makes a request to the court to be relieved. Often, the reasons set forth in the court papers undermine your claims and are sometimes seen by the opposing counsel. It shouldn't happen, but I recently reviewed a case where this is exactly what did occur.
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In New York, your lawyer can only withdraw by motion on notice. His retainer may say he does not have an obligation to take the case to trial, but he still must seek leave of the court to withdraw. If I were you and he hasn't done this, I would advise him that as far as you are concerned, he is your lawyer until the court says otherwise. Most reasonable lawyers who can't go to trial retain trial counsel to complete the case. They don't withdraw. If a lawyer withdraws in this way, you should ask the court to set the fee at the end of the case by either quantum meruit or as a percentage of the total one third fee.
We are serious lawyers for the seriously injured. I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not legal advice. These opinions are thoughts based on New York practice. We have no attorney-client relationship. Conducting a conversation with me through the avvo comments section does not create an attorney-client relationship. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.
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