Asked over 1 year ago - Stamford, CTFlag
I'm worried that my attorney is not going to be a good fit now that the process is underway. I feel like he's slow to respond to me, and too much of a "fighter". Can I change attorneys once the process has started? How much hassle and delay could it cause? Could it affect how a judge rules in my case?
You are the client which means you can decide whether a change is right for you. I would suggest you look at where you are in the process. It may be harder to get a new lawyer to commit to your case if trial is a week away and much easier if you are a newer matter. I dont think a judge will hold a change in lawyer against you unless it becomes a habit. One change can be a bad match and easy enough to understand. Switching lawyers 3-4 times could give the impression that you are firing people because you wont listen to their advice, you have poor judgment and/or you may be an unreasonable person. So I would choose wisely when you make your switch. Now on the responsiveness there is also a balance. A lawyer who has a lot of free time may call you immediately or be there when you call. However do you want the lawyer that does not have a healthy client base? The very best thing you can do is call the lawyer's office and make an appointment to discuss your concerns. If that doesnt work it is time for new counsel. Lastly, remember that your new attorney will need to get familiar with what has happened in your case and you will be billed for that. It may very well be worth it to switch. The choice is yours. Best of luck
If you and your attorney are not a good fit you need to change lawyers. The courts in Connecticut only limit that when it interferes with the activity7 of a court, for instance if you are in the middle of a trial and don't like the way things are going.
Otherwise you need to change. And do it now. It should cause NO delay if you are not near trial (I mean about a week or more away). And NO it will not affect how the judge rules on your case.
Look for someone who understands your goals and shares your understanding. There are people for whom a 'fighter' is the right answer and others who need someone capable in court but understand that family cases are not the same as an automobile case.
For instance in our office we offer both litigation and mediation. That means we offer a range of how we can deal with your case. Being able to fight is important as other attorneys know who will run and who will protect their client, but also we can negotiate, helloing the client along the way with evaluating possibilities and issues.
I recommend you speak to several people. Make sure you and the lawyer both agree on what a timely manner to respond is. (Our office generally responds same day or within 24 hours).
Clients never ask "what is your philosophy or style." Some clients want to see shouting and smart remarks to feel that they are being aggressively represented. Others may want a conciliatory approach. Some lawyers or firms choose to always take the same approach and, sometimes, it works for them because that style fits their nature. I would suggest that there is a different best approach for each case. So, I think a good lawyer needs to have more than one way to move a matter to resolution.
I bring this topic up during initial consultations. I think my obligation as a lawyer is to prepare a case for trial, so if it cannot settle in a manner that is fair to my client, we are ready to present the case and win the outcome we asked for. Theatrics are for television shows and movies about lawyers.
If your lawyer is discussing the intended outcome with you and you know what she or he is trying to accomplish by his or her actions talk it out with the lawyer. You can always ask to correct his or her demeanor. But, if the "fighting" is not to accomplish your outcome, there is a problem. Believe me, an attorney who has trial skills and is prepared for trial is formidable enough to negotiate effectively.
If you don't feel comfortable with your attorney, nobody will take it personally if you want to make a change. Divorce can be a long and stressful process, so you really do need to feel your attorney is a good fit, and as long as you aren't trying to make a change in the middle of a trial, you should be OK. Your new attorney will know how to smooth things for you. If you need to explore your choices a bit, you can search among the attorney profiles here on AVVO and contact attorneys in your area. Good luck!
24,797 answers this week
2,568 professionals answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary