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If I am considering hiring new lawyer can my current lawyer quit before that happens, leaving me lawyerless in middle of divorce

Bend, OR |

I am looking for new attorney to respresent me in divorce case as I feel he's not representing my best interest. I dont want to bad mouth him, but he's forogotten to file a lot of things that are causing problems for me, and ignores my requests to file in court. anyway, can he just quit and leave me lawyerless all together prior to me finding another attorney? can I get all my documents back if so? he's seemed to half quit already, and isn't doing much? what is for me to do in this? I am afraid to tell him that I am seeking elsewhere as he yells at me already, and if I am lawyerless for even a moment my husband and his agressive attorney will eat me alive while I search for another?

Attorney Answers 1


You have the right to choose your own attorney. If your lawyer has been failing to file things for you and ignoring you, then you certainly have a good reason to want a new one. If you find a new lawyer and hire them, they can file a form called a 'notice of substitution of counsel,' which allows the old attorney to withdraw and makes the new one responsible for the case, all at once.

Otherwise, an attorney who has appeared in a case (that is, who has filed any papers with the court) can't just 'quit' in the middle of a case - they need to get the court's permission to withdraw. This is true even if you want to fire them - but the court will certainly grant permission for them to withdraw, if that is the reason.

When a lawyer withdraws from representing you, then you have the right to get your entire file from them. You also have a right to a refund of any unearned retainer they hold for you (though they can still bill you for work they've done already).

If your attorney does get an order to withdraw before you find a new one, your husband and his lawyer will not "eat you alive" in the meantime. You can just tell them that you're looking for a new lawyer and have some patience. Courts in family law cases focus heavily on getting a fair outcome rather than rewarding the most cunning legal tricks, and place a high premium on civility. Any rudeness or unprofessionalism that your husband or especially his lawyer show to you is a bit of a gift, to you - it makes them look that much worse. That said, it is important to be represented, so you should find another lawyer if your current one isn't doing well for you. If you don't know another lawyer in your area you can turn to, you can call the Oregon State Bar for a free referral at 503-684-3763.

Nothing posted on this site is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

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