I have a pending DOM. My ex is filing motion after motion driving up the costs in the case. My retainer was used up, and I had to set up a weekly payment plan with my attorney - which I follow. We had mediation, which was a big lump sum cost a couple weeks ago. I got a call from the office manager of my firm who said he is putting my case on hold until I catch them up more than I already am.
I was pissed on the phone, because he essentially said my attorney will not be returning phone calls, or addressing the case. He also told me I couldn't go anywhere else, as no other attorney would take my case.
I thought in FL, an attorney has an ethical obligation to either represent their clients zealously, or in cases of a payment dispute where they can't put their needs about their clients - withdrawal from the case - as it creates a potential conflict with representing the client. I don't get how my attorney can just say "I am not withdrawing, nor am I doing anything to defend you in this anymore" - especially when we have a payment arrangement already. To be clear, it is the office manager who spoke for my attorneys firm, but still, to me it is the same thing.
You can fire your attorney any time you want. You can easily find another attorney to take it if you have the money to hire one.
I agree with Mr. Gillespie, you can fire your attorney at any time and hire another attorney to move you case forward. You are correct, so long as your attorney is the attorney of record, he is ethically responsible for handling your case professionally and ethically. That said, he likely will not make working on your case his top priority.
I recommend you attempt to speak with the attorney first, as his office staff could be using payment tactics that he is not aware of. If he will not speak to you, fire him.
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I agree with the other answers. If you are following the payment plan that your lawyer suggested, it may be time to look for another lawyer.
I am curious as to why the mediation did not resolve your case. Most cases are resolved in mediation. Were you taking a reasonable position? Was your ex being reasonable? You can fire your attorney, but ... he can file a lien on any assets or non-child support related monetary awards for his fees. Other attorneys may be reluctant to take your case if you owe your current attorney $$$, so there is some truth to what your lawyer's office manager told you. However, as long as you are able to meet the retainer requirements of another attorney, you can get go forward with a new attorney.
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