Suppose a Lawyer/Firm takes on a client involving a civil lawsuit (requiring no retainer money from that client) and the lawyer is then unable to (by demand letters) persuade the case defendant into entering into a settlement agreement. Is it common for the Lawyer/Firm to then drop the client before the filing of the actual suit in court to avoid the Firm having to pony up the dough for the costly trial?
I have no idea what other firms practices are. You might want to speak to your attorney/firm and ask them why they decided to withdraw, as they are the only people who can do anything more than speculate. On a practical level, if the chances of prevailing in a trial were not very good in this lawyer/firm's analysis, it makes sense that they would withdraw before spending money on a trial. However, that is pure speculation.
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Ethical rules allow an attorney or firm to withdraw from a case any time if doing so will not adversely prejudice the client's case. Whether this is common practice or not is hard to say. What is common, however, is for a personal injury lawyer (or firm) to enter into a retainer agreement with a client that is limited in scope to trying to negotiate a settlement without filing a complaint. If negotiation is unsuccessful and a complaint needs to be filed, then the client must either expand their retainer with their current lawyer, or seek a new one. You should read your retainer agreement carefully to see what responsibilities you and your lawyer have to each other. (You should have done this before signing it, for that matter.)
It also bears mention that Oregon ethics rules prohibit an attorney or firm from advancing the costs of litigation to a client's case, unless they have a reasonable expectation that they will receive reimbursement somewhere down the line. So the firm's unwillingness to "pony up the dough" to file is a bit of a non-starter. Ultimately, the client, not the lawyer, will be responsible for those costs, in theory. This rule disincentivizes people from filing cases that are unlikely to succeed, which is probably a good thing for society at large, but can certainly be frustrating for the client with a difficult case.
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It's really not a matter of common versus uncommon as all attorneys do what they want to do inside the rules. The firm may have discovered something after accepting the case they didn't know at the time. As mentioned, the rules just say IF the attorney drops you he must not prejudice your interest. In this scenario the attorney has to give you time to find another lawyer or file the case yourself. You can fire him at anytime too btw.
Plus, does any client want an attorney that doesn't believe in their case? Hopefully not. Sounds like the attorney did you a favor bowing out now.
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There is an old saying......"never settle for a lawyer who only knows how to settle"....there are plenty of top-rated local Salem personal injury lawyers on this site who can investigate. Avvo has a great lawyer finder tool to locate an attorney. Good luck.
You just have a bad case and the attorney has always known that. They were willing to risk trying to settle the case but the risk of losing obviously made them decide not to proceed with litigation. You should run your case by other attorneys. If your case is viable, I am sure you will find an attorney willing to take the case. If no one wants to take your case, then you may have to accept that your case is simply too risky. If you believe in your case, but attorneys are unwilling to take the case on a contingent basis and help with the expenses, you might need to offer to pay the expenses to get an attorney to move forward. It's hard to say what is or isn't normal. They didn't do anything wrong by withdrawing before filing your case. As a practical matter they should have communicated to you very clearly what they were doing and why throughout the case.
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It is reasonably common in cases where the attorney believes that the total recovery will be relatively small compared to the effort that is required to litigate. There are times when an attorney learns, after taking the case on, that there are more problems than anticipated. For example, the medical records sometimes reveal alternative explanations for the symptoms, or a witness unexpectedly supports the enemy. Unfortunately, there also are some attorneys who simply don't have the stomach for litigation.
Your best bet is to consult with another attorney in your area. Good luck.
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