Choosing the right lawyer is a hard process, to begin with, but if you need to make a change, here are a few steps to take to hopefully ease the transition.
First, I would recommend asking for a brief, face-to-face meeting with your current lawyer. I think most lawyers will usually schedule a short conference, often at no charge, if our client is in such distress or if the representation isn’t meeting their expectations. Don’t be afraid to just come right out and tell your lawyer your concerns. It could be your lawyer isn’t aware of your feelings; it could be she doesn’t care about your feelings, or it could be she feels the same way about the situation.
Next, ask your current lawyer for a referral. It could be that she still wants your case to succeed, so she may give an excellent referral to a practitioner perfectly suited for you and your case. Certainly, the advice should help point you in the right direction.
On the other hand, her response may be cold and fruitless. This will likely clue you in that the transition may be more difficult than you thought it might be. This bugs me when lawyers do not try to lessen the stressful load as much as possible during the case. Clients rely on their lawyers to walk them through the procedures and open doors for clients as the relationship unfolds. If the current lawyer has already checked out, you’ve certainly validated the need to make the change and fast! If you still need a referral, then I would recommend you read a previous post on this Blog by William F. Neal, titled Five questions to ponder when trying to find the RIGHT lawyer to hire for a Family Law Matter.
After that, ask your current lawyer to compile your file into an electronic file. It shouldn’t be that difficult, in today’s glorious info-tech age, to put your entire file onto a disc or flash drive in just a couple of days. This will allow you to easily transport all your documents to your new lawyer.
After you have your file, ask for a refund, if any funds are left in a retainer. By the way, your attorney in Texas cannot hold your file for payment of your bill. I’ve seen this happen before, but your right to your file is well-settled.
As you interview for a new lawyer, be honest about your previous experience. Remember, your goal is not to have to change again. So discuss with your potential counsel the things that bugged you about your last lawyer. Again, I would refer you to Neal’s post Five questions to ponder when trying to find the RIGHT lawyer to hire for a Family Law Matter.
Lastly, I would encourage you to act quickly during this process so that deadlines and traction aren’t lost because of your delay. Be diligent in your search and hiring of your new lawyer. And good luck!