Sometimes, things just don’t work out in a business relationship. This is as true in the law as it is anywhere else. If you are dropped by an attorney, though, you might not know what to do next. While being dropped can put a major obstacle in your path, there are definitely situations in which you can still be helped by another lawyer. Indeed, this may just be a brief pitstop on your road to success.
Was there a conflict of interest?
Perhaps the most common reason that a case is dropped by an attorney is due to the fact that he or she discovers that he or she has a conflict of interest. If you work with a large firm, for example, you may discover that your opponent has been represented by that lawyer or that your opponent has a family member that is a current client. Even if you work with a smaller firm, you can still discover relatively late in the case that the attorney has a relationship with someone on the other side. In this case, it’s required that the attorney discloses this relationship and in many cases he or she will be required to drop you as a client.
This is actually a best-case scenario for you, because your attorney is being honest and putting you above his or her paycheck. When you are dropped for this reason, you can absolutely get another attorney. In fact, it is more than fair to ask your former attorney for a recommendation. There is almost no reason that we would have to turn away a client who was dropped because of a conflict of interest.
Was the attorney comfortable with your case?
You may have also been dropped from the original lawyer because he or she simply did not feel comfortable with your case. While not terribly common, this is actually beneficial to you as a client. A lawyer should never take on a case if he or she is not competent to handle it. This, in fact, is why a lawyer should never declare that he or she has a specialty in a specific field without actually having experience. It can be very detrimental to you to get the help of an attorney who just isn’t ready to help you.
If your lawyer had to drop you because he or she can’t handle the complexity of the case, it’s very likely that another lawyer can help you. As you might imagine, though, this does mean that you’ll need to find someone who has a great deal of experience in your specific field. The fact that you’ve been dropped by another lawyer doesn’t preclude you from getting future help, but it will warn future attorneys that your case represents a very large time commitment.
Did you get another explanation?
Of course, there are a thousand other explanations for why another firm may have dropped your case. If you want another attorney to pick it up, the most important thing that you can do will be to honest. Did you fight with the other attorney? Was there some kind of personal issue that made the attorney drop the case? That’s something another lawyer will need to know to be able to pick up where that other lawyer left off. It’s not impossible for you to find new representation, but it’s important for you to tell the truth.
Additionally, be very clear if there were monetary issues that led to your case getting dropped. It is entirely possible that a better payment structure can be worked out, but hiding this fact will ultimately cause problems down the road. In short, the best move is to always tell your prospective new attorney the truth.
To be completely honest, it’s impossible to give an answer as to whether we can provide representation to you after you’ve been dropped by another lawyer. In many cases, we can find a way to work with you. In others, way may have to pass. The only way to figure this out is to come talk to us and have a completely honest conversation. There is always a chance that we can help you, and if we can’t we may still be able to give you other guidance.