Leaving an unfinished task is something we would choose to avoid. Whether it is a business partnership, joint venture, or startup, we prefer sailing with the ones we started. If a partner leaves during the venture, it can trigger a lot of doubts, fears, and questions in our minds. The same theory applies when your attorney tells you they cannot continue your case or refer it to someone. Getting involved in civil or criminal cases itself is a stressful process, let alone dealing with changing attorneys during the trials. However, the question stands:
- Can my lawyer give my case to another lawyer during the case?
- Does my lawyer need my consent before doing that?
- What about the case fee; do I have to pay more fees than agreed?
Here are all the answers to your queries.
Can My Lawyer Give My Case To Another Lawyer During The Trial?
Yes, your lawyer may refer your case to another lawyer or firm during the trials. There can be multiple reasons behind that, which will be discussed later in this article. However, here is another vital thing to know; your lawyer cannot refer your case without your consent, even if they have legitimate reasons. In such circumstances, you have the right to fire your attorney during the case, but it also has some complications, which we will discuss later.
Why Would My Lawyer Give My Case To Another Lawyer?
First things first, there is no need to panic when you come to know that your lawyer wants to refer your case to another lawyer. You may start making assumptions like, “do I have a bad case” “are there weaker chances to succeed?” etc.
The shortest answer to these assumptions is No. If your lawyer gives your case to another lawyer, it doesn’t mean that your case is bad. Here are some reasons why your lawyer might do this.
1- The Case is Out of The Lawyer’s Area of Practice
Lawyers specialize in a specific area and do most of their practice within that particular section. For example, a lawyer may mostly deal in personal injury law or family. However, even if it is a personal injury case, it may still be something out of the lawyer’s practice.
The lawyer, in such cases, would prefer to refer the case to someone with better expertise or a more potent experience in that particular field. Sometimes, fresh or relatively less experienced lawyers refer cases to their more experienced colleagues.
2- The Lawyer Believes they Won’t be Able to Make Enough Money
Personal injury cases are primarily contingency-based. That said, the lawyers taking personal injury cases usually get paid when the client gets reimbursement or damages. Generally, the lawyer receives 1/3rd (and the expenses incurred during the case) of the settlement or reimbursement.
Most importantly, no reimbursements mean no money for the lawyer. Therefore, if the lawyer feels it isn’t worth their time, they may refer it to someone willing to take it.
3- The Lawyer Is Dealing With Personal Issues
Lawyers, just like us, are people who have to fulfill their responsibilities toward their families. A child’s or spouse’s illness or sudden death can leave them grieving or may take a harder toll on their mental health. It is almost impossible for lawyers to concentrate on their cases with such a state of mind. Your lawyer might want to refer your case to someone if they are going through painful circumstances.
4- The Lawyer Already Has A Lot On Their Plate
An attorney already dealing with multiple cases may not be able to do justice to your case. They may refer you to someone in a better position to take your case as a priority.
5- The Case Needs a Substantial Amount Of Time And Money
Sometimes the cases are more expensive for the lawyers or need more attention than usual. Referring such cases to others help lawyers get some help and resources. It is highly recommended to talk to your lawyer, listen to them, and try to reach a win-win situation.
See Also: Can You Have Two Lawyers on One Case?
Can My Lawyer Give My Case To Another Lawyer Without My Consent?
No, the lawyer cannot do that without your consent. The lawyer must disclose in writing that they are referring your case to another lawyer and how they will split the fees. Most importantly, it only happens after your consent. If you consent, the lawyer will add this change to the original contract. Also, lawyers will split the fee; you won’t have to pay the double fee. On the other hand, if you feel the referral is not in the best of your interest, you have the right to fire the attorney and take the case to another lawyer. However, here are some important things to understand at this point.
- If your lawyer has a valid reason to refer your case, but you decide to fire them, your lawyer will have a “lien” against the work they have done till that moment. The fees will be split between the first lawyer and the one you will hire to complete the proceedings. However, the fee split-up process is not your concern; lawyers will battle it themselves.
- Many lawyers hesitate to take cases that other attorneys started. They may want to avoid battling out for the fee split up.
Again, it is better to hear out your lawyer if they want to refer your case. That way, you won’t have to waste time finding another lawyer that can take your case from that point.
The answer to “can my lawyer give my case to another lawyer?” is yes, but it is impossible without your consent. However, it is better to listen to them and go with their referral unless you can find a lawyer willing to take the case from that point and agree to split up the fee.
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