Can A Lawyer Retain My Files Upon Termination Of Representation?

June 15, 2020

If you’re not happy with your lawyer, you can terminate his/her services. After termination, the lawyer should stop working on your case immediately. This is common when lawyers prove that they cannot act with diligence while representing you. When there is an attorney-client relationship and you find out things are not working out as expected, you have all the reasons to terminate the relationship. Again, if you terminate your lawyer and he/she retains your files, this could be unethical. You can look for a legal malpractice attorney Atlanta to know the legal steps to take.

Reasons For Termination Of Representation

Upon termination of representation, your lawyer is supposed to surrender all the files related to your case. It pays to read and understand the attorney-client agreement when the lawyer starts working on your case and when you want to terminate the relationship. According to the American Bar Association, the attorney has an ethical duty to hand over the entire file to you after the termination of the representation. Additionally, the lawyer should also provide confidential settlement agreements or any privileged communications. You can terminate your lawyer because of many reasons: They include:

  • Failure to disagree with the advice being given. Though you hire a lawyer to provide you with legal advice, the lawyer also needs to consider your interests.
  • Your lawyer forces you to accept a settlement that you think is way below the cost of damages or injuries you have incurred
  • Your lawyer is involved in legal malpractice.  Your lawyer may have acted negligently which could result in a detrimental effect on your case

 There are so many reasons that may amount to your lawyer’s termination.  But, there is a way to do this if you’ve decided to end the legal relationship.

  How Do I Terminate My Lawyer?

 Terminating your lawyer is costly. This is because you will have to pay for the services they offer up to the time of termination. Again, you will also need to hire another lawyer to move on with your case. Before you decide to ruminate, you may talk it over with your lawyer to find out if there was a misunderstanding that can be corrected. However, if your lawyer has acted unethical or has violated the regulations, termination is worth pursuing. Therefore, you will need to:

  • Send a certified letter notifying him/her of your intention to terminate the relationship
  • Request for your files back: You lawyer should ensure not only to send the end product, but all the relevant files they have created since they started working on your case.
  • Notify the court: The court should be aware that you have ceased working with your former lawyer and that a new lawyer is representing you. The old lawyer will be made to file a motion to withdraw

Your lawyer will have the right to claim for any funds after the termination.  Therefore, you should ensure to pay everything to ensure the lawyer doesn’t hold your files waiting for payment.

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