Fire your lawyer?
What can you do if you think your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you? Can you fire your lawyer? Your question is really two questions, and they’re both good questions:
1. If you think your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you, are you thinking correctly?
Not necessarily. Especially in divorce cases.
First, know that many divorce attorneys are among the worst attorneys in the profession. Divorce law is not rocket science, and so it tends to attract a lot of the stupid, lazy, incompetent, and crooked attorneys who can’t hack it practicing in other areas. So your odds are quite good that your divorce lawyer is bad. Do not misunderstand me: not every divorce attorney is incompetent, but many (even most) of them are.
Second, you’re only hurting yourself if your lawyer is competent and you’re just being unreasonable. Candidly, many otherwise intelligent and rational people develop incredibly unrealistic viewpoints and expectations once they become divorce clients. A common mistake many divorce clients make is equating what they want with they deserve. These clients then become enraged when their lawyers tell them that what they want is not what the law allows or what a judge would consider fair and equitable. I am amazed at the number of clients who believe, or who say they believe, that my job is to get them whatever they want. It’s not. It’s not up to your lawyer. If it were, lawyers would be even more expensive than they are now. Your fate in divorce is in the hands of your judge. A good lawyer will help you make your best case to the judge and do his/her best to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. The best way to do that is to make reasonable arguments based upon reasonable claims.
2. If you know your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you can you fire your lawyer?
Yes, period. You are under no obligation to continue to employ an attorney who is doing a bad job for you. Not only can you fire an incompetent attorney, you should fire an incompetent attorney, and immediately, as soon as you discover that your attorney is doing a bad job. Keeping a bad attorney on the job will only cause your case to go from bad to worse. When it comes to getting good legal representation, hire slowly (meaning do your homework and be very careful and selective in choosing who your attorney will be— and remember that you get what you pay for; cheap divorce lawyers are expensive, if you get my drift), fire fast (keeping a mediocre and incompetent attorney on the job one day longer than necessary is a risk you simply need not take—cut’em loose as soon as you can).
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277