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I had surgery for rotator cuff.I fired my first lawyer because it seemed like he wasn’t working for me,I found another lawyer but I seem to be having the same problems.When I called him with my questions or concerns,he does not return my calls. I re injured my shoulder again, I was going with the company’s doctor,now I’m seeing another Dr. but the insurance said they didn’t approve it.So,the time I’ve been off I’m not getting paid and they refuse to pay the doctor too. Does it effect my case if I seek for a better lawyer or should I stick with the one I have right now?
Asked on June 13, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 12 years ago | Contributor
Legally, you're allowed to switch attorneys. As long as it occurs before a lawsuit is filed, there really are no consequences (other than the increased cost to you--each lawyer will bill you for the time it takes to "get up to speed") to doing so.
Even after a lawsuit is filed, you can switch--up to a point. At some point, if the switching results in serious delays or additional costs for the other side, the other side might move to dismiss the case based on those costs and the allegation that you don't have a "real" case--you're just playing legal games. Depending on the circumstances, including your evidence for why you switched, how many times you switched, how far along the case was, etc., they may or may not win on the motion.
If you've had trouble with two attorneys, you might want to consider whether it's something you're doing. Are you being difficult to worth with? Are you expecting more time or effort than is reasonable for the size of the case (practicing law is a business; lawyers need to make money)? Are you not communicating well, not passing on all the info your lawyers need or withholding information that you find unpleasant or embarrasing, etc.? This is not to say that you are, just that if you've had trouble with 2 lawyers in a row, you need to think about it--because if the problem is something you're doing, you'll have trouble with the next lawyer, too. And if you do switch and have trouble with a third lawyer, then it's almost certainly something you're doing (or it's a very weak case nobody could do well with): as the old saying goes, "once is an accident, twice may be a coincidence, three times is enemy action."