How Can an Attorney Legally Fire Their Client?

Posted on: June 5, 2019 by Huntersure

Clients of attorneys have an absolute right to end their working relationship with their attorney(s), whether or not they have cause. From negligence to preference to being unsatisfied with the pace an attorney is working, for example, clients can discharge their representation when they want. Lawyers, however, do not necessarily have this same right. A lawyer’s liability to end an attorney-client relationship is related to the rules of professional conduct.

Sometimes, a relationship in this fashion just doesn’t work out for the best and a lawyer has to cut ties with a paying client, even if it means costing them a potential financial gain. It’s never an easy thing to do to fire a client, but sometimes it’s the only way.

Mandatory Withdrawal

There are particular circumstances under which an attorney is required to withdraw from representing a client. A lawyer must end a relationship with a client when the lawyer is discharged by the client, the lawyer’s physical or mental condition impairs their ability to represent the client, or the representation will end with a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

Permissive Withdrawal

Lawyers are also allowed to withdraw from a relationship with a client under moments when the withdrawal is not required. An attorney has the right to terminate the attorney-client relationship in some states upon notice to his client and approval by a court.

Attorneys can use this kind of withdrawal, for example, when a client is no longer compensating them or communicating with them. Sometimes cases like this are taken to an appellate court and can be reversed, but this would still be a case for dismissal.

Additional Motions to Withdraw

An attorney may submit a motion to withdraw from a case if they have additional valid reasons beyond payment and communication.

In the event of conflicting case strategies, when an attorney and client cannot reach an agreement regarding a case strategy, it is usually the best option for an attorney to withdraw.

When an attorney is pressed to aid in committing activities which may be deemed criminal or unethical, they can most certainly withdraw on grounds of criminal activity by the client.

There are also personality conflicts that can be taken into account. When attorneys and clients are unable to work cohesively and in an amicable way, a lawyer can withdraw from the client as the chances of a successful case outcome are diminished.

Insuring Against Negligence Claims

When an attorney fires a client, it’s no surprise that some former clients will try to take action against them, claiming negligence or something related to save face. If a lawyer has a valid reason to withdraw from a case, as listed above, they should feel confident their decision will be supported, but there is still the need to be insured against financial obligations related to litigation.

Lawyers who carry lawyer professional liability insurance can have peace of mind when operating after firing a client. In the event a former client takes out a lawsuit of their own against a lawyer following being let go, the attorney can find financial coverage when fighting a claim in court. Lawyer professional liability insurance is a piece of coverage that helps lawyers find their own resources to defend against potentially costly claims.

About Huntersure

At Huntersure, we specialize in providing quality professional liability solutions to accounting professionals. Our Accountant Liability Insurance program provides coverage for accountants, auditors, bookkeepers, and tax preparers, so no matter where your clients lie in the industry they can have the coverage they need to protect themselves and their assets. To learn more about our operation and our Professional Liability Insurance solutions, contact us today at (855) 585-6255.

Posted in: blog Lawyer Lawyer's professional liability insurance legal liability