Can your attorney withdraw from your case?
It is permissible for an attorney to seek withdrawal from a case. If your case is in litigation, the judge in the case will need to approve the withdrawal of the attorney. This withdrawal may be approved by the judge as long as the case is not too close to trial (or other deadlines) and the case can proceed without that attorney. The judge may deny the withdrawal if s/he believes that it would be an undue hardship on the client, on other party or a hardship to the court's schedule. It may also be denied if the judge believes that the attorney is being unreasonable.
If you have a case which is not in litigation (lawsuit is not filed yet, or it is not the type case in which a suit will be filed), the attorney may notify you that s/he is no longer representing you.
There are times when the attorney's withdrawal is a mutual desire and decision upon which the lawyer and client agree.
Here are some other reasons that an attorney may desire to withdraw from a case:
- The client is not cooperating or communicating with the law office.
- The client is not doing what is requested by the attorney or required by the law (refusal to answer discovery, for example).
- The client has stopped paying legal fees.
- The client is rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive to the attorney or office staff.
- The client has missed appointments with the attorney, or not shown up for mediation or hearings.
- The client has asked the attorney to proceed with the case in a way that the attorney believes is unethical, illegal or ill-advised.
Keeping the lines of communication open, being respectful of each other, working together and meeting responsibilities of the attorney/client relationship make it less likely that either party will become dissatisfied with the relationship.
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