Can I fire my lawyer?

You have the right to end a relationship with a lawyer at any time. But if the lawyer you don't like is representing you on a contingency-fee basis (for a percentage of any recovery), it is often better not to part ways unless the lawyer's services really are substandard and you have a better lawyer lined up or feel you can handle the case yourself. That's because unless lots of money is involved, it can often be hard to find a second lawyer who will agree to pick up your case in the middle. Changing lawyers under a contingency-fee arrangement usually means any fee from the recovery you eventually get will have to be split between the two lawyers-something the second lawyer may not want to agree to, especially if that lawyer will have to clean up after the first.

If you have fired your attorney, ask for your file or sign an authorization allowing your new attorney to get it. Even if you have a fee dispute with your former lawyer or you simply have not paid your bill, you are entitled to your file. If you have decided to represent yourself, demand that the lawyer turn your file over to you. If the lawyer refuses, contact your state's bar association for help.

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