Some cynics say the first and last are the two best days of any relationship. That can be true about the relationships between attorneys and clients.
A lot of our clients come to us after hiring another attorney and finding out it’s not the best fit. They frequently have questions about when and how it makes sense to transition responsibility for their cases from the old attorney to the new attorney. In almost every situation “as soon as possible” is the right answer.
The more difficult question is whether it makes sense to keep the old attorney on board or make a clean break. The answer generally depends on why the client wants to make a move.
If there is an irreconcilable difference in personality or there is suspicion of improper conduct then it makes sense to make a clean break. However, if the client simply doesn’t feel that the old attorney has the time, ability or resources to ensure the best result possible (but still likes the old attorney), then it may make sense to keep the old attorney on board and simply associate a new attorney (that has the ability to better serve the client’s needs).
Also, potential clients are always concerned about how the fee will be handled if they hire a new attorney. Fortunately there’s no reason for concern.
The fee between the old attorney and the new attorney is divided based on a combination of factors including the amount of work performed and the results obtained. The client pays the same fee regardless of whether one or more attorneys work on their case. The amount they pay is determined by the contingent fee agreement and doesn’t go up when another attorney gets involved.
If you have any questions regarding when or how to transition responsibility from one firm to another please let me know.