In a criminal case, you are entitled to a competent and zealous defense. In a civil case, any lawyer who you hire is required to abide by ethical and other standards to ensure that he or she is acting in your best interests. However, there may come a time when you want to have a different legal representative in court. How do you go about switching lawyers in the middle of a case?
Tell Your Attorney That You Want Someone Else
The first step in the process of changing counsel is to notify your current attorney that you no longer wish to be represented by him or her. You may also be required to notify the judge in your case that you are going to find new legal representation. In some cases, a hearing may be held to determine how to proceed until you actually find another attorney.
Hire Your Next Attorney In a Timely Manner
Once you have fired your current attorney, the next step in the process is to find a new legal representative. It is possible that your former attorney will refer someone to you if it is clear that he or she cannot meet your needs. It is important to know that you may be responsible for paying your current attorney even after he or she is fired. This is known as a split fee, and you will be made aware of any split fees when the switch is made.
The Case May Be Delayed Because of the Change
When you do find a new Rockford personal injury lawyer or any other attorney, he or she may ask for time to review the case. Your new attorney may also be granted time to interview witnesses or hire expert witnesses to testify in court. Typically, a delay can last for a few days to a few weeks depending on how complicated the matter is. However, a case may be delayed for months or longer if there are any motions or appeals related to the change in counsel.
You May Be Allowed to Represent Yourself
The American legal system does give defendants the right to defend themselves in court. However, this is not always the best idea. If a judge feels like a defendant doesn’t have the skills or experience to offer a proper defense, an attorney may be required to act as an adviser throughout the legal process. In addition to providing the best possible defense, it may prevent excessive objections, sidebars and other stoppages during the case for procedural matters.
If your attorney is not offering the best possible legal advice, it may be a good idea to find someone new. Even if you simply work with someone else within the same firm, it may give you a better chance of winning your case or obtaining the best possible outcome. Those who wish to represent themselves should ensure that they have a good understanding of the law before they proceed.