If I Am Not Satisfied With My Representation, May I Hire Another Georgia Family Law Attorney?
The short answer to this query is: Certainly. Now for the more detailed version…
Before you retain attorney, it is vital to ensure that not only will your attorney adequately represent you, but you must also ensure that you will be comfortable with and confident in the attorney you choose. Only then will your attorney/client relationship be successful. However, as is the case with many relationships, there may come a time that you are no longer comfortable with your representation, or you feel as if your current attorney no longer is serving your interests. In this case, it is totally acceptable to seek new counsel. Remember, the choice of who you want to represent you is your own. If you are currently in an unhappy attorney/client relationship, you may most definitely divorce your divorce attorney. However before you do, take a look at the following pieces of advice regarding when, how and even if you should end your relationship with your current attorney.
If you find yourself dissatisfied with your current attorney, express your concerns to him or her and listen to your lawyer’s explanation. If you are not satisfied with your attorney’s explanation of if you continue to be dissatisfied with your attorney’s representation, you should then consider hiring a new lawyer.
Keep your own records and copies of documents in the event of a break. Although your attorney will either return your case documents to you or forward them to your new counsel, it is best to maintain copies of all of the documents that you provide your counsel, as well as all of the documents your attorney provides you with. If you do maintain copies of all of your case relevant documents, you may immediately provide your new attorney with this vital information without having to wait for your previous counsel to provide them. This will allow for a smoother transition and it will allow your new counsel to begin working on your case more efficiently and more effectively. Also, keep records of your communications with your attorney. Keeping a written record of all communications and requests between you and your attorney will help you down the line if there are any discrepancies or if it becomes necessary for you to petition the court for a change of attorney.
Try to work things out
You will often find that once you inform your current attorney of your concerns, he or she will do their best to work with you. In fact, working with your current attorney to solve any problems may best serve your interest because he or she is likely already intimately familiar with your case, and will be in the best position to handle your case going forward. But, if you come to realize that your lawyer simply is not the right fit for you, you are certainly better off ending a bad relationship than finishing the case with regrets.
Once you have made the decision to seek new counsel, communicate your decision to your current attorney. Once you have informed your attorney of your decision to seek alternative counsel, request that he or she seek permission from the court to withdraw from your case. Once this occurs, the new attorney of your choosing may file an entry of appearance or substitution of counsel in your case and continue your representation. When selecting your new attorney, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect lawyer or the best lawyer. You should seek an attorney who is best for your situation and an attorney who you can trust.
By A. Latrese Martin, Associate Attorney, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC