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Should I Get a New Lawyer for My Minnesota Divorce or Minnesota Child Custody Case?
It can be difficult for a client to know whether his or her lawyer is performing well or not. Sometimes even the best of lawyers does not achieve the desired result, and it may be due to a difficult set of facts, a bad judge and/or custody evaluator or guardian ad litem, or unrealistic expectations. There are some clear indications of bad lawyering, however, which are objectively obvious:
1) Poor communication (lawyer doesn’t return phone calls or emails on a same day or at least 1-day turnaround without good reason, or doesn’t copy client on important correspondence, orders, pleadings, etc.).
2) Neglect (lawyer simply doesn’t work on case in a reasonably timely manner).
3) Lawyer misses important deadlines.
If any of the above is true, one should seriously consider obtaining new counsel.
Some considerations before firing your attorney, however, are:
1) Is the lawyer being paid? If there is plenty of unearned money in your trust account to pay for your lawyer’s pending workload, this shouldn’t be a factor. However, if the initial retainer has been used up, and an additional retainer has not been provided, or you have not promptly paid a bill from your attorney, this may be at the root of your lawyer’s lack of attention to your case.
2) Sometimes it is better to keep a lawyer, even with problems, if you are too close to a trial, hearing, or other event for the replacement lawyer to get up to speed in time.
When and if you do terminate your lawyer, you have the right to your file back in a timely manner. You cannot be billed for the copying of your file upon return unless the Fee Agreement so provides.