Social Security lawyer Jonathan Ginsgerg has a great article about when NOT to fire your attorney and some of the unexpected consequences of kicking your lawyer to the curb! A good point Jonathan brings up is that you may have a hard time finding a new lawyer willing to take your case:
Many lawyers are reluctant to accept cases where there has been a previous representation. Ethical, experienced lawyers do not want to get a reputation as “case stealers.”
There is a second reason why lawyers are reluctant to take on a case that was previously the responsibility of another lawyer.
Fees. … [I]f more than one lawyer has filed an entry of appearance … [b]oth the new lawyer and the old lawyer will be asked to file a Fee Petition…
In my office, I rarely take on cases where there has been another lawyer unless that lawyer is willing to waive his fees (in which case I could use a Fee Agreement). Fee Petitions are time consuming and, in my opinion, they also do not reflect the value of a good lawyer’s services.
I have been the second, or even the third Social Security lawyer for some of my Colorado clients. As Jonathan says, having to do a fee petition adds a lot of time to a case. However, when I believe in a case, I will do it for my client.
Also, Jonathan cautions that if you are thinking of firing your attorney, make sure you do not do it for something the lawyer has no control over. For example: how long it takes to get your case decided.
Delays in Social Security cases are not the lawyer’s fault and there is little, if anything that the lawyer can do about the delays. The delays in Social Security disability cases are a function of the number of claims filed in your area.
In general, if you are not happy with how things are going on your Social Security case, talk to your attorney. Let him or her know what is bothering you. Any good attorney should be willing to sit down with you (and your family) and discuss your concerns, frustrations and complaints.
Give your lawyer a chance to respond and make some changes.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I believe most people know if their lawyer is doing a good job for them or not. Have any of these things happened to you?
- You cannot get an appointment scheduled with the lawyer.
- When you call, you get passed to a legal assistant.
- The lawyer won’t return your phone calls.
- When you talk to the lawyer, he or she does not know what is happening in your case.
Ultimately, you may be paying the lawyer thousands of dollars on your case. You deserve someone who will work for you. So, clear the air with your lawyer, make sure the problems are within the lawyer’s control. But, if you know your lawyer is not working for you, go ahead and find a better lawyer.
Jonathan has a lot of great material which I have only touched on. Read the rest of his excellent article here.
Have you had a terrible or terrific experience with a lawyer? Share it in the comments!