Reasons to Consider Firing Your Attorney

Angry client with lawyer

When you hire an attorney, you expect them to work in your best interest and provide you with valuable legal guidance. However, not all attorneys live up to their clients’ expectations and sometimes it’s necessary to fire them.

If you’re considering firing your attorney, here are some of the most common reasons why:

1. Lack of Communication

Lawyer not communicating with client

One of the most significant reasons for firing an attorney is a lack of communication. You may not hear from your attorney for long periods, or they may not respond to your messages or emails. As a result, you may feel like you don’t know what’s happening with your case or whether your attorney is making progress.

Good communication is the foundation of a solid attorney-client relationship. If you feel like you’re not getting the attention you deserve or your attorney isn’t keeping you informed, it may be time to consider finding another attorney who will give you the communication you desire.

It’s essential to have an attorney who is responsive and willing to answer your questions no matter how basic they may seem. A reliable attorney should be available to discuss your case with you whenever you need to talk about an issue or want to know about its status.

If your attorney is not responsive or not keeping you in the loop, it’s generally a sign that they don’t take their job seriously or don’t prioritize your case.

A lack of communication can lead to miscommunications, missed court dates or filing deadlines, and it can significantly affect the outcome of your case.

If you have attempted to address the issue with your attorney and nothing has changed, it’s time to consider terminating the relationship. Make sure you consult your new attorney before sending a letter of termination to avoid leaving yourself in a problematic situation.

Overall, the most important thing is to choose an attorney who can offer you good communication, which is tailored to your needs. Good communication can provide much-needed peace of mind during what is always a stressful and challenging time.

Steps to Take Before Writing the Letter

Steps to Take Before Writing the Letter

Breaking up with your attorney is a big decision and a step that should not be taken lightly. Before you write the letter to fire your attorney, there are several steps you should take and factors you should consider.

Here are some things to do before writing the letter:

1. Review Your Attorney-Client Agreement

Before taking any action, make sure to read through your attorney-client agreement to understand the terms of your contract. The agreement should spell out the terms of your relationship, including the scope of work, fees, and any termination clauses.

If your attorney has breached the terms of the agreement, you may have the right to terminate the relationship without penalty. However, if you terminate the relationship without cause or without following the terms of the agreement, you could be held responsible for any unpaid fees or expenses.

2. Consider the Consequences

Before sending the letter to fire your attorney, you should consider the potential consequences. Firing your attorney in the middle of a case can have serious consequences and impact the outcome of your case.

Take time to evaluate the costs and benefits of ending your relationship with your attorney before making a decision. If there is a possibility of reaching a satisfactory resolution with your attorney, you may want to explore that option before taking the step of firing them.

You should also consider the consequences of any pending deadlines or court dates. If you are terminating the relationship in the midst of a case, you may need to find a replacement attorney as soon as possible to avoid any missed deadlines.

3. Try to Resolve the Issue

If you are unhappy with your attorney’s performance, it is important to communicate your concerns with them first. Many issues can be resolved through open and honest communication. Schedule a meeting or send an email outlining your concerns and see if your attorney is willing to work with you to resolve the issue.

You may also want to consider seeking a second opinion or consulting with an attorney in a similar field to get another perspective on your case. This can help you evaluate whether your expectations are reasonable and whether your attorney is effectively representing your interests.

4. Factor in Timing

The timing of firing your attorney can be crucial. If you are in the middle of a case, you may want to wait until after a key hearing or trial to avoid any disruptions in the case. Additionally, firing your attorney close to a deadline can make it challenging to find a replacement attorney who can take on your case with minimal disruption.

It is also important to factor in the amount of time it will take to find a replacement attorney and get them up to speed on your case. This can be challenging if you have a complex case or a case that is in the midst of litigation.

5. Hire a New Attorney

Before firing your current attorney, research and find a suitable replacement who is able to take on your case. This can ensure a smooth transition and minimize the impact of changing attorneys in the middle of a case.

When searching for a new attorney, look for someone who has experience in your specific area of law, has a good reputation, and is responsive to your needs. Be upfront about the reason you are seeking a new attorney and try to ensure a good fit before hiring them.

By taking these steps before writing the letter to fire your attorney, you can ensure that you are making an informed decision and minimizing any negative impact on your case. Firing your attorney is never a pleasant experience, but sometimes it is necessary to get the outcome that you deserve.

Key Elements to Include in Your Letter

Attorney Letter

Firing your attorney is never an easy task. However, if you are not satisfied with your lawyer’s services and wish to terminate the engagement, a well-crafted letter can help to ease the process. It is important to include key elements in your letter to ensure that your message is clear and your rights as a client are protected. Here are the essential elements to include in your letter:

1. Reason for Termination

Reason for Termination

The first element you need to include in your letter is the reason for termination. You need to explain why you have decided to end your relationship with your lawyer. Whether the problem lies in poor communication, lack of progress, or something else, provide a clear and concise explanation for your decision. Your attorney is entitled to know why you are terminating their services.

It is crucial to provide facts and specific examples in your letter instead of just making vague allegations. For instance, instead of saying your attorney was not responsive, provide dates and times when you attempted to contact your lawyer and received no response.

Detailed and specific reasons can help you avoid any potential legal consequences and keep you from being liable for breach of contract or malpractice allegations brought by your former attorney.

2. Request for Any Documents or Materials

Attorney documents

If your attorney has any documents or materials related to your case, make sure to request that these be returned to you in your letter. This may include copies of pleadings, depositions, or other documents related to your case. Ensure you retain complete records of all documents you provided or received during your representation with the attorney.

Ask that all correspondence with the attorney be returned to you as a part of this request. Ideally, you should list all documents and materials(or category of documents), the attorney has in their possession, and detail how, when and where this was provided to the attorney.

3. Next Steps

Next Steps

Now that you have terminated your attorney-client relationship, you may need to take some additional steps to ensure a smooth transition to a new lawyer. In this section, provide steps that the attorney needs to complete before your lawyer-client relationship is formally terminated and the next steps for you as the client.

For example, if you are in the process of a litigation case, you may need to notify the court and your adversaries that the attorney is no longer representing you in the case. Additionally, you should ask for a copy of your complete file about the matter so that you can provide it to your new attorney.

If there are any pending deadlines for discovery, hearings, or other dates that require your immediate attention, list them in your letter. You should also indicate a deadline by which you expect your former attorney to respond and complete the necessary tasks.

By providing details of the next steps, it becomes clear who is responsible for what, and all parties can move forward from the termination without many uncertainties.



Firing your lawyer can be stressful and emotional at times, and the complexity of the law doesn’t make it any easier. Including the key elements mentioned above can help you to draft an effective letter and to protect your interests once the relationship is terminated.

Be professional, stick to the facts and do not make the letter too long. Do not leave anything out that may come back to haunt you later and do not feel guilty about changing your representation if it’s in your best interest.

Writing a letter is a formal way of terminating your attorney-client agreement. At this point, having a clear understanding of what is expected of you and your attorney can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Sample Language for a Professional but Firm Tone

Letter to Fire Attorney

When it becomes necessary to terminate the services of an attorney, it’s important to do it professionally. No matter what the circumstances may be, it’s essential to stay within the bounds of professionalism while communicating your decision. Follow these tips and use this sample language for a professional yet firm tone when writing your letter to fire your attorney.

Be Clear and Concise

Your letter to your attorney should be clear and concise. Make it as brief as possible while still effectively communicating your message. You don’t need to provide a lengthy explanation or go into great detail about why you’re making this decision. Keep your language straightforward, confident and professional. Here’s an example:

Dear [Attorney’s Name],

I am writing to inform you that I am terminating our professional relationship, effective immediately.

Thank you for your assistance up to this point. Please let me know what next steps need to be taken to formally end our relationship as attorney and client.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Remain Polite but Firm

It’s important to maintain a polite and professional tone while still being firm with your decision. You may be feeling frustrated or angry, but it’s best not to let those emotions dictate the tone of your letter. You can assert your position firmly and respectfully in your letter, like so:

Dear [Attorney’s Name],

I’m sorry to inform you that I’m terminating our professional relationship. I appreciate your help so far, but I believe it’s in my best interest to seek representation elsewhere.

Please let me know what the next steps are to formally end our relationship. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

State Your Reasons (if Necessary)

If you feel it’s necessary, you can state your reasons for terminating the attorney-client relationship, but be careful not to be overly negative or critical. Simply state your reasons in a clear, concise, and objective manner. Here’s an example of how to communicate your reasons professionally:

Dear [Attorney’s Name],

After careful consideration, I have decided to terminate our professional relationship. Unfortunately, I feel that we are no longer moving in the same direction or working towards the same goals.

Thank you for your assistance up until this point. Please let me know what steps need to be taken to formally end our relationship as attorney and client.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Offer to Pay Outstanding Fees

Make sure to settle any outstanding fees before terminating the attorney-client relationship. You don’t want to leave any loose ends behind and cause any unnecessary problems in the future. You can offer to pay any outstanding fees in your letter, like so:

Dear [Attorney’s Name],

I’m writing to inform you that I’m terminating our professional relationship. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into the case so far.

Please let me know if there are any outstanding fees or expenses that need to be settled before ending our relationship formally. I’m happy to pay any outstanding balances upon receipt of an invoice.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

In conclusion, use these tips and sample language to create a professional yet firm tone when writing your letter to fire your attorney. Remember to remain clear, concise, polite, and professional. Your letter should communicate your position, assert your needs, and ultimately bring the attorney-client relationship to an amicable end.

What to Expect After Sending the Letter

legal documents

After sending your letter to fire your attorney, you may wonder what will happen next. Here are some things to expect:

1. Your Attorney May Withdraw from the Case


Once the attorney receives your letter, they may withdraw from your case. They are required to notify the court and all parties involved in the case. They may also provide you with any documents or information related to your case that they currently possess.

If your case is in the middle of a trial or hearing, the court may require you to appear and explain your reasons for dismissing your attorney.

2. A New Attorney May Need to Be Found

find a new attorney

You may need to find a new attorney to represent you in your case. If you have already found a new attorney, your first attorney will likely transfer any documents or information they have to your new attorney.

Keep in mind that finding a new attorney may delay your case, depending on their availability and familiarity with your case.

3. You May Owe Your Attorney Fees

attorney fees

Depending on the fee arrangement you had with your first attorney, you may owe them for any work they completed on your case. This could include fees for their time, court filing fees, or any other expenses related to your case.

Review your fee agreement with your first attorney to understand what fees you may owe and when they are due.

4. Your Case May Be Delayed

delayed justice

Depending on where your case is in the legal process, dismissing your attorney may delay your case. This could be due to finding a new attorney, your new attorney needing time to get up to speed on your case, or the court needing to reschedule any hearings or trials.

Be prepared for potential delays and keep in touch with your new attorney about the status of your case.

5. You May Need to File a Complaint

complaint form

If you feel that your first attorney acted improperly or did not fulfill their duties, you may wish to file a complaint with your state’s disciplinary board or agency. This could lead to an investigation of your attorney’s actions and potential disciplinary action.

Before filing a complaint, consider speaking with a legal professional or your new attorney about your concerns.

Dismissal of an attorney can be a difficult process, but it is important to have an attorney that you trust and who is working in your best interests. By understanding what to expect after sending the letter, you can be prepared for the next steps in your case.