16 Jul 16

What if my lawyer dropped me after receiving the retainer?

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There’s a lot of caveats to this situation. If your attorney dropped you after receiving a retainer – it can leave you in a weird place. If the attorney dropped you after “burning up,” your retainer – then it means there’s no money to refund, and you simply have to find a new attorney. If the attorney drops you, after taking your retainer – and hasn’t really gotten to work, then you may be eligible for a refund.

Typically, it will depend on the agreement you signed with the divorce attorney. Typically, you should have a signed contract with the attorney for his/her services. Read the contract, and see what it says in terms of terminating the agreement. Depending on the language used in the agreement, you should be able to get some, or all, of your retainer back. Typically, you should try to work out things with the attorney. As a last resort, you can file a complaint with the local bar association against the attorney in order to get your money back.


What to do

If an attorney has dropped you – it means you’ll need a new attorney. So do your best to find one as soon as possible. This will prevent any delays in legal cases you may have pending. Not having an attorney can cause significant delay.

The next thing you should do, is reach out to your original attorney and understand why he dropped you. Depending on how long he was working, some, or most, of your retainer may be eligible to be refunded. Ethical divorce lawyers will typically tell you how much they are refunding you – when they tell you they are dropping you.

We live in a free society, so there’s no legal way to force an attorney to work on your case if he/she doesn’t want to. The only thing you can do, when this happens, is ask the attorney to refund your retainer – so you can hire someone else.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact our divorce law firm in NYC. We offer a risk free consultation, and are always available to help answer any questions you may have.

Attorney Mandatory Withdrawal

Below are some reasons an attorney may drop you as a client. In these circumstances, he is mandated to withdraw from the case.

  • The attorney isn’t competent to continue representing you. In this case, he’s obligated to refund the unused retainer.
  • The attorney becomes a witness, on a contested issue
  • The attorney realizes the client is using his service to advance a crime
  • The client is insisting on pursuing a frivolous case
  • The attorney has a conflict of interest

At the end of the day, you should work with the divorce attorney you hire. Most attorneys, if they pull out, are reasonable and understanding of your situation.

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