Generally, when obtaining representation for yourself and your property interests, you must make sure that your interests are indeed being protected and your wishes respected as much as legally possible. The moment it becomes clear that your attorney is not acting accordingly, it may be time to change your lawyer.
What You Should Expect
You are the best advocate for yourself, so there will be things that will make it abundantly clear to you whether it is time to change lawyers. From the beginning, your attorney should provide you with a clear roadmap and plan for the litigation. Your lawyer should communicate with you about how they see the dispute, and their plan to win your case.
Additionally, your lawyer should let you know in advance of the next steps that they are planning to take, and how these steps will ultimately lead to a better outcome for your legal problem.
You should be particularly careful to see that your lawyer is not just spinning their wheels because they are not familiar with the precise type of legal dispute that you have. Just as doctors could practice many types of medicine, lawyers can practice many types of law. But that doesn’t it’s a good idea. For example, many lawyers practice real estate law, but may have handled only a handful of partition cases in their career.
It is in your best interest to consider the consequences of not changing your representation against the costs of switching attorneys and/or spending more money on a new one. While it may be a daunting task to change your lawyer, especially in the middle of your case, as lawyers are expensive and your current lawyer knows all the facts, the alternative could end up being much more costly.
What You Should Do Once You Decide to Change Your Lawyer
Once you decide to change lawyers you should gather all your information from your previous lawyer i.e., a copy of your case file. This includes any case documents that may have been filed on your behalf such as pleadings, motions, discovery, etc. Having these documents will be crucial in helping your new lawyer understand where you case currently stands and how they should move forward with your case. No attorney can prevent you from obtaining your own case file.
When you decide to change your lawyer, you should be diligent in your search for a replacement as you do not want to run into the same issues you ran into with your original attorney. Your search should focus on lawyers that both specialize in the subject your case is about and provide the advocacy that you desire. It is much more beneficial to your case to find lawyers that specialize in a specific area of the law versus a lawyer that deals with the area occasionally amongst a dozen other areas. Settling for an affordable or convenient lawyer may lead to the same issues and loss of time and money as your original one.
Once you decide on the lawyer you want to switch to, make sure to provide them with your complete case file and provide all the details and facts you know so that they know the current status of your case and do not miss anything important such as hearings or trial dates that may have already been scheduled.
“Julie” and “Shawn” each own an interest in a home they inherited from their parents. Shawn owns a sixty percent interest while Julie owns a forty percent interest. The home is an older house, constantly needing repairs. Since the costs seem to outweigh the value of the home, Julie wants to sell the house as she views it as a burden to upkeep. Shawn opposes the sale because he believes that because of the location of the house, it will eventually be valued so high that the repairs will seem miniscule in comparison.
Since Shawn is unwilling to let Julie sell the house, Julie seeks out a lawyer to help her file a suit against her brother for a partition by sale. The attorney she first hires fails to keep her updated with her case and never returns her calls. Whenever Julie conveys a concern to the lawyer, they are quick to dismiss her concerns without explaining why she should not worry. Julie begins to feel like she could lose her partition suit due to the lack of advocacy on behalf of her attorney.
Julie makes the decision to change attorneys and goes to the Underwood Law Firm as she has researched and found that they specialize in partition actions. Once Julie took the step to change her attorney, she was better represented, and her concerns were all addressed or solved. Julie won her partition action, and the property was sold.
How the Attorneys at the Underwood Law Firm Can Help You
When your interests are not being protected and advocated for by your attorney, you should consider changing your lawyer. Although it may seem easier to stay with an attorney because they are affordable or were recommended by a friend, that does not commit you to that attorney. It may end up more costly to remain complacent than to search for another lawyer. Make sure your rights are protected.
At the Underwood Law Firm, we specialize in partition actions, real estate matters, and civil litigation. Our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help. If you are seeking new representation, or if you want a reliable attorney from start to finish of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Access the California Courts MC-050 Form here.