While clients can fire their lawyers at any time and for any reason, lawyers cannot file a motion to withdraw as counsel unless they have a valid reason to do so. However, there are several situations in which an attorney may request that the court allow him or her to withdraw from a case. For example, this may occur if a client fails to pay attorneys’ fees, if the client and attorney cannot agree on a case strategy, or if a client consents to the withdrawal. As a client, what should you do if your lawyer files a motion to withdraw as counsel?
What Is a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel?
A Motion to Withdraw as Counsel is a document that an attorney may file with the court asking the judge to allow him or her to withdraw from the case.
Judges do not grant every Motion to Withdraw. Before granting the motion, the court will inquire about the attorney’s reasons for asking to withdraw. If the court finds that the attorney does not have a valid basis for withdrawing from the case, the court will deny the motion. When a request to withdraw is granted to an attorney, the client may find a new attorney to take over the case.
What to Do If Your Lawyer Files a Motion to Withdraw
If your lawyer files a motion to withdraw, first contact your lawyer to ask why he or she has filed the motion (if you have not already been notified). Attorneys may wish to withdraw from a case for a variety of reasons, including all of the following:
- Client’s Failure to Pay Attorneys’ Fees:If the client fails to pay the attorney for any services performed, the attorney may petition the Court to withdraw from the case.
- Client’s Failure to Fulfill Obligations:Attorneys and their clients typically must share information with one another to build a successful case. If the client refuses to communicate, does not respond to requests in a timely manner, or fails to provide requested information or documentation, the attorney may petition the Court to withdraw from the case.
- Conflicting Case Strategies: Sometimes attorneys and their clients cannot agree on a case strategy. When this occurs, it’s typically in the client’s best interest that the attorney withdraws from the case.
- Conflicting Personalities: If a client and attorney aren’t able to get along, the likelihood of a successful case decreases dramatically.
- Client Wishes to Engage in Criminal, Unethical, or Fraudulent Activity: An attorney cannot assist a client that wishes to engage in criminal, unethical, or fraudulent behavior. If a client requests this, the attorney may petition the Court to withdraw from the case.
- Client Permission: If, for any reason, a client consents to their attorney withdrawing from the case, the attorney may do so with the Court’s permission.
In addition, sometimes ethical issues arise that lead to an attorney’s departure from a case. For example, a lawyer who discovers that he or she represented someone on the opposite side of the case in the past must withdraw because of the ethical conflict presented by his or her knowledge of the other side’s issues. In addition, an attorney may be required to withdraw if he or she has violated the rules of professional conduct or if his or her license to practice law has been suspended. Furthermore, lawyers who are mentally or physically unable to represent their clients will also be required to withdraw.
In some of the situations described above, withdrawal is mandatory. For example, if an attorney is asked to commit criminal activity by a client, he or she must withdraw from the case. In other cases, withdrawal is permissible but not mandatory. Because withdrawal typically produces some measure of harm to the client, the attorney must demonstrate that his or her withdrawal will cause less harm than the harm posed by continued representation.
Typically the court will decide whether or not to grant an attorney’s motion to withdraw based on the client’s best interests. However, if a client chooses to disobey the law (by using the attorney’s services to commit a crime, requesting that the attorney assist with fraud, etc.), the client’s best interests will not be the court’s primary concern, for obvious reasons.
Can you object to your attorney’s motion to withdraw?
Yes, you are allowed to object to your attorney’s motion to withdraw. If your attorney has left you high and dry, you may attend the court hearing on your attorney’s motion to withdraw and explain your objections to the court. The court may refuse your attorney’s request and order him or her to continue representing you.
Keep in mind, however, that while it’s typically ideal to retain the same attorney from the beginning of litigation to the end, this isn’t always possible or advisable. If your lawyer no longer wishes to represent you, it usually makes more sense to allow him or her to withdraw. Then, you can find a new attorney who is eager to assist you with your case.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
It’s quite rare for an attorney to file a Motion to Withdraw. Typically clients and attorneys are able to work together without any conflicts or personality issues arising. So if your attorney files a Motion to Withdraw from your case, we understand that you might be feeling frustrated, disappointed, or nervous about the future of your case. You deserve a reliable, professional attorney who is prepared to represent you to your case’s conclusion. At the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook, our compassionate and knowledgeable lawyers work hard to provide dependable and transparent services. If your lawyer has abandoned you, contact us today to find an attorney you can rely on. Call us at 479-783-8000 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.