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Is it possible to change lawyers in the middle of a case?


Published in Attorney on April 20, 2020.

Elder couple changing to a Macon Personal Injury Attorney

There may be multiple reasons that you would want to change lawyers in the middle of the case. You may be frustrated with an attorney that doesn’t seem to be advocating for your best interests. It may be hard to get a hold of your lawyer. In some cases, the crux of your case might change and move out of your attorney’s area of expertise.

Fortunately, in most cases, you can change lawyers in the middle of the case. With the court’s permission, you can notify them that you’ve hired a new attorney. There’s paperwork to complete to make the change official. There are also some circumstances where the court may not allow you to make the change. Here’s when you can change lawyers in the middle of a case:

In most cases, you can change lawyers.

To change lawyers in the middle of the case, you find and retain the new lawyer that you want to represent you. Georgia court rules say that your new lawyer must complete and file a document called a substitution of counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court says that the lawyer taking over the case must also send a copy of the substitution paperwork to the other party or their attorney. In most cases, the court signs off on the substitution of counsel without any questions asked, and the case proceeds.

When a substitution isn’t routine

In some cases, the judge may have questions. If they’re unsure of whether they want to grant the substitution of counsel, they may call you to court for a hearing. They may want to ensure that you want to substitute counsel, or they may want to make sure that you’re going to be prepared for upcoming court dates.

The court may deny a substitution of counsel if it’s very close to your trial date. They don’t want parties to use changing lawyers as a way to delay the case. A new attorney may ask the court to adjourn the proceedings to give them time to prepare. The courts don’t like to grant a substitution when it’s going to delay the case. Both sides in the case have a right to have the case heard in a reasonable amount of time. If the court gets the impression that you’re using substitution as a delay, they may tell you they won’t allow the change.

What you should do if you may want to change lawyers in the middle of your case?

If you think that you may want to change lawyers in your case, contact the new attorney that you may want to work with as soon as possible. The sooner they can begin working on your case, the faster they’re going to be able to learn about your case and begin advocating for you. If you may want to change lawyers, contact us at Nelson & Smith. Our team of professionals can help you evaluate your case to determine if changing lawyers is right for you.