If you've hired an attorney to assist you with a foreclosure and no longer want the lawyer's services, you can fire him or her at any time. However, you'll still have to pay the lawyer for services already performed. This will come out of the retainer you paid. Depending on how much you've already paid and how much work was done, you could receive a refund.
Before you actually end your relationship with the lawyer though, you should first let the lawyer know about your concerns. You might be able to work out your issues this way.
Many times you can resolve any problems you have by simply letting your lawyer know that you’re not happy and why. It is usually most effective to schedule a face-to-face meeting with the lawyer. Tell your lawyer in a civil, non-confrontational way about what’s worrying you and give him or her a chance to fix the situation.
Sometimes an open and honest phone conversation about what's bothering you is also effective for resolving these types of communication issues. Email, on the other hand, usually isn’t the best way to have this type of discussion. Emotions and tone are often misinterpreted over e-mail and the situation can escalate with each reply.
However, if the attorney refuses to speak with you or doesn’t address your concerns, then you might need to terminate your relationship.
While the decision to fire your foreclosure attorney is not one that should be taken lightly, sometimes it’s your best option. Below are a few reasons that might justify a decision to fire your lawyer.
All states have rules of professional conduct that attorneys must follow. One of those rules is that the client can discharge (fire) a lawyer at any time, with or without cause, subject to liability for payment for the lawyer's services. This means you can fire your attorney whenever you want, but you’ll need to pay for any work already done.
Rules of professional conduct also prohibit a lawyer from keeping unearned fees and charging excessive fees. If you fire your attorney, he or she will have to refund any unearned portion of the fees that you’ve already paid. (For example, if you paid a $1,000 retainer, but the lawyer only did $500 worth of work, you’ll get $500 back.)
How much you’ll get back will depend on:
In the future, be sure to take your time and do your homework when choosing a lawyer to represent you in any matter. It’s always better to hire an appropriate attorney in the first place instead of hiring one and then later having to fire him or her and then get a new lawyer. (To get started, read Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Foreclosure Lawyer.)