What Happens if You Fire Your Lawyer During Trial?

Yes, it is possible to fire your lawyer during an ongoing trial.

In this article, I explain what happens when you fire your lawyer during an ongoing trial.

Furthermore, I also explore instances where you should make such a decision.

What Happens if You Fire Your Lawyer During Trial?

When a party decides to fire or part ways with a lawyer during an ongoing trial, two options are usually available.An infographic explaining two available options if You Fire Your Lawyer During Trial

  • First, the party can represent themselves., i.e., going “pro se.”

Representing yourself is usually counterproductive as lawyers have the experience and skill to litigate successfully.

  • Secondly, the party can decide to hire a new lawyer.

In this instance, the new lawyer should file a “Notice of Substitution of Counsel.”

This notice lets the court and the opposing party know who the new attorney will be.

Can I Fire My Lawyer During Trial or Litigation?

Yes, it is possible to fire your lawyer at any time that you feel dissatisfied with the services that they provide.

All one needs to do is to send their lawyer something in writing. For example, one can send a letter or an email stating that they have fired the lawyer

It is important to confirm that the lawyer received the notice.

An image of an example of how to write a Notice of Dismissal of lawyer
An image of an example of how to write a Notice of Dismissal of a lawyer

Additionally, it is also important that you keep a copy of any written correspondence that you send to your lawyer.

What should a notice firing my lawyer contain?

A notice of firing my lawyer should contain the reasons for the decision.

Also, it should give the lawyer instructions as to where they should send a copy of your file.

The lawyer must send the file because it might contain important information like personal medical records, accident reports, and witness statements.

Once you receive such documents, make sure that you contain a copy of this material to give to the new lawyer that you wish to hire.

Note that, once you change your lawyer, it is important to contact all parties involved in your lawsuit and inform them that you are no longer working with the particular lawyer. And that you have changed the lawyer who was handling your case. This step is important as it prevents the lawyer from acting on your behalf any further.

In some states, a lawyer is not required to turn over his work product on the case, which includes his mental impressions of the case. Also, some jurisdictions allow an attorney to keep the file until he or she has been paid for the services rendered.

Reasons Why You Should Fire Your Lawyer During Trial

An inforgraphic of three reasons why you should fire your lawyer during trial
Notes on reasons why you should fire your lawyer during trial

In this section, I explore three reasons why you should fire your lawyer during a trial.

Bad communication.

When your lawyer is not prompt in communication regarding important issues or how a lawsuit is progressing, it is a valid ground to fire them.

Runners and Client solicitation

In some states such as Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that soliciting for clients is illegal.

Therefore, lawyers or their offices should never contact potential clients unless the client first contacts them.

using case runners and soliciting for clients is illegal by law.

Therefore, if your lawyer approached you while in hospital, then, they have violated the ethical rules that govern lawyers.

Hiring such a lawyer will be detrimental to you. In addition, it is a solid ground to fire them.


If you discover that your lawyer is incompetent, it is a valid reason for you to fire them.

When is the best time to fire my lawyer?

In cases such as personal injury lawsuits, one should always fire their lawyer before a settlement offer has been made by the opposing party. This is because personal injury claims lawyers prefer payments based on contingency fees.

Contingency fees mean that the lawyer gets a percentage of any offer that the opposing party has proposed.

In other scenarios, a lawyer is entitled to collect the value of any services rendered i.e., “Quantam Meriut”.

When one fires a lawyer before the lawyer makes a formidable case, there usually is not much work that has been done by the lawyer. Therefore, they might not pursue that money.


Yes, it is possible to fire your lawyer during an ongoing trial or before they initiate a lawsuit against the opposing party or insurance firm.

In criminal cases, one has to provide the judge with valid reasons why they are firing their lawyer. Otherwise, the judge might refuse the change.

It is always important to have a reason why you are firing your lawyer.

Additionally, it is always important to document this process.