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Why Attorneys Withdraw

by Sharon Jackson  on June 22, 2023 under ,

In today’s market, especially in large metropolitan areas, clients can pick and choose from a long list of possible lawyers to handle their legal needs.  If things don’t work out from the client’s perspective, they can terminate the representation, fire the lawyer, and hire someone else.

What does an attorney withdrawal mean?

Sometimes the attorney is the one who feels that the client and the lawyer should no longer work together.  When this happens, the attorney “withdraws” from the case and terminates the relationship and ceases to represent the client.

Why do people seem to be very upset when a lawyer withdraws?

If the lawyer leaves before the case concludes, it is stressful for clients because they have to find and hire a new lawyer and often feel that they are starting over from scratch.  The client usually worries that the judge might view the attorney leaving in a negative manner and worries that the judge may think the client did something wrong.

Lawyers withdraw from cases all the time, and it usually does not impact the judge’s perception of the client unless the client has had multiple changes in legal counsel with attorneys that have a good reputation with the court. Clients also worry because they have to build a new relationship with a new lawyer and legal team and fear that the case will be further delayed by the change.

Family law cases are often the result of a personal relationship ending. When an attorney withdraws, even if the client agrees with the decision, it can still feel like yet another loss. It is only human for the client to feel abandoned and disappointed.

What are some common reasons why attorneys withdraw?

Two of the most common reasons why attorneys end representation is because of disputes regarding money and conflicts between the lawyer and the client.

Lawsuits, especially those that require a hearing or trial are very expensive. Most people never anticipate needing an attorney, so they don’t plan or save for it.  People sometimes simply run out of money and can no longer afford the expensive costs that come with litigation.

Law firms have high expenses and fixed overhead, so attorneys often have little flexibility with prices. The public often has the perception that all lawyers are rich and live like the attorneys on the television show “Suits.”   In reality, most lawyers are not rich and have other support staff to think about when it comes to the fees charged.  Like most other professions, lawyers simply can’t afford to work for free or to stay in cases where clients aren’t able to pay, regardless of how much they like the client or the case.  Other times, lawyers working for firms, do not have the authority to make such financial decisions that have a direct impact to the business.

Conflicts of interest occur for a number of reasons.  Your lawyer can’t fight for you and against you at the same time.  All states have what’s called a Bar Association that has rules to address what is required to happen when the lawyer and the client are no longer on the same page and each lawyer is required to abide by those rules. In Georgia, the lawyer is required to withdraw from a case if a conflict develops between them and the client.   It is important to note that conflicts do not necessarily mean that the lawyer and client are “fighting.”  In fact, conflicts are defined under the Georgia Bar Rules relatively broadly and encompass a slew of scenarios from financial reasonings to potential reasonings.

Are there other reasons why lawyers withdraw?

Yes, there are many other reasons why a lawyer may withdraw from a case, some which are completely unrelated to the client at all. The reasons include but are not limited to:

  • Attorney illness or family medical needs.
  • Safety threats against the firm, its employees, or other people involved in the case.
  • Rude treatment of the staff or attorneys by clients or their family members.
  • Client failing to disclose important information or lying to the attorney.
  • The case becomes overly complicated or requires special skills, training, or needs that are outside of the scope of the firm’s ability or focus.
  • Interference by a third party.
  • The client is becoming non-responsive, failing to respond or return communication from the firm.
  • The erosion of trust between the client and the attorney for any number of reasons.
  • The attorney is put in a position where they are being asked to violate the rules of the Georgia Bar or to behave in an unethical manner.
  • Firm staffing issues, caseload becomes too high. The state bar requires the firm not to have more cases than it can handle.
  • Client refusing to honor an agreement which they authorized the firm to make on their behalf or acts in bad faith.
  • Transfer of the case to an undesirable court or jurisdiction.
  • The client threatens to file a bar complaint or legal action against the attorney.
  • Client requests that the attorney do something illegal.
  • Client refuses to cooperate with assisting in his own case (i.e., refuses to provide documents for discovery.)
  • Making threats against anyone in the case.
  • Posting negative information online about people involved in the case.
  • Client appears to be struggling with untreated mental illness or current substance abuse.

What are some things you can do to prevent your lawyer from withdrawing?

Withdrawing from a case is generally the last resort for a lawyer.  Most lawyers are in the profession to help people and accepted the case to do just that!  The easiest way to prevent your lawyer from withdrawing is to uphold your end of the contract.

Consider the following Tips for preventing your lawyer from withdrawing:

  • Pay your bill on time and don’t avoid your lawyer if you run into financial challenges. Communicate with your lawyer and work together to evaluate all of your options.
  • Don’t make your lawyer the enemy. Remember that your lawyer did not create the family law problem. He is there to help you resolve it.
  • Don’t accuse your lawyer of working for the other side.  A good legal advocate doesn’t just take your word as gold. They look at all of the evidence, both favorable and unfavorable.
  • Prevent your new spouse, parent, sibling, or best friend from interfering with your case.
  • Be truthful and forthcoming. Help your lawyer help you.
  • Don’t compare your case to other people unless all of your facts are identical.
  • Avoid telling your lawyer what the internet said.
  • Resist the urge to attack the judge, the Guardian ad litem, the other party, the other attorney, or your own attorney on social media.
  • Remember that you are not the firm’s only client and that your lawyer has a family too.
  • Respect the legal system. Each side gets to prove the case in court. The judge gets the final vote.  The lawyer is not the judge.
  • Remember that you would not work for free, and neither would the lawyer.
  • Work with not just your lawyer, but your entire legal team to move your case forward.  You don’t want to pay your lawyer to make the copies instead of using an assistant.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The phone rings both ways. Your lawyer is not a mind reader.  Discuss concerns before they escalate and tell your lawyer what you need.

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to hire a lawyer. If you have a family law problem and your children, home, retirement, and future are at stake, it is important to hire an experienced family lawyer like Attorney Sharon Jackson, LLC to help you resolve the challenges. Once you select your legal team, work together to prevent any major hiccups and to get through one of the most challenging times in your life. You deserve to be happy and to find the peace that you need.

Contact Attorney Sharon Jackson Today

The law firm of Attorney Sharon Jackson, LLC offers the highest degree of attention and experience you need to deal with your divorce, child and family law issues in Metro Atlanta courts.

Call us at (678) 909-4100 to schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our team.


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