Court proceedings can be somewhat complicated, which is why people hire attorneys to help them navigate through the process as smoothly as possible. However, not all attorneys are created equal. If you discover that your attorney is not meeting your standards or seems unethical, it may be time to end your attorney-client contract. The termination itself should be in the form of an official letter upon settling your accounts and retrieving your legal files with your attorney.
If you feel you were improperly represented, it’s in your best interest to hire a new attorney. Many people often feel their hired attorney doesn’t have their best interests at heart. In order to officially and properly fire your attorney, you must write a formal letter. An attorney termination letter needs to be as straightforward as possible and can be sent by either certified or regular mail.
Formally Address the Attorney Termination Letter
Formally address the letter the same as you would any other standard letter by including your name, address, and the date along with the attorney’s name and address as well. Because this is a formal letter, be sure to include a proper salutation and address them directly by name. Do not write ‘to whom it may concern’. Also, there should be a clear subject line in order to state why the letter is being sent.
Get Straight to the Point
For this particular kind of letter, get straight to the point in the first paragraph. Convey that you desire to fire the attorney and the reasons why. State the reasons why you feel the need to fire their organization without making excuses. Also, the first paragraph should be used to thank them for the things they did for you, if any, on your behalf. If you do have a specific complaint with them, such as being overcharged, now is the time to point it out as well.
If your attorney did something wrong concerning your case, it’s best to let them know so they can perhaps avoid making the same mistake in the future with another client. If you’re not absolutely sure about terminating your attorney-client contract, it’s better to set up a meeting to discuss your concerns prior to writing a letter like this. Be sure you get expert advice as to what you really want to do since this type of letter is considered to be a final contract regarding the attorney-client relationship.
State the Reasons Why You’re Upset
In the second paragraph, clearly state what you think what went wrong. This type of letter is intended to be frank, but not spiteful or mean. If you have a significant issue that requires the attention of your local area Bar Association, address them and not your attorney. Don’t feel intimidated. Instead, just explain why you’re upset without dragging it out.
Get an Official Copy of Your Legal Case File
In the third and final paragraph, thank the firm for their services in addition to the time they spent on your case. Be sure to request a copy of your case file as well. In fact, you have a legal right to receive all the paperwork that was performed on your case. They will send it over to your new attorney upon your request. Also, include the address for the final billing along with where to send the invoices. Although you may be tempted to rant and rave, it’s better to maintain your composure and just get straight to the point.
Here are some examples of an attorney termination letter:
Example 1 - Attorney Termination Letter
123 Anywhere Drive
Dixon, IL 61021
May 26, 2015
467 N. Westbrook Ave.
Dixon, IL 61021
Re: Termination Letter
Dear Mr. Landis,
I would like to immediately terminate our legal relationship and attorney-client contract since I have obtained other legal counsel. I sincerely appreciate the hard work and many hours that went into my custody case. Like many other custody cases, they are often long, drawn out, and expensive. When I initially retained your legal counsel, I submitted $3,000. This large sum of money seemed to go rather quickly over the course of just six weeks. Recently, I was asked to add another $1,500 to my overall account.
You have served as my attorney for nearly nine months and I have seen very little progress and spent almost $5,000. I have tried to reach you at your office numerous times to speak with your directly. Instead, I only speak to your paralegal. You appear to be uninterested in my case since you’re always late to court and never return my calls.
Because of my intense desire and need to protect my children as well as their current lifestyle, I felt compelled to hire legal counsel that’s a better fit for what I need. If you would, please send a copy of my legal file at your earliest convenience to Winchester & Griffin Law Firm, 321 North High Street, Dixon, IL 61021. Send the final bill for your services to my address listed above. Thank you kindly for your services.
Jane Doe (Both print and sign your name)
Example 2 - Attorney Termination Letter
1279 Oakbrook Drive.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068
August 12, 2015
20 N. Ohio Ave.
Wellston, Ohio 45692
Re: Termination Letter
Dear Ms. Silcott;
I would like to terminate the legal relationship that we have as I have obtained other counsel. I appreciate the long hours and hard work that has gone into this extensive custody case. As with many custody cases, they are long and drawn out and very costly. When I retained your counsel, I paid $2,500. This money seemed to have gone very quickly and within two months I was required to add an additional $2,000 to my account.
You have been my attorney for more than eight months and to date I have spent around $7,000 and still have seen little progress. I have called the office many times to speak to you and instead speak to a paralegal. You never return my phones calls, your late to court and you seem completely uninvolved in this case.
Due to my desire to protect my children and their current home life, I felt it necessary to obtain counsel that would fight for my desires. If you could be so kind, please send a copy of my file to Barrow Law Firm, 123 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43123. The final bill for you services can be sent to my address above.
Lisa A. Carney
By Andre Bradley