You always want to take your client cause to a successful, timely and reasonable conclusion. But life is such that things happen that you may not foresee. Sometimes an attorney needs to withdraw from the case even before matters come to an end. Withdrawal, however, can be problematic sometimes. The lawyer has to make sure that he/she does not violate disciplinary and ethical rules. Withdrawing without permission can subject an attorney to professional discipline. When it comes to the case that an attorney needs to withdraw, he/she must have grounds for this act, and the engagement should be permissible. In this article, we are going to elaborate what are the grounds for attorney withdrawal and how can a lawyer withdraw from a case without damaging his reputation.
Grounds for Attorney Withdrawal
There are two types of attorney withdrawal: mandatory and permissible. When a tribunal orders that an attorney withdraws from a case, it is a mandatory act, and the attorney has to follow the order. The mandatory act can also take place according to a disciplinary or a professional rule.
When it comes to permissible withdrawal, the attorney can withdraw only if it will not result in a material adverse effect on the client’s interests. In any case, the lawyer has to have grounds for it and here are some:
- Client’s persistent unlawful conduct;
- Use of a lawyer’s service to give way to crime or fraud;
- Other acts of the client that the lawyer considers unacceptable;
- The client may fail to fulfill his/her duty in front of the lawyer, e.g., failure to pay;
- Client’s conduct that makes the representation unreasonably difficult;
- An irreparable breakdown between the lawyer-client relationship.
Even when a lawyer has a reasonable cause to withdraw, these must be thoroughly discussed with the client and documented. These materials will serve as evidence for the lack of engagement. The client also needs to consent to this act, and the lawyer must provide proper notice to relevant authorities, seeking their approval according to applicable law.
Techniques of Withdrawal
- Seek client’s consent: Even in circumstances when you don’t need a client’s approval, it is a good idea to seek consent anyway. An attorney can explain that consenting can make the shift painless and easier and that the client should have an interest in this transition.
- Give time for corrective action: The attorney should also give the client enough time for corrective actions if the reason for the act is the client’s failure to fulfill his/her obligations.
- Prior notice: The practitioner should also give the client a prior notice of his intention to withdraw from the case and should give reasonable time to the client for preparing for this scenario. During the time, the representing attorney should continue his engagement, among others, assisting the client to find an appropriate lawyer.
- Turn over all records: After a new lawyer is assigned, the former attorney should pass the case to the new lawyer turning over all the records at his/her possession.
- Court approval: In case the withdrawal will require court approval, a motion should be filed to the court with a copy sent to the client.
If this article was helpful to you in a tough time when you want to withdraw, please also read our article on how to find an appearance attorney with AppearMe. Life is going to continue even after hard times, and you never know when you will need a helping hand.