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  1. #1

    Unhappy Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    State: NY

    My question is about my lawyer being legally allowed to drop me, 2 years into case.

    My first visit with my lawyer, he explained what he does, will do and how many years in practice. He made it a point to say that if we dont like their settlement offer, that he is willing to goto bat for me. So I agreed to give him the case.

    Now, after about 2 years, he tells me there is an settle offer hearing in 2 weeks and he thinks, we should settle for a certain price. I feel it is way to low and when I expressed this to my lawyer, he said that he knows what is best and if I cant agree to his settlement amount, then I should consider finding a new lawyer!

    I could not believe my ears...I'm not asking for a crazy number, I did a verdict search for cases similar to mine and the amount I'm asking is lower, so there should be no issue.

    Please tell me if my lawyer can drop me for this and if there are any disciplinary measures or sanctions.

    Thanks so much for your time,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    You believe your case is worth a lot more than your lawyer does, and you are refusing to listen to his advice. He is not willing to invest his time and resources in a battle that is not likely to result in an increased recovery, or risk a trial where you could get less. That's business.

    If he has appeared in court, he will have to bring a motion to withdraw from your case, which the court would probably grant. If not, and you don't wish to follow his advice, he's free to end your relationship.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    ok...I understand that much but my problem is that before giving him the case, he explained that if we dont like their offer, then he will goto court. He never made it seem like he is the type of lawyer to just settle with any offer given.

    By law he doesnt have to show me similar cases he either tried or by other lawyers that were settled for the same amount? If would make things easier to except, if there were other cases that settled the same. However, when I asked him to please pull up some paper work to support the reason why he feels this amount is good, he said he will if he can.

    I think we both know that had my lawyer said in the very beginning, that if I dont like the city's offer, then you will have to find a new lawyer, I never, ever would have signed with him.

    Two years into the case this cant be legally possible, right?


  4. #4

    Default Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    If the City had made an offer, most likely it was through a settlement demand letter, which should include an analysis of their offer - pros and cons to the case. Your attorney should have sent you a copy of this settlement demand and discussed with you whether or not the City is being fair or if your attorney has an ace up his sleeve. If the settlement offer was through a phone call, your attorney should discuss with you all the pros and cons of the case, based on the evidence, witnesses, reports, damage reports, estimates, etc. If your attorney wants to drop you just because you don't accept a settlement offer, he has to go to court and request to be relieved as counsel, and he must have a good reason, or the court will not allow him to do so (at least in California that is the procedure). Your attorney has ethical duties dictated by rules of professional conduct, and also a duty to you to keep you apprised of your case, and do the best he can to represent your interests. You should speak with your attorney again and ask him for an analysis of the case and why he thinks the City's offer is a good one. If you heartily disagree, you can get another attorney, but make sure this new attorney is not blowing smoke - that is, that he realistically sees the case in a different way and is willing to go to trial and can give you an idea of what he'll do to progress the case, and if there are reasonable risk/benefit factors (that it's not going to cost more in attorney's fees than what you might gain beyond the current settlement offer). At the least, a consultation with someone else may give you a different perspective on the settlement offer. Other verdicts may not give you an accurate view of the value of your case, so you shouldn't give it too much weight. For instance, if there was egregious misconduct involved, there may have been large punitive damages awarded by a jury, but juries are like loose cannons and you never know what will result from a jury trial. Again, your attorney must provide a reasonable analysis of the case to you - not "he will if he can". You don't state whether this is a civil rights case, slip and fall, auto collision, land dispute or what, but there is discovery, reports, evidence, etc. - all to be considered and factored into a settlement offer. Your attorney can at least make a counter-offer, with his own analysis. And if you don't accept that offer, then your attorney must convey that to the City - "my client does not feel it is fair [or whatever] because ...." He can let that hang for a further development or proceed to a mediation, or settlement conference, or trial preparation and see if the City changes its mind. If he's not willing to do at least that, then, maybe you should find yourself someone else. Keep asking him questions until you are satisfied one way or the other.

  5. #5

    Unhappy Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    Hello again,

    Sorry about not explaining everything...I was not sure what info would be needed.

    The settlement offer did not happen yet, so there is no idea on a figure. What my lawyer was expressing to me was what he feels the city will payout for the claim. He told me the settlement hearing will be in two weeks and that I need to be available by phone, incase they need to talk with me. And he said that when he is at the hearing, he will tell the judge that we are willing to settle for $ xyz. My lawyer told me to think about the amount he told me, over the weekend and let him know if I agree.

    So when I called him back and said that I don't think it's a fair price, he said that he knows best, he has a good reputation with this judge and knows what the city is willing to payout and if I don't agree with him, then I should look for another attorney!

    I replied asking him then why did he tell me in the beginning of our case and during...that if I don't like the city's offer, that he will goto bat for me and bring it to court. Instead, now your telling me that if I don't agree with the city's offer, that I should look for another lawyer and waste another 2 years! My lawyer did not want to answer that and just said he will get back to me.

    Info on the case (Possible I might explain something not legally correct, if I do...please let me know...I don't know the law that well) My case is in 'New York' and is a civil one against the city's police department for false arrest, which they dropped and let me out within 12 hours.

    Kandi6 mentioned about having an 'analysis' of my case. What should be in a 'analysis' and is this something that the lawyer MUST have done?


    Should the deposition of the police officer's be done first, before having the settlement conference?

    Thanks again for all the advice,


  6. #6

    Question Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    Hello again,

    In my last reply, I had asked...

    1. Should the deposition of the police officer's be done first, before having the settlement conference?

    And Kandi6 mentioned a few times about having an 'analysis' of my case.

    2. What should be in a 'analysis' and is this something that the lawyer MUST have done?

    Thanks in advance,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can My Lawyer Legally Drop Me?

    Settlement offers are sometimes made much less formally, and sometimes they are made over the phone. There's not always a letter, let alone a detailed analysis.

    It's not unusual for settlement negotiations to occur before discovery is complete, as discovery costs everybody time and money. If this is a settlement conference held by the court, normally a court will not schedule such a conference until discovery is complete.

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