When Can a Lawyer Fire a Client?

When an attorney takes on a client to handle a case, they have a legal obligation to represent that client to the best of their abilities. Naturally, a client can dismiss an attorney at any time for any reason. A lawyer cannot just release a client that easily. There are rules of professional conduct at play.

When an Attorney Can Withdraw

There are several situations in which an attorney can legally withdraw their representation. Some of the parameters for firing your client are: 

  • Permissive Withdrawal – An attorney can file a motion to withdraw to the court under circumstances such as a client not paying or communicating. If the court approvals, the attorney can fire the client.
  • Mandatory Withdrawal – There are situations in which an attorney must withdraw by the rules of professional conduct. One of these is if the client desires to end the relationship. If the attorney demonstrates a physical or mental health condition that impairs their ability to competently represent their client, withdrawal is mandatory.
  • Other Reasons for Withdrawal – An attorney can file a motion to withdraw if they are unable to come to an agreement on legal strategy with the client or there is a serious personality clash. A lawyer can also withdraw if the client is involved in criminal activity.

When an attorney takes on a client’s case, they are taking on a commitment and must represent the client. There are, however, circumstances, in which a lawyer may withdraw their services.