On rare occasion it becomes necessary to terminate the attorney client relationship if the client becomes uncooperative at any stage of representation. By rule, the client may terminate the representation at any time upon verbal or written notice to the attorney. In my practice, this rarely happens. The reasons a client would choose to take this action would be a dissatisfaction with the communication, or lack thereof, with the lawyer handling the case. There could also be a personality conflict between the parties that arises over a period of time that makes the relationship strained and unproductive. The most common situation is where the lawyer prefers to terminate the relationship based on either an uncooperative client who won't return calls or emails OR a client who refuses to follow the lawyer's instructions. The latter is the most common scenario whereby the client will not, for instance, complete an alcohol or drug assessment for pre-trial or sentencing purposes. I also have a few clients who simply won't or don't understand the evidenciary issues involved in their case and will not consider alternative plea options. In other words, they fail to appreciate the strength of the evidence against them. The lawyers job has always been to put the client in the best position possible in terms of resolving their case. The best way to achieve this goal is for the attorney and client to work together, as partners. Most lawyers are able to maintain a strong working relationship with their client. However, termination of the relationship should be considered, as a last resort, under the very few circumstances listed herein.
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