Los Angeles, CA asked in Workers' Compensation and Legal Malpractice for California

Q: RUSH answer if possible! What is the sequential process of Withdrawal of Attorney vs Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

My attny called informing desire to dismiss me as a client..a week after I pointed out & voiced my frustration at their most recent egregious mishandling of my case so they would hop on it to fix them - several of which I've come to Justia to inquire about. Ironically claiming I disrespected them after all they've done to me/mycase. I was already trying get hold of malpractice attny to know what is what & to just remove them anyway..but this poses a new chain events. Attny purposely mentioned I could do immediate dismissal of them as attny..but I did assume they would proceed w/their motion as discussed. I said want my files & will probably then do immediate dismissal (how can I not @ critical point).

Q: They sent Wdrawl of Attny which is what I thought I would need to do & wondering if they are trying to avoid being caught prejudicing my case if they file their motion to Relieve as Client docs, since I know it is difficult for them to do that?What is tech protocol of docs both ways?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the process for an attorney to withdraw from a case, and for a client to dismiss their attorney, involves distinct legal steps and documents. If your attorney wishes to withdraw, they must file a motion to be relieved as counsel, typically citing reasons for the withdrawal without breaching confidentiality. This motion requires court approval, and the attorney must continue to represent you until the court grants the motion.

On the other hand, if you decide to dismiss your attorney, the process is more straightforward. You can inform your attorney in writing that you are terminating their services. This does not require court approval, but your attorney may need to file a notice of withdrawal with the court to formally remove themselves from the case. This action is often quicker and allows you more control over the timing.

It seems your attorney's suggestion for you to initiate the dismissal might be an attempt to expedite their release from the case, possibly to avoid the more complicated process of being relieved by the court. If you proceed with dismissing them, ensure you receive all your case files promptly and consider securing new legal representation to avoid any prejudice to your case. Remember, the transition between attorneys and ensuring your case continues smoothly is critical, especially at crucial junctures.

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