Finding that perfect attorney for your criminal defense in West Virginia can be difficult. You may search through the yellow pages, visit the West Virginia Bar Association for referrals, and talk to many friends and family to get their opinion. After interviewing several potential attorneys, you finally settle on one…but then, after working with them for a few weeks, you realize it’s not working out. What can you do when you’re stuck with a bad lawyer? How do you go about firing your legal representation?
You should have very carefully read your contract before you hired the lawyer, but just in case you didn’t, now is the time to very carefully read over all of the fine print. The contract should spell out exactly how you and your lawyer can end your working relationship. If it doesn’t, you may need to contact the bar association. Also, be sure to look for any information concerning your lawyer’s rights even after you and they part ways. One example, while not an issue in a criminal case, is that some lawyers specifically write into contracts that they are entitled to some of the monetary award from a case.
Things can move quite quickly in a criminal case, and you don’t want to go several months without legal representation, even if nothing is scheduled for your case in that time. You never know when something will change. Therefore, if you’re planning on firing your lawyer, it’s a very good idea to have another one ready to step in and advise you on all legal matters. You don’t want to be left without representation if you can help it.
If your lawyer is really bad, or if you feel like he or she has done something unethical or has broken your trust, you can file a complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. This department of the West Virginia State Bar can assist you with dealing with a lawyer who has not followed the most moral of practices. If the counsel decides your attorney may have violated ethical standards, they will have you go ahead and file a formal complaint. From there, the office will begin an investigation. In the meantime, they will assist you with finding a new lawyer to handle your case.