Attorney termination letter 2022 (guide + Free samples)

This post covers an Attorney termination letter 

When I was thinking about how to make this post useful to you, I was so surprised to see that there are a loooot of questions surrounding this topic.

Just to mention a few

  • How do you write a letter of dismissal for a lawyer?
  • What is an attorney termination letter?
  • How do you tell a lawyer you no longer need their services?
  • How do you write a letter to terminate an attorney?
  • etc.

Though those questions appear to be plentiful, they all seek to determine how a person can end his or her attorney-client relationship, to keep it casual, those questions seek to find out how someone can fire his/ her attorney.

Initially, I intended to simply give you samples of attorney termination letters and go, but after discovering your curiosity about this topic, I have changed my mind and decided to give you a comprehensive guide on the following;

  • Can you fire an attorney? if yes how can you do it?
  • What is an Attorney termination letter?
  • When should you fire your attorney?
  • Things to Consider Before Firing Your Attorney
  • How do you write an effective Attorney termination letter?
  • Attorney termination letter sample
  • What follows after firing your attorney?

let’s get started

Can you fire an attorney?

Firing an attorney may appear strange and frightening especially when it is your first attempt.

But when the time comes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway, because it is your right to fire your attorney whenever you feel that he isn’t fulfilling his duties as expected.

Now you have found that it is your right to fire an attorney.

The interesting part is how you can do it.

In general, an attorney-client relationship is contractual, so the best way to end this type of relationship is to write a notice/letter of termination, which we will refer to as an ‘Attorney termination letter’ throughout this post.

What is an Attorney termination letter?

An attorney termination letter is a brief statement of facts written by a client to his attorney to terminate their attorney-client relationship.

This letter informs the attorney that he or she has been terminated from your engagement and explains the reasons for his or her termination.

The following section covers the reasons that may lead to terminating your lawyer ( i know you have your reasons in your mind, but the following part will expand your horizon, so think twice before skipping it). 

When and why should you fire your attorney?

I’ve heard a number of complaints from people who want to fire their attorney, but deciding when and how to end an attorney-client relationship is a personal decision

Individual reasons for terminating an attorney may differ, but some common reasons for an attorney’s early termination include:

  • when your attorney clearly violated one of the ethical rules outlined in the rules of professional conduct adopted by your state.
  • Incompetence.
  • Failure to follow your instructions.
  • Failure to exercise due diligence.
  • Poor communication and feedback
  • Unreasonable fees and expenses
  • Lack of confidentiality
  • Lack of experience to deal with your matter
  • lack of dedication and carelessness
  • Unreasonable delays
  •  etc.

Things to Consider Before Firing Your Attorney

Before officially terminating your attorney, it is critical that you consider all of your options and assess the reasons for doing so.

Firing your attorney should be taken as a last resort

Here are some concerns to think about before firing your attorney;

  • Is your attorney aware of the underlying issues? A polite conversation or a complaint or warning letter to your lawyer can sometimes resolve the issues.
  • What does your engagement agreement say on how and when you can terminate your relationship?
  • The impact of firing the attorney on your case
  • Is court permission necessary?
  •  Any termination fees?
  • Do you have an alternative attorney who can effectively take over?

If you are unable to resolve the issue after speaking with your attorney but still want to throw your last coin, consider contacting your local state bar association.

Most state bar associations provide free services to assist clients in resolving disputes with their attorneys.

Now you have done everything, and you firmly believe that the only option left is to start composing the termination letter, the following section, guide you on how you can do it effectively.

How to write an Attorney termination letter

An Attorney termination letter is written in business letter format. Begin your letter with your address and contact information, followed by a date and the attorney’s address, greet the attorney, and begin your letter by indicating that you are writing to terminate your relationship and explain why. Sign off with “Sincerely,” followed by your signature and name.

REMEMBER! the primary purpose of your termination letter is to notify the attorney that he or she has been terminated from your engagement and why he is terminated

So, in order to write an effective termination letter, do the following;

  • Include your name and contact information
  • Include the date of the letter
  • Include the attorney’s address
  • Clearly states that you are writing to terminate him
  • Explain the reasons for termination, and where necessary provide relevant incidents
  • Clearly specify the things that the attorney is supposed to do after termination eg. to send a copy of the case file.
  • Don’t forget to request an itemized invoice
  • Be simple and straightforward
  • Maintain a professional tone
  • Be honest

another useful tip

  • Send the letter by certified mail with the return receipt requested

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Attorney termination letter format

The following is the format for your Attorney termination letter:

  • Your Address
  • Date
  • Attorney’s address
  • Subject line
  • Salutation
  • [opening paragraph]- A statement that you are writing to terminate your relationship
  • [body paragraphs]- reasons for termination
  • [closing paragraphs] – what you want the attorney to do- send a copy of the case file, send the final bill, etc.
  • Sincerely
  • name and signature

Attorney termination letter sample

The following is a sample letter terminating attorney-client relationship

Bob King
1oo, Home drive
Garden, FL 12345
198-111-2222
bobking@email.com

January 12, 20…

James Norman Esq.
ABC legal PLLC
4000 Home Blvd., Suite 111-S
Garden, FL, 12356

Re: Termination of our representation agreement 

Dear Mr. Norman

After my efforts to resolve the issues proved futile, I’m writing to officially inform you that I’ve decided to terminate our current representation agreement immediately and I have already found another attorney to take over. Please refrain from taking any further action on my behalf.

I am terminating our agreement because of your incompetence and carelessness. Our agreement was very clear that you have to update me on my case status every week and I expected that you will hand my matter with due diligence and care but to my surprise, you have turned the tables as I’ve been calling your office for three months and have received no updates on the status of my case.

Please send me a copy of my entire case file, as well as an itemized invoice reflecting all fees, including amounts already charged and any amounts you claim, are still owed to my above-mentioned address within 7 days of receiving this letter.

Sincerely

[signature]

Bob King

What follows after firing your attorney?

The following is what you should do after firing your attorney

File a “motion for continuance

If you fire your attorney right before a hearing or trial, you’ll almost certainly need to file a “motion for continuance.”

A motion for continuance requests that the judge postpone the court hearing or trial date so that you can hire a new attorney.

The judge is not required to grant your motion. If the judge rejects your motion, you must represent yourself at the hearing or trial.

Seeking New Representation

You should hire a new attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you retain all of your rights in your specific case and that you are well represented at all stages.

You should communicate with your new attorney about any issues you had with your previous counsel so that they can prioritize your needs.

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion