Can I get a new lawyer halfway through my case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I was talking to my friend, Brian Manning. He’s a former asylum officer now an asylum attorney doing great work down in Houston yesterday. And we were talking about different video ideas and questions that people have. And one question that he raised that sometimes potential clients ask him and I thought it would make a great topic for a video is can I change lawyers or can I hire a lawyer halfway through my case? Now let me begin by saying that we would much, much, much, much, much prefer to take a case from the beginning through to the end. It’s just so much easier and cleaner to take over the case at the very beginning than it is to take it over halfway through.
And the reason for that is that we have these systems built out. So we had spent so much time and energy, I can’t even tell you. Working with our software, working with our forms team, working with File Vine, which is one of the products that we use to keep track of our cases, that taking over a case midstream is not ideal. In fact, we usually look at those cases a little harder in deciding whether or not we want to take the case. And when someone is thinking about switching lawyers, then we take it with a whole big grain of salt. Now, when I was younger lawyer, I have to admit that when clients would contact me and tell me how bad their immigration lawyer was, I would always believe the client. I would always swing into action and I would bad mouth the other attorney and said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you should hire us.”
I didn’t really do that anymore. Now I’m much more objective. We as a team are much more objective. We have been on the receiving end of those complaints sometimes, and every now and then they’re legitimate, but many times they’re not. And so you have to assess the individual sitting across from you or talking to you on the phone about their situation. And then you have to look at what the lawyer has actually done to see if there’s something that the lawyer did wrong or did the lawyer do most things right. So we don’t just take it at face value when a client says that their attorney has screwed up their case or that they’re taking too long or that they aren’t getting back to them. We take a look at the entire file before we make a decision about moving forward with a client who had a prior attorney.
If we think we can help, we’ll do it. If we don’t think we can help, I tell people all the time, stay with your attorney, they’re doing a fine job. So, but of course the one thing I want to empower you to think about is that it’s always your choice. You know the client is always in control. You should not be scared of your lawyer. You should not be scared about firing your lawyer. If someone wants to fire me, they should do it. It’s your right. You’re entitled to get your entire file back. You’re entitled to get your file back rather quickly. Lawyers should not be trying to hold on to your files or not giving you back your property, your documents, and those kinds of things. They have an obligation, an ethical obligation to do you no harm.
So you do have the right to hire an attorney through, you do have the right to change attorneys halfway through. But again, it’s much better to get started the right way from the beginning. Not only do lawyers sometimes make mistakes in the way they handle the case ahead of us, many times the clients do too. So in both scenarios, where somebody files on their own or when someone files with another attorney, especially an attorney who doesn’t know what they’re doing, it can really cause a lot of havoc and really lead to a lot of problems for the client.
So if you have questions about this, if you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer halfway through, we’re at least willing to talk to you about it. Again, we’re not always thrilled about it, but we’re happy to help if we think that we can. We think we bring a lot of value in that we could help and then we would be willing to do so. If you have questions, give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, it’s called Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we ask that you please do two things. Number one, share it out on social, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever, and also be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.