Can an attorney drop a client in the middle of a case for no reason?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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Can an attorney drop a client in the middle of a case for no reason?

I have an attorney that has been handling my divorce for a little over a year and a half. During my last court appearance my attorney did not show nor call me. I reached out to her and only spoke to her legal assistant. I voiced my concerns that I was the customer and client and they should have called me instead I waited for over an hour in the courtroom halls. It has been 5 days and still no word from my attorney. I am at a loss for words and can’t understand why I am being treated this way. What actions can I take?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Family Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the attorney is going to withdraw from your case as your attorney of record, the attorney should notify you.  Not showing up for a hearing and/or abandoning a client can result in discipline by the State Bar.  The attorney can also be subject to sanctions (fines) from the court for not showing up for a hearing.  You might want to contact the State Bar.

If you retain another attorney, your former attorney will need to sign a substitution of attorney form in order for the new attorney to become your attorney of record.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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