What to do if the court forced me to get a new attorney due to a conflict of interest butI can’t afford more legal fees?

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What to do if the court forced me to get a new attorney due to a conflict of interest butI can’t afford more legal fees?

I am now going through my second attorney. I had the same attorney as my ex and I was required to get a substitute lawyer. My case is almost over. I am now required to get a second attorney since its a conflict of interest. My attorney told me that the new attorney wants an extra $1500 bucks. I was completely paid off with my other attorney. Is there anything that I can do since its not my fault that I had to change attorneys? I don’t have the extra money.

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would just like to add that since money is an issue, see if you qualify for representation by legal aid or see if they can recommend someone to help you.  Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where the arrest took place; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Additionally, contact the local Bar Association in the county where the proceedings are being held; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances.

Note:  I assume that you have already condisered applying for a Public Defender.  If not, then do so.  Again however, your must be income eligible for such representation.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It may not have been your fault, but if there was a conflict of interest, the attorney ethically and legally could not represent you. Unfortunately, when you switch attorneys, you will incur higher total costs since the new lawyer will need to be compensated, will spend time getting up to speed on the case, etc. You can try to shop for a less expensive lawyer--lawyers do vary greatly in what they charge--or you could make sure the situation and the additional costs are presented to the court and possibly the court will adjust the distribution of assets to take into account the additional costs; or, while it's not recommended, you could if all else fails represent youself pro se. Good luck.


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