Professionalism When a Criminal Client Changes Lawyers (Practice Points)

Chuck Strain offers practical advice for successor counsel hired when a client decides to leave his original lawyer. Phone the original lawyer immediately – even before signing on with the client. Be sensitive to the original lawyer’s feelings, and ask for counsel’s insight about the case and client. Perform all the legwork involved in the transition, and offer to pick up or copy useful parts of the file. Explain to the client that the original lawyer remains counsel of record – with all attendant duties to the client and the court undiminished – until the substitution entry is signed.