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The Champion

July 2012 , Page 45 

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Professionalism When a Criminal Client Changes Lawyers (Practice Points)

By Chuck Strain

Read more Practice Points columns.

All you really need to know: Take the high road, communicate, read the rules, and be nice!

Lawyer-Hopping Clients

Beware the lawyer-hopping client. His desire to switch horses may be for all the wrong reasons. A desperate client will employ wishful thinking to grasp at any straw of good news. A lawyer who makes optimistic predictions to entice the client to switch counsel is dishonest, despicable, and not providing good client service.

Poisoning the Well

Successor counsel should not bad-mouth the original lawyer, whether public defender or not. Nothing could be less collegial or less professional. Successor counsel should not even do it in subtle ways, such as by rolling the eyes or by asking, “Did she really tell you that?”

Aspirational good behavior in these situations is promulgated by state and local bar associations across the country. Many of these professionalism, civility, and courtesy creeds and codes are collected in an online American Bar Association index.1 

None of these formula

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