What Happens After a Motion to Dismiss Counsel?


An attorney-client relationship is typically one that is based heavily on trust. In cases where the court has received motion to dismiss counsel, the court must thoroughly understand the underlying causes. This is typically followed by a series of standard procedures which determine whether or not the attorney will be dismissed and the impact the dismissal will have on the case.

Formal Hearing Scheduled

  • When the court who is overseeing a current legal matter receives motion from one or both sides to dismiss counsel, a formal hearing must be held to determine and document the causes for dismissal. Evidence is submitted by the petitioning party, documenting their reasons for the proposed dismissal. These arguments vary and may include accusations that the client is not being properly represented, that the counsel-in-question should be removed due to personal conflicts or the attorney acted inappropriately during the course of representation. After hearing the arguments on both sides, the judge in the matter then makes a determination as to whether counsel should or should not be dismissed.

Financial Matters Settled

  • If it has been determined by the court that the attorney in question should be dismissed from the case, a separate hearing is sometimes heard to settle financial matters relating to their fee. Typically, an attorney has the right to be paid for their services up to the point of dismissal. However, if it can be proven that the attorney failed to provide proper representation or that the attorney acted improperly, the client may request and receive a refund of the attorneys fees paid up to that point.

Additional Remedies

  • Depending on the cause for attorney's dismissal, the client may have additional remedies at their disposal. This may include filing a formal complaint with the bar association in the state in which your attorney practices or suing your former attorney for damages as a result of improper representation. In either case, it is important to attach a certified copy of the order for dismissal that was granted in the matter to document your case.

New Counsel

  • Once a formal hearing has occurred and counsel has been dismissed, the client may request that new counsel be appointed to represent them in the matter. Unless it can be shown by opposing counsel that the suggested replacement would cause additional conflict, the motion is typically granted and the new counsel takes over as the client's legal advocate. The court will then usually order dismissed counsel to turn over any documents relating to the case thus far.


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