A potential client called me yesterday to ask me if it was normal or appropriate for people to switch attorneys in the middle of their case. I informed him that in Illinois, clients do have the right to obtain different attorneys throughout their case but there is a proper procedure that must be followed and the Judge will have to approve it.
To substitute attorneys during an already active case, the attorney substituting in will need to draft a motion and an Order, have the client and the previous attorney sign it, file it with the court and obtain a court date to present the motion to the Judge. Judges usually always approve a substitution of attorneys unless they are extremely close to a hearing or trial date and the new counsel would cause some prejudice to the court or the parties in the case.
There are many reasons why people may want to switch attorneys during an already active case; personalities don’t match, the proximity of the client to the attorney’s office or to the court house, they were personally referred to someone or merely just because they feel it is in their best interest. Whatever the reason may be, people have a right to decide who they want representing them but should be aware that the attorney substituting in some additional time to get up to speed on the case.
Please refer to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 13 for additional information.