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Attorney of Record

Definition - What does Attorney of Record mean?

The attorney of record is the lawyer who is representing an individual or business entity in a legal suit and will be the representative for the party for all of the legal court proceedings.

The duties of the attorney of record can include appearing in court for their client, signing all of the necessary legal documents, and maintaining responsibility for the case on the part of their client.

After the attorney of record has been designated by the court or hired by an individual, they are legally responsible for providing competent legal counsel. They will remain the attorney of record until the conclusion of the case or they are granted leave by the court to withdraw from the case.

Can the attorney of record remove themselves from their position?

Withdrawing from a case is a formal process for the attorney of record and must be done in accordance with the rules outlined for each jurisdiction, with the hope this will afford the client with the most protection possible.

The attorney of record generally can ask the court for permission to terminate their position by filing a motion. Prior to this request, however, they must notify all necessary parties of their motion. The removal cannot be done prejudicially against their client, and they cannot simply abandon their client, even if they decide to send another lawyer to perform their legal duties.

The attorney of record must not only notify their client and all necessary parties of their withdrawal request, they also must present information about why they are requesting the withdrawal and provide all of the necessary papers and information for the client to continue with their claim. Additionally, all withdrawal requests must be made according to time frames established by the jurisdiction.

Can I fire my attorney?

Clients have the legal right to fire their attorney for a variety of reasons. For example, if you do not believe your lawyer is providing competent representation or they do not have the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary to handle your case, you may be able to find better counsel.

Unfortunately, discharging or substituting attorneys in the midst of ongoing litigation can be a bit complicated. Attorneys are also required to “act diligently,” which means they may continue to work on your claim even after they understand you have the desire to discharge them but the court has not formally relieved them from further obligation and a new lawyer has not been hired. If this does occur, you may incur some attorney’s fees for work the attorney must complete until they are replaced.

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