Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Attorney-shopping Clients

Should you take a client who is searching for their second, third or fourth attorney for their pending family law case? It’s best to be very selective. Inquire in detail about problems the client had with the former attorney so you’re confident you can offer something more or different; otherwise you too may disappoint the client. If you agree with the former attorney’s approach, or can see that the client’s dissatisfaction is due to misunderstanding why the former attorney did certain things, take the time to explain.  I encourage such clients to try again with the former attorney, both to save the expense of starting over and out of respect for professional colleagues. I am no more magician than any other attorney.

If you do agree to be a subsequent attorney, explain what you will try to do in the representation and be sure to follow through with the plan. Encourage the client to deal with the former attorney directly on any fee disputes, complaints, etc., but make it very clear that you will not get sidetracked into those issues. Focus on the case for which you are retained.

Deborah N. Dewalt 

Dewalt Law Office




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