I have previously posted about changing lawyers. In the event your relationship with your lawyer is hopelessly broken, you can fire her if you want to. But, as with most things, it can be a little complicated.
You Did Hire A Lawyer, Right?
First, let's hope you hired an actual lawyer. Social Security, for unfathomable reasons, will let anyone represent people for disability. If you have an actual lawyer, she is subject to ethical rules pertaining to ending representation. If your representative was a plumber before deciding to represent people before Social Security, you have a lot less protection.
You Can Always Fire Your Lawyer
First things first: you can always fire your lawyer. She cannot force you to stay. To dismiss your
lawyer, write to her to say you no longer want her services. A lawyer should immediately withdraw from your case. She will also notify Social Security of your decision. You can also inform Social Security that you have fired your lawyer. Since Social Security so often fails to take notice of what people tell them, letting them know you have fired your lawyer is probably a good idea.
A lawyer is obligated to return all materials, such as medical records, to you. She cannot keep these until you pay any outstanding costs. To do so is an ethical violation. As for your friend, the former plumber, good luck getting anything back.
Firing Your Lawyer Is Only The Half Of It
Now for the tricky part. Your lawyer should get out of your case as soon as you tell her to. But, she can refuse to waive her right to get paid in your case. That seems fair. But, if your former
lawyer does not waive her right to collect a fee in your case, you may find it hard to hire a new lawyer. This is because if more than one lawyer wants to collect a fee, Social Security will not pay either one directly. Rather, both lawyers have to submit a so-called fee petition. Preparing and filing a fee petition is time consuming. It also means that payment is going to be delayed for months, or even years. I dislike fee petition cases. Most lawyers do.
The Need To File A Fee Petition Could Mean No Good Lawyer Wants Your Case
When you approach a lawyer to replace the one you fired, she will be thinking two things: 1) this guy already fired one lawyer, and might be more trouble than he is worth and 2)I am going to
have to do much more work to get paid and I might not see my fee for years.
If your case is marginal or even a bit complicated, a lawyer in these circumstances might decide to pass.
So, to sum up: go ahead and fire your lawyer if you want to. But, keep in mind two things: 1) this will not speed up your case and 2) you might struggle to find a competent lawyer to take your case.