Switching Counsel: A Good Idea or Not?

_DSC4179 - Version 2How important is it to stick with the lawyer you originally retained? Not an easy question to answer, but clearly, changes in representation can be detrimental to a litigant.

There are, of course, cases where a change is beneficial. For example, where a client and a lawyer’s personalities clash continually, that may signal a needed change. However, what often happens in family law cases is that counsel will bring an application on behalf of a client with results that are less than expected, leading the client to blame the lawyer for the disappointing result.

If the result is because of a lack of preparation on the lawyer’s part, the client may consider that a change is necessary, but often a disappointing result is because the facts of the case do not support the outcome sought by counsel. If that is the case, clients should be advised in writing of the chances of success.

Sometimes a less than stellar result is because of a particular judge. Experienced counsel get to know a judge’s attitude toward a particular type of argument or client and will avoid that judge when arguing certain cases, although it is not always easy to do so.

In a recent case in California ex-Spice Girl, X Factor and America’s Got Talent coach, Mel B’s divorce from Stephen Belafonte has garnered salacious headlines, but the latest media coverage concerns her switching counsel just before her trial scheduled to commence on November 6.

The reason for her change in counsel is unknown, but media reports indicate that she abruptly walked out of her recent deposition and was later ordered by a judge to reappear and continue that discovery process.

While the trial has previously been adjourned it is expected that her new counsel will try to obtain a further delay of the trial. It has been reported that the 42-year-old has already spent a million dollars in the seven months since her divorce litigation began. A truly ugly case that may well get worse….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s