Lawyers can refuse to take cases for many reasons, and each legal situation varies based on the details of the case. However, some of the most common reasons that lawyers can refuse to take a case are due to conflicts of interest or ethical concerns. This article outlines why these are often valid reasons to turn down clients, as well as what you can do if you feel your lawyer is not acting ethically in their decision-making process.
Reasons Why A Lawyer Can Turn Down A Case
The answer is generally yes, but there are several reasons why lawyers can turn down cases. Maybe you’re dealing with an attorney who has much less experience than yours, which could make it hard for him or her to present your case well in court.
Maybe he or she simply feels that his or her client base would be better served by handling another type of case, like car accidents instead of divorces. There are also times when insurance companies ask an attorney not to take on a particular client because they do not want them filing a suit against them. While turning down a client may seem heartless, it is usually more about practicality and self-preservation than a personal rejection of you as a person.
Insurance companies pay out a great deal of money every year in settlement or through trial, so it’s no surprise that they have an interest in avoiding legal action. They may ask your attorney not to represent you if they believe that you do not have strong enough evidence for your case.
This is common if you are dealing with things like dog bites or slip and fall accidents, as those cases can be difficult to prove legally. Insurance companies will also generally try their best to discredit your claims and downplay how much money you think you should receive for pain and suffering, which means having an experienced lawyer on your side is essential.
Ethical Rules Covering Attorney’s Duties Regarding Cases
An attorney must act competently, diligently, and in good faith when representing a client. Moreover, in all matters relating to the representation of clients, an attorney should assist his or her client by applicable law.
An attorney should also maintain complete confidentiality regarding the information relating to the representation of clients except so far as may be required by applicable law or ethical standards. According to American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rule 1.2(d), an attorney’s fee shall be reasonable and may include only those fees permitted by law.
An attorney may generally accept or decline representation of any client or class of clients, but should only do so if their representation will not be adversely affected. It is considered unethical for an attorney to accept the representation of a client where there is a conflict of interest and therefore it may affect his/her ability and performance as an attorney.
There are exceptions such as situations where both clients would like for you to represent them even though there may be conflict. It is also considered unethical for an attorney to refer a client with known criminal intent, but on occasion, they must report certain crimes such as felonies (depending on local laws). In such cases, you must first inform your client that their confidential information may need to be revealed to follow legal requirements.
Are You At Risk For Being Refused Service By Your Lawyer?
Yes. Anytime you need legal services, you are at risk of being refused service. Of course, there are some exceptions. If you are in immediate need of an attorney, for example, due to an arrest or civil suit against you, then you have no reason to worry about being refused service by your lawyer because any lawyer worth his salt will see your immediate need and pick up your case without question.
But what if it’s not so urgent? What if you have time on your side and just want advice from an attorney before deciding whether or not to press charges or file suit against someone else? Do lawyers still have that right? Yes, lawyers do have that right and they can turn down any potential client if they feel that they cannot represent them in good faith. For example, lawyers in California are prohibited from practicing in certain areas of law and would therefore be unable to accept your business in that area.
If you’re asking them for help with an immigration matter, but only because you want advice about whether or not to claim political asylum so you can get better job offers from other countries, then there is no way they would take your case. That’s not what immigration laws are for and so even though your request is within their area of practice, it’s still outside their area of expertise and they would refuse service to you on principle alone.
Do Lawyers Have To Accept Every Case?
The short answer is no. But, there are some exceptions. For example, if you’re in financial straits and need an attorney to represent you, they might have an ethical obligation to provide representation even if it means taking on a matter that other lawyers may decline due to lack of resources or conflict of interest concerns. However, that doesn’t mean that all lawyers are required by law to do so.
The fact is unless you are paying for legal services out-of-pocket—and not through an insurance company—you can be turned away without legal recourse. So while attorneys can turn down your case based on their ethics or business practices, they cannot do so based solely on their ability (or inability) to pay for your services.
There are no rules that require attorneys to take on every case brought before them. However, if you are represented by counsel through an insurance company or legal service provider, you can be refused representation if your chosen attorney can’t legally represent you in court.
For example, there may be certain conflicts of interest present in your situation—such as if two clients have similar interests but different outcomes—that make it impossible for your chosen lawyer to represent both parties ethically. Additionally, some attorneys may simply have reached their maximum capacity for cases without additional help from other professionals or staff members. If a lawyer is aware of a conflict of interest, he or she may decline to accept a new client’s case. Such conflicts can have many sources: a prior professional or personal relationship with one of the parties, close association with an existing client whose interests might be harmed by representing another party in opposition, and so on. Lawyers are governed by specific rules about avoiding conflicts of interest.