If you change law firms during the course of your legal matter, you will want to defer legal fees from the first law firm.
Both law firms may charge you legal fees. Usually, the first lawyer will not release their file to your newly appointed law firm until you have paid the former lawyer’s legal bill.
However, if your first lawyer has taken your legal matter on a ‘no win ‐ no fee’ basis, there is an alternative option.
Usually the firm will release your file to the second firm upon being provided with a written irrevocable authority signed by you.
This authority directs the second firm, to pay your former lawyer’s fees from the court awarded or settlement sum once the matter is finalised.
No win – no fee plaintiff personal injury law firms will usually agree to this, provided you have a good claim. Once a case is settled or the court awards you a compensation, the law firm acting for you receives that money from the solicitors for the insurer.
The money is placed in your lawyer’s trust account, and they repay the first law firm pursuant to your written authority. They must do this before they are allowed to transfer money in satisfaction of their own legal fees. If not, they risk getting struck off from the role of lawyers entitled to practice law.
Not all firms will agree to this arrangement; so carefully check your costs agreement (and speak to your lawyer, if possible) before changing firms. You don’t want to be paying the first law firm’s bill before your case is concluded if you can help it.
It is important that you know exactly what will happen if you change firms.
If your case involves litigation, and court proceedings have commenced, your new law firm will need to ensure that they notify the Court of the change. Obviously, the solicitors representing the other party or parties, also need to be notified by your new law firm of the change of representation.