Substitution of Attorney: Meaning, Procedures and FAQs

Substitution of Attorney

You are free to select a different counsel if you are dissatisfied with the representation you are receiving in court. It’s a simple procedure, but the court must approve it when you submit substitute attorney paperwork. Anytime you want to switch lawyers, there shouldn’t be any delays in your case. Are you curious about the procedures for the substitution of attorney form and its effects? Explore the details with our complete guide’s striking examples and illustrations.

What Is a Substitution of Attorney?

A substitution of attorney form is a legal document that allows a client to appoint a new attorney, ensuring seamless representation. A substitution of attorney happens when, after the case has started, the attorney of record is altered. A civil or criminal court may hear a case involving this substitution. Though, on rare occasions, the lawyer himself may ask to be removed from the case and replaced, it usually happens at the client’s request.

Typically, a person retains legal counsel when filing a lawsuit. Following the conditions of the attorney-client relationship, that lawyer is authorized to represent the plaintiff in court. This implies that he is obligated to act in his client’s best interests and that he is authorized to submit pleadings, motions, and other court documents on the plaintiff’s behalf.

The Reasons for Attorney Substitution

If you and your lawyer disagree on crucial aspects of the case, such as how it should be handled regarding your testimony, the defense, or the witnesses, you might want to replace your counsel.

You may require a substitute attorney form if you’ve decided to represent yourself in court or appear pro se, but in other places, you’ll require a different document. If an attorney or partnership changes names while becoming a professional corporation, limited liability company, or dissolving from such a position, a replacement of the attorney form can also be necessary.

While a client can terminate an attorney at any time, attorneys must abide by ethical and occasionally legal obligations that allow them to withdraw by assigning a new counsel under certain conditions. These circumstances could include the client pressuring the lawyer to take an illegal action, the lawyer discovering that the client has used his services to further an illegal goal, the client and lawyer not getting along or not cooperating, or the client refusing to pay the lawyer.

If another lawyer in the firm is representing a co-defendant in the case, for example, and the attorney has a conflict of interest that prevents him from continuing to represent the client, he may request a substitution.

Substitution of Attorney Form

A Notice of Substitution of Attorney, a Notice of Substitution of Counsel, a Notice of Withdrawal and Substitution, or simply a Substitution of Attorney is another name for the substitution of attorney form, which is typically one page long. The text provides blank spaces for indicating case numbers, parties involved, and the current and new attorneys. There might also be sections with each attorney’s contact information.

Process for Substitution of Attorney

In contrast to the customary requirement that both attorneys sign the document, the new attorney must sign it. The opposing counsel, replacement counsel, and the party without legal representation must all get copies of the notice, which must also be filed with the court clerk. The designated judge reviews it and signs the paperwork once she authorizes the substitute or issues an order for it.

To shield the client from the potential harm that an impending court hearing could bring, the current attorney should, before resigning from the case, give the client enough notice to find another attorney, provide the client with all pertinent documents, and perhaps even get a continuance.

Certain states, including Washington, prohibit substituting a court-appointed attorney without a court order. The withdrawing attorney’s client must receive notice of the motion, along with the date and location of the hearing.

Substitution within the Firm

Some states may demand the filing of an alternative form and the appointment of another attorney from the same firm to assume the client’s representation when one lawyer departs the firm and another withdraws as counsel. In New Jersey, for instance, a Notice of Substitution of Attorney Within the Firm signed by the newly appointed attorney from the same firm and the attorney who is quitting to represent the party must be filed with the court clerk.

Ways to Dismiss an Attorney

To resolve a legal issue, you might need the assistance of an attorney because legal issues can get complex. However, there are situations when you might not be satisfied with the lawyer you have chosen to represent you. Although you have the freedom to terminate your attorney at any moment, you should not take this decision lightly. If you choose to fire a lawyer, you should do it the right way. In a situation where switching counsel won’t materially harm your case, you should do so.

Step 1

Inform the lawyer that you wish to end your engagement with them by giving them a call. Notify the attorney that you would like him to stop representing you.

Step 2

Express your decision to remove the lawyer from your case in writing by sending a registered Don’t get too specific about the reasons behind the employee’s termination. or certified letter. Indicate when the termination will take effect.

Step 3

Ask the attorney to produce the case files. The lawyer may forward these files to you or another lawyer.


In law, what does substituted mean?

Substitution is the act of replacing something or someone with another.

A power of attorney can be overridden by whom?

The person who gave a power of attorney (POA) can revoke it. If the principal is unable to make decisions independently, a loved one or guardian can override a POA.

What does the law indicate about substitution?

Substitution of parties happens when one party chooses to take the place of another who is ill or dead. If the client fires the first attorney, another attorney may replace the attorney of record in the matter.

In contract law, what does substitute mean?

A substitution agreement is a contract that specifies that one party will take the other’s place should the other party be unable to fulfill their end of the bargain.


You are free to choose a different attorney, fire your current one, or keep your current one. Your lawyer has the right to charge you for both their time and the work their team completed on the case if you fire them. Upon request, the lawyer ought to furnish you with a breakdown of the fees and an explanation of the charges. As soon as the client-attorney relationship ends, attorneys must reimburse any remaining costs. This scenario would not occur unless a “flat fee arrangement” is in place, ensuring immediate payment upon lawyer retention.
Fair fees are also a requirement of ethics for lawyers. Attorneys who submit false invoices, inflate their fees, or neglect their professional obligations risk sanctions. If you are unable to resolve the conflict amicably with the attorney directly, you can file a complaint with the California Bar Association and ask for a mandatory fee negotiation.

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