I try not to take a case from another lawyer. I think it is professional courtesy, unless the lawyer is a moron. A client came to me about two months ago and wanted to switch lawyers. His lawyer (the partner) is very good and a friend of mine. I told him no, but he insisted because the lawyer was passing him off to a member of their team and he had no confidence in the associate. I asked why, and he explained the associate had done no work on the case, had not interviewed the driver of the vehicle, and had not subpoenaed the driver. I sent the client back to the partner to tell him this was unacceptable and that he hired him and expected him to represent him. The partner told him he was too busy to handle the case.
Now the law is clear. If you hire a lawyer in a firm you are entitled to the lawyer you hired, and if he is another court, you get a postponement. The partner was not interested in handling the case and said it had to be the associate. Under these circumstances, I entered my appearance, postponed the case, interviewed the driver, subpoenaed the driver, and had him in court today. I allowed the prosecutor to interview him and then to talk to my client to verify what I had told him about how the mistake was made about who was driving. The prosecutor agreed, he could not win the case and dismissed it this morning. The other law firm did not offer a refund to the client, but they did not earn a penny of the fee. Appearing in court and requesting a jury trial, and then doing nothing to prepare for the jury trial is ridiculous and shameful. When the partner practiced alone, he would have postponed the case to handle the previously scheduled matter that had priority. The prosecutor’s parting words to my client was that he got screwed because he should not have paid two lawyers to do the job that one competent lawyer should have done. A legal team is as strong as its weakest link, and as I commented yesterday, this is the second time in the last few weeks that I have witnessed this injustice done to an accused. Disgraceful.