If you can, your goal should be to only have one lawyer on the case. I say that for no other reason than a bad lawyer can cause you problems, so you want to have a good one from the get go. Sometimes there are communication issues or other hiccups. If that happens you should try and work things out by asking for a meeting.
On the other hand, it does not cost you a penny to switch law firms and if you have a bad one – they don’t return calls, they yell at you, they do nothing to help you, they keep switching the attorney who is handling your case, they lie to you – then you should change as typically those problems don’t get better.
This time of year we see a lot of problems as many attorneys use the summer as a break and neglect their clients as a result. I’m not saying a lawyer shouldn’t take a vacation. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t suffer as a result, especially if they are going out of the country. There needs to be a reasonable backup plan. This is why most of the lawyers in our state wide network have multiple attorneys at their firm.
Ultimately if you switch or not is up to you. You don’t have to pay your existing firm anything to leave them no matter what the contract they made you sign says. Total lawyer fees also can’t exceed 20% no matter how many times you switch (although if you are going to switch, make sure the second lawyer is the right choice, you don’t want to have to seek out a third).
If you are going to switch though, treat it like a band-aid and rip it off quickly. I talked to one woman about six times in seven months on the problems she was having with her current lawyer. She knew she made a terrible decision in choosing them and they treated her awful. Her legal problems kept getting worse and worse and we had a lawyer who wanted to take her case over and thought he could straighten things out with a little work.
For some reason this caller felt bad about possibly switching which is why she hemmed and hawed so much. Her delay did three things: 1. It made the minor problems in her case worse. 2. It made her health worse because nobody was going to court for her to get her the medical care she needs. 3. It sent a message to her law firm that it’s OK to treat her and others like garbage.
Again, I hope you never have to switch firms, but it does happen many times every single day with other injured Illinois workers. Do your research, talk to new firms and then make a decision one way or the other. You have to look out for you and this is one of the best ways to do it.