Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 1:16 PM
You can hire/fire a lawyer as you wish; however, in Michigan all personal injury attorneys must have a written contract with their client. The contract will control as to what entitlement the attorney has to a portion of the settlement, so you should read the contract to determine what you would owe the attorney from the settlement. If the contract is silent on this point (which is doubtful that it would be), then Michigan law will allow the attorney to be reimbursed for all costs advanced, as well as for a fee based on the work done, the settlement achieved, etc. So if what you are really saying is that you want to cut the attorney out of the picture by firing him, it is unlikely you can accomplish that. But if what you are saying is that you want to limit the attorneys fee from a contingent % of the settlement due to him not doing much work on the case, then you may be able to do that - but an easier way to do it vs. fighting the attorney in court, is to sit down and talk with the attorney and see if he will reduce his fee to be more commensurate with the amount of work he put into the matter. Of course, if you were unable to obtain a settlement on your own, without the help of the attorney, then the attorney will have a good argument for why his work was what got you the settlement and why his contract fee is reasonable based on the result achieved. Also understand the theory of a contingent fee is that the attorney takes the risk of not being paid for his work if there is no settlement and in the end things tend to balance out in that the attorney has some cases where they get no fee, or a very small fee based on the amount of work done, so there are some cases (maybe like yours) wherein the attorney gets a seemingly large fee based on the amount of work done, but all that really does is balances things out as to the "losers" he's worked on (I know that may not give you any solace, but it's how the law/judge will look at it).