Jon and Kate: The Money's Back, The Lawyer's Gone

By Neetal Parekh on October 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Answering a judge's demand that money missing from a joint bank account with his wife be returned, Jon Gosselin reportedly replenished the absent $180,000 this week.  Somehow, however, his divorce lawyer went missing in the process.  Gosselin's Pennsylvania attorney, Charles Meyer, successfully petitioned the court to cease representing Jon.

Can an attorney withdraw from a case?

A client can fire an attorney at any point in the attorney-client relationship.  And though it may seem contrary to to professional responsibility, legal ethics do allow an attorney to "fire" a client--or withdraw from representing under certain circumstances as well.

Ethics rules vary by state but generally there are situations in which an attorney is compelled to withdraw and others in which an attorney can elect to withdraw.

When must an attorney withdraw from representing a client?

A lawyer must cease representing a client if continuing to do so would violate rules of professional responsibility.  For example, if the attorney is unauthorized to practice in the particular state of the case or has been suspended, he or she must immediately withdraw.

Other scenarios which require an attorney's withdrawal usually include if a lawyer becomes physically or mentally unfit to continue representation or if the client fires the attorney.

When can an attorney seek withdrawal from representing a client?

Situations including conflicts of interest, personality clashes, or critical differences in strategy-planning can also be reasons for an attorney to withdraw from a case.  To do so, an attorney would likely have to seek permission from the court.  The court may consider whether the attorney's withdrawal would be unfair to the client.


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