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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 39042
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have a pending action against a defendant...they had an attorney

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I have a pending action against a defendant...they had an attorney at the beginning who represented them at a TRO hearing....then they came to court 2 months later and claimed they were looking for representation...can an attorney quit a civil lawsuit before it is concluded...and if so, for what reasons (non payment, no reason, etc)?
A California attorney can limit his or her representation to a single court appearance (I do this all the time) -- so as to avoid getting caught up in representing a client who cannot possibly afford to pay for the time necessary to deal with the entire case. Generally, the attorney must file a "limited scope" notice with the court and serve it on the other party. If this didn't happen, then the attorney cannot withdraw without either the client discharging the attorney and signing a "substitution of attorney," or filing a motion to withdraw with the court and obtaining the court's permission.

The standard reason to withdraw is because the client cannot pay the attorney. Unless the case concerns something like a serious felony defense, the court will almost always allow the attorney to withdraw.

A pro se litigant will generally be permitted to find legal counsel. If the party has had two months and has not found anyone, I'd say it would be a toss up, but the court would likely give the party a very short period of time to find someone (no more than 10 days).

Hope this helps.

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