Everyone is entitled to one mistake.
If you are unsatisfied with your lawyer’s level of service or you have a personality conflict with him/her, you can certainly shop around for another lawyer without paying more legal fees.
Where your lawyer is working on a Contingency Fee Arrangement, the usual situation is that you do not have to pay any more money to have a second lawyer. Rather, the two lawyers work out an arrangement at the end of the case whereby they share in the overall fees charged based on a percentage of work performed.
Therefore, you should not be paying anything more for hiring a second lawyer compared to staying with the first lawyer to the end of the claim.
Also, the fees owing to your first lawyer should not have to be paid when you fire him/her, but rather, they should be paid at the end of the case.
In terms of disbursements that have been incurred by your first lawyer, the usual practice is for the second lawyer to pay out the first lawyer for the disbursements. Hence, you should not have an obligation to pay any disbursements at the time of moving your file to a new law firm.
There is a note of caution in changing lawyers. If you go to a second lawyer and then decide to fire him/her, good luck trying to find a top end lawyer to take your case regardless of the merit of the case. The reality of the situation is most lawyers are very cautious about taking on a client who has gone through a number of lawyers. You are, in essence, “black listed” unless you have an excellent reason behind the transfer of the file between several lawyers. The impression left is that you are a difficult client who will never be satisfied regardless of the level of service and the results.
Therefore, you really only have a chance to try out maybe 2 lawyers before suddenly you will have difficulty getting one of the better lawyers in the community to represent you.