Attorney Termination Letter: How To Draft It Right!

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand Your Reasons: Clearly identify why you are ending your attorney-client relationship.
  2. Know Your Contract: Review your agreement for any specific termination procedures.
  3. Be Professional and Concise: Keep the letter formal and to the point.
  4. Request Case Files: Ensure you obtain all necessary documents related to your case.
  5. Plan for Next Steps: Arrange for a new attorney to avoid delays in your legal matter.
  6. Template Provided: Use our customizable template to draft your termination letter.

As someone who has gone through the process of terminating an attorney-client relationship, I understand the importance of handling this delicate situation with professionalism and clarity. 

Discontinuing the services of a lawyer can be a challenging decision, often fueled by various factors like dissatisfaction with services, financial concerns, or a change in legal strategy.

modern office setting. A computer screen displays the title 'Letter to the Judge' with the beginning paragraphs of a formal letter.

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Step 1: Identify Your Reasons

Firstly, it’s crucial to clearly identify your reasons for ending the relationship. These could range from a lack of communication to disagreements over strategy or financial disputes.

Watercolor painting woman typing on a sleek black laptop

Example: I decided to terminate my attorney after realizing that there were frequent communication gaps, which left me feeling out of the loop regarding my case developments.

Step 2: Review Your Contract

Before drafting your letter, review your contract or retainer agreement. This document often outlines the procedure for termination.

Table: Key Contract Points to Review

Termination ClauseSpecifics about how and when you can terminate the agreement.
Financial ObligationsAny fees or costs due upon termination.
Notice RequirementsHow much notice you need to provide.

Step 3: Drafting the Letter

Your termination letter should be professional and concise. Clearly state your intention to end the attorney-client relationship, referencing any relevant contract clauses. Avoid emotional language or personal criticism.

Template for Attorney Termination Letter

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[Email Address]
[Phone Number]

[Attorney’s Name]
[Law Firm’s Name]
[City, State, ZIP Code]

Re: Termination of Legal Services

Dear [Attorney’s Name],

I am writing to formally notify you that I am terminating my legal representation agreement with you, effective immediately/as of [date]. As per our agreement dated [date of agreement], I am providing [number of days] days’ notice.

The reason for this decision is [briefly state the reason, e.g., “due to a change in my legal needs” or “as a result of financial constraints”].

Please provide me with a copy of my case file and an itemized statement of my account. I will settle any outstanding balances as per our agreement.

Thank you for your services thus far. Please confirm receipt of this letter and the initiation of the termination process.


[Your Signature (if sending a hard copy)]
[Your Printed Name]

Step 4: Plan Your Next Steps

After sending the termination letter, promptly arrange for new legal representation to avoid any lapse in your legal proceedings.

List: Actions to Take Post Termination

  • Contact a new attorney immediately.
  • Transfer your case files.
  • Update any relevant parties (like courts) about the change in representation.


Terminating an attorney-client relationship is a significant decision and should be approached with careful consideration and respect. Utilizing a clear and concise termination letter ensures a professional end to the partnership.

Tips for Writing an Attorney Termination Letter:

  • Always be clear and professional.
  • Reference specific clauses in your contract.
  • Avoid emotional or personal remarks.
  • Ensure to follow up on any pending matters.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q. What is an attorney termination letter?

Answer: An attorney termination letter is a document that formally terminates the attorney-client relationship.

It is typically written by the client to the attorney, and it serves as written notice that the client no longer wishes to retain the attorney’s services.

Q. What is the purpose of an attorney termination letter?

Answer: The purpose of an attorney termination letter is to formally end the attorney-client relationship. 

It allows the client to end the relationship on their own terms, rather than leaving the attorney to assume that they are no longer needed. It also serves as a record of the termination for both the client and the attorney.

Q. How do I write an attorney termination letter?

Answer: An attorney termination letter should include the following information: the names of the attorney and client, the date the letter is written, the reason for termination, and a statement that the attorney is no longer authorized to represent the client. 

It should also include instructions for how to return any client files or documents and how the attorney should bill the client for any outstanding charges. It should be signed by the client and a copy should be kept for the client’s records.

Q. What should I do after sending an attorney termination letter?

Answer: After sending an attorney termination letter, the client should follow up with the attorney to ensure that the attorney has received the letter and that the attorney is no longer representing the client.

The client should also make sure to retrieve any files or documents that the attorney has and to pay any outstanding bills.

Q. What happens if I don’t send an attorney termination letter?

Answer: If a client does not send an attorney termination letter, the attorney may assume that they are still representing the client and may continue to work on the client’s case.

This can lead to confusion and potential legal issues, and it may also result in additional charges for the client. It is important for the client to send a termination letter to ensure that the attorney-client relationship is officially ended.

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