Knowing When to Say When & What to Do: The Ethical Withdrawal

Friday, June 3

(2:00 - 3:20pm)

Moderator: Linda Acevedo
Panelists: Benjamin Cooper, Hon. Anne E. Lazarus, Thomas Mason

In a perfect world, every case that an attorney handles on behalf of a client would come to a fair and mutually profitable resolution. This is not a perfect world, and often times, attorneys must withdraw from the representation before the work is complete or a resolution is found. The withdrawal process can be tricky. This panel will help you navigate this process and cover such concepts as the "unreasonable financial burden" withdrawal under Rule 1.16(b)(6) in both contingent and non-contingent fee situations, involving both single clients and multiple clients when all but a few settle; whether, or to what extent, a withdrawal on this ground provides a defense to a breach of contract action; how to advise lawyer-clients contemplating withdrawal, and what to do about unpaid fees; mandatory withdrawal situations such as fraud by the client or irreconcilable conflicts between the lawyer and client, as well as permissive withdrawal situations.


  1. ABA Formal Opinion 471 (7-1-15)
  2. CNA Law Guide CLIFILEDISP 06-10-15 a CF PROD CNA SEC
  3. Op. 15-02