The answer is yes, he can.
Your lawyer can get out of your case, but he has to ask permission to do so.
He has to ask nicely.
Then he has to give the judge a reason.
A real reason.
Not some B.S. reason.
Let me be blunt here.
There are only two real reasons why an attorney would ask the judge to be relieved as your attorney.
TWO. Count em'.
You lied under oath.
That's enough for your lawyer to want out of your case, no matter how 'good' your case is.
No matter what damages you incurred.
No matter how much you feel your case is worth.
If your lawyer knows that you lied under oath, he should not allow you to testify at trial.
Doing so would be suborning perjury...an ethical violation that could get your attorney in hot water with the bar and the grievance committee.
Your attorney can no longer get along with you.
You're a horror to work with.
You're disrespectful to your lawyer and his staff.
You're downright intolerable.
You argue about everything.
You claim to know more about the law than your lawyer.
You want your lawyer to do everything you want, regardless of the risk.
You tie your attorney's hands at every opportunity (figuratively).
You refuse to go along with any of your attorneys' recommendations.
You know better.
Your lawyer reaches the breaking point.
Something happens and he decides "That's it! I can't work with you anymore. I'm out! Get yourself a new lawyer to make miserable," he tells you with sadness.
LAWYER CAN'T JUST UP AND LEAVE YOUR CASE IN THE MIDDLE
Since you hired your lawyer to investigate and prosecute your case and your lawyer agreed, he has an obligation to fully and fairly represent you in your medical malpractice case.
Your lawyer cannot simply send you a letter saying "I am no longer your lawyer. Go get another one."
That would be nice and simple for the attorney, but it's not.
Instead, your attorney has to ask the court for permission to be relieved as your lawyer.
It's a process.
It's a balancing act too and I'll tell you why.
When an attorney asks the judge to be let out of your case, he has to give a reason.
When your attorney submits this request to the judge, he has to provide a copy of this request to the attorneys who represent the doctors and hospitals you sued. They have a right to see and read everything your lawyer sends to the court.
Your attorney has a special relationship with you.
It's commonly known as the attorney-client relationship.
That's a sacred relationship.
There's a degree of trust there, or at least should be there.
There's confidentiality there.
That means that what you say to your lawyer and what he says to you is private and confidential.
Your lawyer cannot disclose, to anyone, what you have said (there are one or two exceptions where someone's life may be in danger).
If the reason your attorney wants out is because you lied under oath, he CANNOT disclose that to the court, since the defense will see it.
It's ironic, isn't it?
Some would argue that because an attorney is an officer of the court, that we have an obligation to disclose our clients' lie to the court.
Sorry, but the attorney-client relationship controls here.
This is privileged and confidential information.
Where the attorney knows that you have lied, then he cannot go forward as your attorney and continue prosecuting your case.
He has to ask the judge to be let out of your case.
But here's the balancing act...
Your lawyer CANNOT disclose the exact reason why he wants out of your case.
Instead, he must vaguely explain in his papers that there are irreconcilable differences that prevent you from continuing forward.
This is legal code for saying "GET ME OUT OF THIS CASE JUDGE!"
The defense will want details.
They're not going to get them.
The judge will require the lawyers to appear in court and present oral argument about why he should or shouldn't allow your attorney to withdraw.
At that time, the judge will likely ask to speak to your attorney privately to find out what the real reason he wants out of your case.
In that instance, your attorney will have an ex-parte conversation, a one-sided conversation with your lawyer.
Those one-sided conversations are usually never done in court since each side is entitled to know what the other is saying to the judge.
This prevents the perception that one side may be gaining favor with the judge or possibly trying to collude with the judge on your case.
But where the attorneys have now appeared in court to argue your lawyers' request to be relieved, the judge wants to know why before he reaches a decision.
Once the judge has a clear understanding of why your lawyer wants out, he will, in all likelihood, grant your attorney's request to be relieved and allow you sufficient time to try and find another lawyer.
The defense lawyer is never told about the exact reason why but he can often guess that it's one of two reasons mentioned above.