If a client is unhappy with an attorney’s representation, and hires another attorney, there are two caveats worthy of mention here. First, it is a violation of an attorney’s code of ethics to work on a file or legal case while another attorney is still officially handling it. Therefore, a client should discharge the previous attorney in writing. Secondly, the terminated attorney is nonetheless entitled to compensation for the work completed thus far, and may place an attorney’s lien on the file/case through the court. When the client is finally paid on the matter, the original attorney will receive whatever compensation he or she earned. If the original agreement was for a contingency fee, and the second attorney completed work on the case, the contingency fee will be split, with or without court intervention. Many jurisdictions permit the first (discharged) attorney to be paid a reasonable hourly fee for work completed, rather than a percentage of the contingency. The discharged attorney will need to itemize work done on the file prior to being discharged.