Are forms filed with USCIS on your behalf considered "work product" before your petition is granted?

Asked about 1 year ago - San Antonio, TX

Our attorney sent us documents to sign and when we looked over them we found many many errors (some small like typos and some big like questions left blank or filled in with incorrect answers). When we called about it he said that he doesnt review them until we sign and return them and then if he needs to he will just scratch something out and write in the correction. I find it a bit suspect if not just stupid to review the docs after we sign rather than before but our real concern is that he may not have actually reviewed them at all before filing. We asked him for a copy of what he sent to USCIS but told us that before our application is granted it is considered work product so he doesnt have to give us a copy. Are completed forms (i-485 etc) considered work product?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. David Joseph Trevino

    Contributor Level 10

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . What a great question. In my opinion, once you have signed those forms, they can no longer be claimed as attorney work product. Most attorneys will provide a copy of the applications submitted to homeland security upon request. Those forms contain information you've sworn is true, so you should know what is in those forms before your interview. I've worked for several firms that use the same practice. The clients reviews the forms, makes changes, and then signs. You should only sign the forms once they are corrected. Good luck with your case!

  2. Irene Vaisman

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . What I can tell you is, don't sign any documents with mistakes in them. Make the lawyer fix the mistakes before you sign anything. If he/she refuses, find a different attorney.

    Irene Vaisman, Esq. 11 Broadway, Suite 615 New York, NY 10004 (646) 253-0516 This is not legal advice and a... more
  3. Stephen D. Berman

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Work product is a defense in a discovery request, it has nothing to do with you requesting a copy of your files. He may or may not be required by law to give you a copy, but you can easily get a copy by filing under the freedom of information act.

    The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an... more
  4. Kyndra L. Mulder

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . In my practice clients are free to make payments. I will not give them a copy of the forms or file the forms on their behalf until they have paid in full. In your case you would have made all payments - or the case would not have been filed - so I would have provided you with a copy of the forms and all attachments that were filed with the forms.

    Bottom line: Completed forms are a work product. The attorney does not have to file them or give you a copy unless you have paid for them as set forth in your representation agreement. Sounds to me like you have met your obligation and you are entitled to a copy of what was filed.

  5. Patricia Jean Freshwater

    Contributor Level 3

    Answered . In general, I believe the Texas State Bar requires attorneys to provide clients with copies of their files. Not doing so is listed as one of the possible grounds for discipline on the State Bar's website. http://www.texasbar.com/Content/NavigationMenu/.... As another responder stated, work product has nothing to do with this particular situation.

    This post is intended as general information only. No information contained in this post should be taken as legal... more

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