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As a client, am I entitled to my legal "file"?

San Francisco, CA |
Filed under: Litigation

After enduring a long winded legal issue that eventually went to court, I was curious as to whether I'm entitled to ask for my legal file. By file, I mean the actual binder my attorney used to reference various photos and materials the day of court. In reviewing my legal bills, I see I was charged for the compilation of this binder, copies, etc. I have all my original copies of important documents, but have not seen all the info. presented by our adversary and would like to have this info handy in the event I want to report the business on consumer website and they attempt to sue for defamation and I need a civil law atty to handle things from that point on.... Am I out of line in requesting this material? I understand client files are to be kept for 7 years in most cases.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The client file belongs to you. Feel free to request it. Your attorney may request you sign an acknowledgment of receipt.

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Donna Michael-Hall Bolton

Donna Michael-Hall Bolton

Posted

Most often, your attorney will make a copy for you.

Posted

Yes. The California Rules of Professional Conduct require an attorney to return to a client all papers and property to which the client is entitled. The complete original file belongs to the client and the attorney may copy the file at his or her own expense.

There is no legal requirement, however, that the attorney keep client litigation files for 7 years.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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Posted

Absolutely. The file is yours and you have a right to it upon the end of your case, or the end of the representation by the attorney. Make a written request. Put a reasonable time limit for its preparation for you to pick it up. If the attorney does not provide it to you within a reasonable time, go to the California State Bar website and issue a complaint against the attorney.

Good luck to you.

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