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

Asked over 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

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)

  1. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more
  2. Michael Raymond Daymude

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

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

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  3. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more

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