Who Owns the Client File?
I have a client who came to me after being represented by a prior family attorney in his divorce case. After one year and having lost custody of his children, this client came in to my office asking me to take over the case. This client wanted a payment history since he will need them for trial.
Surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitledUpon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interest, including but not limited to surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled. The lawyer may only retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by law.
What is "work-product'?What is "work-product'? These are internal notes and memos which have been generated primarily for the purposes of working on the client's problem. There are 2 schools of thought: One which is the attorney may withhold documents that are deemed "work-product." The other is that the entire contents of a client's file belong to the client and that neither the attorney-client privilege nor work -product doctrines apply.
The papers in a client's file belong to the clientAnother question is the duty of the attorney to maintain former client files long after a case or upon termination. The papers in a client's file belong to the client and must be released promptly to the client following termination of the attorney-client relationship if requested by the client. Rule 3-700(D)(2), Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California. However, if the client does not request the file, the client's right to the file continues after termination of the attorney-client relationship."