Does an attorney have give copy of a case file on the clients request? 50 Answers as of July 12, 2013

Does an attorney have give a copy of an case file to a clients request?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes it is the client's file. It is always the client's file and the Attorney knows that it is the client's file because that is one of the first things we learn in law school.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/27/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
An attorney should give a copy of the case file to the client if it is requested, however; notes and other work product of the attorney may be withheld, depending on the circumstance.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/26/2011
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP | Locke T. Clifford
Not necessarily. An attorney is not required to turn over work product nor things prepared in anticipation of trial.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 4/26/2011
The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
An attorney is obligated to give you a copy of your file upon your request provided you have paid him in full. Otherwise, the attorney could have a lien on your file until you pay him/her. Most attorneys would still give you a copy of your file if you requested it. If you do not owe the attorney money, I would contact the Florida Bar and report that he/she will not release your file.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 4/25/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Yes, if an attorney represented you in a matter you are entitled to a copy of the case file minus any attorney work product such as the attorney's thoughts, notes on the case. However, keep in mind that while you are entitled to your case file, the attorney can also charge you reasonable expenses for copying and mailing the case file to you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/22/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    Yes. The attorney can ask for 24 hours to get it ready, but it must be given after that time frame.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/21/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Yes, in all cases. The files belong to the client not the attorney, so you should have been receiving copies all along. In some cases, however, if the file is voluminous, the attorney could request a fee for copying and mailing.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Generally if the client discharges his attorney the attorney is obligated to provide a copy of the file unless the client owes the attorney some or all of his legal fees in which case the attorney can withhold the file until paid. This is called a charging lien.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    At your request your attorney is required to give you a redacted copy of your case file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The attorney is allowed to keep his own work product and his confidential notes from the file, and should always be willing to provide a copy of everything else in the file.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Yes, your file belongs to you. However, if you did not ask for it promptly and the attorney's office has a policy of destroying files after a certain number of years, you may have missed the boat.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The file belongs to the client. Client is entitled to entire contents, including attorney work product. However, if the case is a criminal case, there are things such as witness and alleged victim addresses and telephone numbers that cannot be provided to the client. Penal Code section 1054.2.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Defense attorneys have a right to move for discovery, which includes police reports and other relevant information regarding the case in chief, as well as the credibility of witnesses. Other evidence can be obtained by the use of subpoenas. Likewise, in felony cases, prosecutors have a right to pre-trial discovery from the defense. Case files can be turned over to defendants who are representing themselves without benefit of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    No, but it would be appropriate to maintain the client relationship. Upon the attorney being fired or quit then the client has a right to get the file or a copy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I believe there is a Bar ethics opinion on this topic. I think that the lawyer must give the client the client's documents, but may retain his, the lawyer's, documents. The client would probably be responsible for the copy costs involved. I could see a grey area where the client owes money for some documents that are the attorney's work product that has yet to be purchased by the client. The Alabama State Bar has put out an opinion on this, and you may be able to google the Alabama State Bar website for a more precise answer. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. The file is the client's property. It must be provided within a reasonable time where the attorney may make copies. If copies have already been provided to the client, the attorney may charge a fee for any new copies, but cannot withhold the file pending payment.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Within some limits, most attorney files should be available to the client to view, some documents may not be permissible to copy and disseminate to the client, but they are available for him to look at.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    If your question is does an attorney have to give a client a copy of the client's case file, in Oregon where I practice, I do believe the attorney does have to provide the client with a copy of the client's file on the client's request. In my practice, I typically give the client a copy of everything that I get or I file while the case is progressing. After the case is over I will also give the client a copy of his or her case if the client requests it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    In Utah yes he does.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    Yes. Put the notice in writing & request that the file be turned over within ten (10) days.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Eversole Law, LLC
    Eversole Law, LLC | Steven Eversole
    Short answer, Yes. If you request a copy of your file your attorney MUST provide one to you. Of course, like everything in law and life, there can be exceptions. If you attorney has already provided one, he need not provide another, or if he sent you everything during the course of representation. The attorney can also charge for copies if he has provided you already, and he can insist on being fully paid prior to handing over a file. He can even place an attorney's lien on a file. I hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me with further questions. In the meantime, please review my website.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Yes. If there is a successor attorney however, the original is usually turned over to him or her and the copy kept by the first attorney. Be aware however that it is against the law to provide the defendant will parts of the police report that reveals witnesses' identifying information unless the defendant represents himself and then a court order is required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Martin Blank
    Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
    Generally yes. However, if the attorney has not been aid for services rendered he may claim a lien on portions of the file.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    An attorney should be willing to give your complete copy of your file. The attorney may charge with a reasonable copy fee for doing so.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    This is usually a question of the ethics rules that a particular attorney is bound to follow in his jurisdiction. However, typically, the case file belongs to the client and an attorney must deliver it up upon termination of services. However, an attorney and a client can agree to dispose of a case file in some other manner. Typically it is best if this arrangement or any arrangement regarding the case file, is in writing. A client can request a file in the middle of a case, but this would likely prove difficult since the case is in motion. It may take some time, in either case, for the attorney to deliver the case file. Consult your attorney, your retainer agreement and the local state bar for particulars.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    The file technically belongs to the client. However, if attorney is working on it how can attorney turn file over to client? The client should then have to pay for an additional copy of file to be made. A great deal of controversy with this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Absolutely. If refused, call the State Bar.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Yes, although the attorney may retain his or her personal notes as well as redact certain identifying info.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    It all depends if you owe them for the costs related to the file. This happens a lot of the time. See if you owe them for the costs, or ask your new attorney to request file.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    In NH the file is actually the client's and if requested must be provided. The attorney may make a copy for his records. Frequently a fee agreement will state that subsequent copies will be provided to a client at the cost of reproduction.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Beard Law Group, P.C.
    Beard Law Group, P.C. | Christopher Beard
    It depends. If you have paid the attorney in full and your contract provided for work product and legal analysis to be given to the client at the end of the proceeding, the attorney should hand over documents related to your case. If the document is an original or was given to the attorney by the client, that document is deemed to be the clients and should be handed over promptly. This all depends on the attorneys compensation and whether or not he/she was paid in full. In Alabama, attorneys have the right to lien certain documents, albeit exceptions do exist (transcripts for indigent clients with court appointed representation), when said attorney has not been paid accordingly. This is a statutory provision that has yet to be fully interpreted: Code of Alabama section 34-3-61, (a) Attorneys-at-law shall have a lien on all papers and money of their clients in their possession for services rendered to them, in reference thereto, and may retain such papers until said claims are satisfied, and may apply such money to the satisfaction of said claims.; (b) Upon actions and judgments for money, they shall have a lien superior to all liens but tax liens, and no person shall be at liberty to satisfy said action or judgment, until the lien or claim of the attorney for his fees is fully satisfied; and attorneys-at-law shall have the same right and power over action or judgment to enforce their liens as their clients had or may have for the amount due thereon to them; (c) Upon all actions for the recovery of real or personal property, and upon all judgments for the recovery of the same, attorneys-at-law shall have a lien on the property recovered, for their fees, superior to all liens but liens for taxes, which may be enforced by said attorneys-at-law, or their lawful representatives, as liens on personal and real estate, and the property recovered shall remain subject to said liens, unless transferred to bona fide purchasers without notice; (d) The lien in the event of an action, provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, shall not attach until the service upon the defendant or respondent of summons, writ or other process. However, when any claim is settled between the parties after the filing of an action but before the defendant has actual notice of the filing of the action by service of summons or otherwise, such settlement shall operate as a full discharge of the claim.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    This is such a poorly worded question, that if you asked me for a copy of the file in the same manner that you wrote this question, I would not give it to you. Why? Because if you cannot speak, you cannot analyze the discovery (i.e. police report, GCIC, witness statements), and will only use it to mess up the case - i.e. try and file your own pre-trial motions, try and contact the witness and bargain with them, start performing other investigations. Have to give? No. Should give? Maybe, If client is not an idiot.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Law Offices of Carl Spector
    Law Offices of Carl Spector | Carl Spector
    Yes, a client has every right to a copy of his or her file. Once you request a copy of your file from your attorney you can expect that attorney to turn over a copy of your file within a reasonable amount of time.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    The attorney should have no hesitation about delivering to the client a copy of the case file. However, case files may be pretty thick, so be prepared to pay the cost of duplicating the file. Also, not all information has to be passed to the client. Certain information may be privileged, such as the attorneys case notes, and analysis of the case. This is also known as "work product". If you desire a copy of the file, simply ask the lawyer, and offer an explanation as to why you want a copy of the file. If he refuses, you may appeal to the Judge before whom the case is being handled to order the attorney to turn over the file.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    In most jurisdictions the file belongs to the client. Exceptions include an attorney's lien (for payment) and, in WA, discovery in a criminal case (police reports) cannot be given without the consent of the prosecutor. These are, however, available trough a public records disclosure request.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The file of a criminal or civil case belongs to the client and he is entitled to a copy of that file. The attorney has to keep a copy for 7 years as is his obligation under law and for billing purposes. He cannot hold the file in order to collect his fees or refuse to make a copy of the entire file. If he refuses to do so you can contact the Bar Association, but let the attorney know you intend to do so before you bother so that he will have adequate time to copy the file and mail it to you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Yes, absolutely.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    NOLA Criminal Law
    NOLA Criminal Law | Townsend Myers
    Short answer: Yes. Your case file is your property, and a copy should always be provided upon request.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Benari Law Firm
    Benari Law Firm | Arik T. Benari
    Yes, but the attorney can take reasonable time to copy the file first and may charge the client for the copy.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    If the attorney is owed money he or she has a lien on the file and does not have to provide a copy.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, generally the lawyer must provide a copy of the file upon request, subject to their bill being paid and copies being made. If the attorney still won't give up the file, you may then have to go to the Bar Association or the Judge for an Order to give it up. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If it is the clients file, then yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    The Law Offices of Michael S. Berg
    The Law Offices of Michael S. Berg | Michael Berg
    Yes. Technically, the file belongs to the client, not the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A.
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A. | Bruce H. Lehr
    Yes, the file belongs to the client, but an attorney can execute a charging lien on the file if money is owed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Within a reasonable period of time, yes.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/18/2011
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