How do I obtain copies of all documents in my case if the attorney refuses? 19 Answers as of July 03, 2013

My case is over but I find that I do not have copies of some of the documents that my lawyer received from the other side and ones that we completed together. I am trying to complete my file. My attorney of record on the case refuses to speak to me or allow me access to the file. Is there anything I can do? I do not have the financial resources to get them from the court because of their research fees.

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Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
If you can't get them from your attorney, then the only place to get them is at the courthouse. You can try making an application to proceed "in forma pauperis" meaning you have no money and ask that the fees be waived.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/28/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Contact the State Bar and obtain their assistance in obtaining the file for you. The file is yours. Your attorney (or former attorney) can make and keep a photocopy for his or her own purposes but your original file is yours.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/27/2011
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
The file belongs to the client. If your attorney refuses to give you the file, you should contact the local bar association to obtain your file.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/26/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
You should report him to the state bar.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/26/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
The file legally belongs to you, not your attorney. If he/she refuses to return the file to you, then contact the State Bar to file a complaint.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    The attorney has no authority to refuse. She/He must return your entire file within a reasonable time even if you owe money. An attorney can not hold hostage your file.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    The attorney can not refuse, unless you have failed to pay him or her.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    File a grievance with the State Bar.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If your attorney has already provided you with copies of file documents as the case progressed, the attorney may charge for additional copies as set forth in your retainer agreement with that attorney. You may also acquire any documents filed with the court from the court for what are generally nominal fees.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Is your case over? Are you ready to burn your bridges with this attorney? I ask these question because what I am about to suggest will end your relationship with this attorney. The lawyer has a duty to turn over the file to you (with a few exceptions). Therefore, if you make a written demand of him, he is required to give you the file. If the attorney doesn't surrender the file, then, I'd think that your next step would be a complaint to the Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    Send a letter to the attorney requesting a copy of the complete file. If Attorney refuses, make a complaint to your local county Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Your attorney may be in violation of attorney ethical rules. You should provide him one more opportunity to provide you copies of your file by making a written request. If he fails to comply, you should explore filing a grievance with the state supreme court's attorney regulation office.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Offices of Mendlovitz & Sanchez
    Law Offices of Mendlovitz & Sanchez | James V Sanchez
    Send a demand letter to the attorney requiring that he provide you your entire file. Client files are the property of the clients and attorneys may not withhold them including for non-payment of attorney fees. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), rule 3-700 requires the attorney on termination of their representation to return all client papers and property on your request. Under RPC 3-500, an attorney is required to comply with reasonable requests for information and copies of significant documents when necessary to keep the client informed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Your lawyer is obligated to provide copies of his/her file to you, for a reasonable charge.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Call the Washington State Bar Association or threaten the attorney that you will do so. They will probably help you get the file.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If your case is in Maricopa County, you can register for ECR (Electronic Court Record) to view/print copies of documents filed with the court in your case (pleadings and orders): https://ecr.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/Registration.aspx This would not include documents such as correspondence between the attorneys or documents exchanged as evidence/exhibits.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    I would call the State Bar. The lawyer does not have the right to withhold your file. However he can withhold any of his own notes that he made and he can charge you to copy the file. If you call the State Bar and explain the situation they may be able to help you by contacting the other attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/25/2011
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