Legal Question in Legal Ethics in New Jersey

client furnished documents held as lien by attorney

Our lawyer was given our own personal documents as history of a law suit. We no longer are retaining this lawyer and would like our documents returned. The attorney said they are being kept as a lien because our bill has not been paid in full. We did not make copies of our documents so what the law firm has are the originals. Can she hold them? Virginia has passed a code that does not allow an attorney to do this. What about New Jersey? And what can we do about it?

Asked on 12/09/06, 3:55 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Kozyra Kozyra & Hartz, LLC
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Re: client furnished documents held as lien by attorney

The lawyer does not have any legal basis for withholding your original documents.

We encounter this problem regularly when we are asked t0 take over a file for a client. A letter from us usually produces the needed file without a fight.

We would do that as part of our representation and any lien would be addressed later (if legitimate).

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12/09/06, 9:47 pm
Robert Davies The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
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Re: client furnished documents held as lien by attorney

I have read what the other lawyer wrote, and the same mess happens to me when I take over a case, once in a while. a letter forces the issue; I have never yet had to do more than write a letter and make a phone call, I always get the documents.

You need a new lawyer. I do not know what the subject of the lawsuit is. I do a lot of lawsuits of different kinds. If you would like, give me a call; I am in northern New Jersey. I will be happy to discuss this with you; the telephone consultation will be free.

My contact information can be obtained from the links below, just click on the Attorney Profile link. Let my secretary know you found me through LawGuru.

Disclaimer: Your question and any response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. You can not rely on the statements made by an attorney given over the internet. The exact facts of your situation, including facts which you have not mentioned in your question, may completely change the result for your situation.

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12/11/06, 12:43 pm

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