Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

Legal files

Do I have the right to obtain my case file from my lawyer after my case is finished?


Asked on 7/17/02, 8:07 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Re: Legal files

Yes.

D. Alexander Floum is an experienced attorney and teaches law to both practicing lawyers and law school students.

The Schinner Law Group is a full-service law firm, providing assistance in business, corporate, tax, litigation, contracts, intellectual property and related areas of law.

NOTE: This communication is not intended as and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Rather, it is intended solely as a general discussion of legal principles. You should not rely on or take action based on this communication without first presenting ALL relevant details to a competent attorney in your jurisdiction and then receiving the attorney’s individualized advice for you. By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that the opinion expressed is not intended to, nor does it, create any attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication.

Read more
Answered on 7/18/02, 12:57 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Legal files

Yes. Your case file is your property and you are entitled to claim it. Your attorney does have the right to make a copy before giving it to you and is allowed reasonable time to do so. Also, if your fee agreement so provides, he may require you to pay for this copying. However, he cannot hold onto your file in order to pressure you into paying him -- whether for his fees, for the copying, or for anything else.

There are a *very* limited number of types of documents which you cannot have, but only a small percentage of cases involve such documents.

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 8:19 pm
Kelly Ryan Ryan Law Firm, PC

Re: Legal files

You have the right to a copy of your complete file after your case is complete as long as the file has not been destroyed. Usually the retainer agreement you signed indicates the period of time that a law firm will retain your file. This is usually 3 years after the case is closed. You are also entitled to the file, even if you are disputing the lawyer's fees and have an outstanding balance.

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 8:19 pm
Larry Rothman Larry Rothman & Associates

Re: Legal files

You have an absolute right to your file. In my opinion, if your attorney is refusing to give you your file, there is something to hide.

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 8:36 pm


Related Questions & Answers

More General Civil Litigation questions and answers in California