Legal Question in Legal Ethics in California

California--- My retired attorney says the "File" belongs to the client. And the client can ask for the original and the attorney needs to furnish it and make his own copy, if he wants it. Is this still true in California for an active file?


Asked on 8/27/16, 3:21 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Yes. The attorney is merely the custodian of a client's file, active or closed. The original file belongs to the client at all times. What CONSTITUTES the "file" is open to some nit-picking, such as who owns attorney work product that has not been paid for yet on an active file, but the general rule is very clear - file belongs to the client at all times.

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Answered on 8/27/16, 4:18 pm


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