Legal Question in Legal Ethics in Ohio

I fired my attorney in a child custody dispute case. Initially I was really happy with her, but then she quit returning calls and lost things I sent to her, didn't call me when a decision was received by her office. I had to find out the results from my Ex (which included a bunch of lol in the texts she sent). I owe him money which I fully recognize and intend to pay, but my new attorney needs my file to continue and an appeal is due immediately. The old attorney is refusing to reflease my file until the bill is paid in full. What is the law regarding him withholding my file in the State of Ohio?

Asked on 2/24/11, 10:51 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Cline Office of the Ohio Public Defender

An attonrey cannot ethically withhold a file from a former client because that client owes money to the attorney if to do so would harm the client's case. See, Rule 1.15, Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. Your new attorney should remind former counsel that he or she has an obligation to turn over the file so as to prevent prejudice to you.

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Answered on 2/24/11, 12:40 pm

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