LEO: Files - Termination/Withdrawal of  LE Op. 1357


Files - Termination/Withdrawal of Representation: Refusing to

Allow Client to Ascertain the Content of His File.


June 7, 1990


The Committee has considered the facts you have presented and is of the

opinion that an attorney's refusal to allow a former client to ascertain

the contents of that client's file is presumptively prejudicial and

violative of DR:2-108(D) which requires a lawyer to take reasonable

steps for the continued protection of a client's interests upon

termination of representation. It is the Committee's view that the

client's former attorney is obligated to explain and furnish a list of the

contents of the file indicating which items involve unpaid fees and which

items are the client's property, i.e., either provided originally by the

client or for which no fees are owing. (See LE Op. 1101 (September 29,

1989); LE Op. 1124 (September 27, 1989, August 12, 1988); and LE Op.

1176 (December 19, 1988))


The Committee further believes that a determination as to any prejudice

to the client which actually results is a factual question requiring a

decision by a finder of fact. Since the Committee is not constituted to

resolve questions of fact, such determination is beyond its purview.


Committee Opinion June 7, 1990