September 1955

WORK SHEETS - It is proper for an attorney to retain work sheets and other related papers which do not affect a client's rights or their exercise when requested to deliver the client's complete file to newly-retained counsel.  He is privilieged to make an inventory of the file before he delivers the items.

Canon  7.  


Facts - While acting as counsel for an individual and corporations for an individual and corporations in which the individual is princiapal stocklhoder, an attorney has accumulated voluminous files consisting of papers belonging tothe individual, papers belongong tothe corporations, and letters, briefs and work sheets prepared by the attorney.  The client has advised the attorney that new counsel is being reatined and has requested that all files be surrendered.

1.  Must the attorney deliver his entire set of files, inclucding file folders, or may he retain any portion of such files?

2.  If the attorney may retain any portions of such files, which portion may be so retained?

3.  Is the attorney privilieged to delay delivering items to individual as and until attonrey has had opportunity to inventory contents of files and make listing thereof?


The committee is of the opinion that these questions should be answered as follows:

1.  The attorney should not be required to deliver his entire set of files to his client uon termination of the professional relationship.

2.  The attorney should retain within his files all matters purely personal to him and should turn over to the client only those papers which would affect either the rights or the exercise of the rights of the client.

3.The attorney is privileged to delay delivering items to the client until he has had an opportunity to make a inventory of his files and determine what should be turned over to the client.  (8-0)