What happens to a lawyer’s past and ongoing client files if the lawyer succumbs to a sudden illness? Is the client entitled to the possession of it?
In the jurisdiction where I practice law (Utah), the client’s file is the client’s property, not the property of his or her attorney. Most clients do not know this. Now you do.
Regardless of whether your attorney gets sick and cannot work on your case, your file and its contents are your property. You are entitled to it on demand. No exceptions.
If your attorney cannot work on your case due to illness, you get to choose who your attorney will be, not his/her firm. If your attorney’s firm tries to force you into staying a client of the firm, that firm cannot do so. YOU have the right to choose who represents you. Your attorney and/or his/her firm does not own you.
Even if you owe your attorney money, your attorney cannot withhold your file from you as a means of compelling you to pay your bill. Your lawyer IS entitled to keep a copy of your file, but your attorney and his/her firm cannot withhold your file from you.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277