These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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14-Ownership of Files and Attorney Lien Issues

Although a lawyer may retain a client's file if a bill has not been paid, the lawyer may have to let the client see the file if the client would otherwise be hurt. In discussing ownership of work product, the committee reiterated that "the client owns the attorney work-product whether in tangible, documentary form or in the intangible provision of the attorney's expertise in having applied the law to the client's fact situation during the course of the representation." [This LEO was overruled by Rule 1.16(e), which governs a lawyer's duty to provide files to a former client.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn