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

A lawyer may retain a client's file if the lawyer has not been paid and retaining the file would not prejudice the client (as long as there is no dispute about the fees and the client can afford to pay them). The lawyer may be obligated to show the client the files if the client would otherwise be prejudiced. Any copying charges are "subject to available legal remedies for collection." ([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