Your office represents a client who is suing his former partner in a business venture that went sour. Your office has represented the client for 2 years and has put about 300 hours into the
Your office represents a client who is suing his former partner in a business venture that went sour. Your office has represented the client for 2 years and has put about 300 hours into the case. In addition, your office has taken five depositions and paid for the transcripts. Your office also has hired an expert witness. The expert witness prepared a report that supports your client’s case. The office has about $30,000 worth of fees and expenses in the case.
One afternoon, the client comes into the office and gives the receptionist a letter stating that he is terminating the relationship with the law office and that he wants his files returned to him within one week. The attorney in the case states that there is no way he is going to hand over anything until the client pays the office’s expenses. Someone on the team has argued that because the client has not paid for any work, the files are not legally his.
Research the ethical issues in this matter; you can start with the ABA Model Rules, but then look specifically into Georgia’s state rules of professional responsibility. What does the state of Georgia say about withholding files from clients who have not paid? How should you handle the matter?
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