IN RE PROPOSED RULE 1.19 -ARKANSAS RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct is recommending that the court adopt a new rule to address issues related to the maintenance of a client's file and rights and obligations to materials contained in the file.
We publish the rule for comment. Comments should be made in writing before September 1, 2016, and addressed to: Stacey Pectol, Clerk, Supreme Court of Arkansas, Attention: Professional Conduct, Rule 1.19, Justice Building, 625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.
Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.19. Client Files - Definition, Retention & Destruction.
(a) Client file - Definition and duty to provide copies of client-file documents to the client. The use of the term "client" refers to both current and former clients.
(1) For purposes of these rules, the client file shall consist of any writings or property provided by the client to the lawyer and any documents, in electronic or print format, that are the product of the lawyer's representation, including pleadings, correspondence, and other documents prepared or received by the lawyer in furtherance of the representation.
(2) The following records are not included in the client file, even if they are maintained by the lawyer in association with the representation and the client file, and such records are not ones to which the client is entitled to review or receive a copy:
(A)The lawyer's work product, which includes the documents the lawyer used to reach an end product of the lawyer's representation, the lawyer's notes, and preliminary drafts of pleadings and legal instruments;
(B)Internal memoranda prepared by or for the lawyer;
(C)Legal research materials prepared by or for the lawyer and factual research materials, including investigative reports prepared by or for the lawyer for use in the representation, unless the material has been specifically paid for by the client or procured by the lawyer for the client's use;
(D)Documents such as internal conflict checks, firm assignments, notes regarding any ethics consultation, or records that might reveal the confidences of other clients.
(E) Documents that have not been filed with a tribunal, delivered or served, or other documents drafted but unexecuted or undelivered that the client has explicitly paid for the drafting or creation thereof shall be provided to the client as part of the file.
(3)Upon the client's written request in any format, the lawyer shall surrender the client's file to the client or, upon written authorization of the client, to the client's new lawyer.
(4) The cost of copying the file shall be the responsibility of the client, unless the lawyer has in his or her possession client funds to be reimbursed for such cost. If such funds exist, the lawyer may be reimbursed for such cost from the client funds held by the lawyer. A lawyer who has previously provided the client a copy of any part of the client file may charge the client for additional copies of the same documents. The client shall be responsible for the reasonable costs incurred in delivery, by mail or commercial-delivery service, of the client-file materials outside the lawyer's office. After delivery of the client file to the client ...