Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Client Files and Digital Law Practices: Rethinking Old Concepts in an Era of Lawyer Mobility

Suffolk University Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 897, 2010

UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 236

25 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010 Last revised: 29 Dec 2010

Robert W. Hillman

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Allison Rhodes

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Date Written: September 23, 2010

Abstract

The lawyer or law firm that controls client files has distinct advantages in any competition for clients. Not surprisingly, disputes over control and possession of client files have long occupied the attention of courts and ethics committees, which over the years have developed a significant body of case law and ethics opinions addressing myriad issues relating to client files. Existing guidance, however, largely is directed to a world of “hard copy” files where pieces of paper neatly assembled within file folders invite a property-based analysis whenever disagreements over possession or access arise.

This article discusses the effects of digitizing client files and firm information in light of lawyer mobility and evaluates the existing framework of law and ethics developed largely in a world of hard copies. The article also offers some practical suggestions for firms seeking to assert greater control over client information and firm intellectual property.

Keywords: law firm, intellectual property

JEL Classification: K20, L21

Suggested Citation

Hillman, Robert W. and Rhodes, Allison, Client Files and Digital Law Practices: Rethinking Old Concepts in an Era of Lawyer Mobility (September 23, 2010). Suffolk University Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 897, 2010; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 236. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1681677

Robert William Hillman (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States
530-752-8020 (Phone)

Allison Rhodes

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
398
Rank
60,388
Abstract Views
2,991