Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers (ALI, 2000)
§ 44. Safeguarding and Segregating Property
(1) A lawyer holding funds or other property of a client in connection with a representation, or such funds or other property in which a client claims an interest, must take reasonable steps to safeguard the funds or property. A similar obligation may be imposed by law on funds or other property so held and owned or claimed by a third person. In particular, the lawyer must hold such property separate from the lawyer’s property, keep records of it, deposit funds in an account separate from the lawyer’s own funds, identify tangible objects, and comply with related requirements imposed by regulatory authorities.
(2) Upon receiving funds or other property in a professional capacity and in which a client or third person owns or claims an interest, a lawyer must promptly notify the client or third person. The lawyer must promptly render a full accounting regarding such property upon request by the client or third person.
§ 45. Surrendering Possession of Property
(1) Except as provided in Subsection (2), a lawyer must promptly deliver, to the client or nonclient so entitled, funds or other property in the lawyer’s possession belonging to a client or nonclient.
(2) A lawyer may retain possession of funds or other property of a client or nonclient if:
(a) the client or nonclient consents;
(b) the lawyer’s client is entitled to the property, the lawyer appropriately possesses the property for purposes of the representation, and the client has not asked for delivery of the property;
(c) the lawyer has a valid lien on the property (see § 43);
(d) there are substantial grounds for dispute as to the person entitled to the property; or
(e)delivering the property to the client or nonclient would violate a court order or other legal obligation of the lawyer.
§ 46. Documents Relating to a Representation
(1) A lawyer must take reasonable steps to safeguard documents in the lawyer’s possession relating to the representation of a client or former client.
(2) On request, a lawyer must allow a client or former client to inspect and copy any document possessed by the lawyer relating to the representation, unless substantial grounds exist to refuse.
(3) Unless a client or former client consents to nondelivery or substantial grounds exist for refusing to make delivery, a lawyer must deliver to the client or former client, at an appropriate time and in any event promptly after the representation ends, such originals and copies of other documents possessed by the lawyer relating to the representation as the client or former client reasonably needs.
(4) Notwithstanding Subsections (2) and (3), a lawyer may decline to deliver to a client or former client an original or copy of any document under circumstances permitted by § 43(1).
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