Why would I need to pay extra fee to retrieve my own personal information from my lawyer?

I provided all of the necessary information to my immigration lawyer in order to apply for a green card. I received it and I fully paid off the legal fee that my immigration lawyer and I agreed upon. Then I asked to take my folder containing my personal information. My immigration lawyer told me that she needs to keep it and would only give it back to me if I would pay an extra fee. Why am I not allowed to take my own file after my case is done?

Asked on February 21, 2016 under Immigration Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The lawyer is required to keep a copy of the file for several years for various reasons, including insurance. The lawyer can reasonably charge you the cost to make a copy, but only the actual cost (e.g. a small amount for the time of his/her secretary to do this; or the cost if brought to a copy center). They are not required to absorb this cost themselves. They can't charge you more than the cost to make or provide the copies.

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