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Document Destruction for Law Firms

Posted Date: June 30, 2014 By: Andrew Blau

Shredding Legal Documents

Shred One provides document destruction services for law firms and other legal organizations. We assist in keeping your firm compliant with state and federal regulations and in lowering the risk of theft of confidential client information. Creating a legal document destruction policy based on your state's retention recommendations is the first step. Next, let Shred One create a custom shredding service for your firm to handle closed and abandoned files.

The Rules of Document Destruction

Guidance on the disposition of legal files comes from the ABA's 1977 Informal Opinion 1384, Disposition of a Lawyer's Closed or Dormant Files Relating to Representation of or Services to Clients. These rules outline how to use discretion when keeping or destroying legal documents and to keep records of all documents that are destroyed. The ABA states, "In disposing of a file, a lawyer should protect the confidentiality of the contents." Modifications of the Opinion have been made state-by-state, and in most states attorneys need look no further than the Rules of Professional Conduct which prohibit unauthorized disclosure of information regarding representation of a client. The fact that a legal file exists is, in and of itself, confidential to the client, mandating proper destruction of the file after its retention. Refer to your own state's laws and guidelines before destroying any client files.

Create a Document Destruction Policy

Create a formal document destruction policy for your firm to stay compliant and for a more organized, efficient process. With procedures in place, you'll be less likely to have irrelevant and abandoned documents taking up space in storage. You'll also be protecting your clients and your firm from the threat of identity theft.

Your policy should include:

  • Procedure for closing files
  • Procedure for storage of closed files
  • Schedule for periodic review of closed files
  • Designation of individuals responsible for reviewing files
  • Legal records retention schedule detailing periods for documents to be destroyed and guidelines for files that should never be destroyed
  • Procedure for informing clients of file destruction policy upon engagement
  • Procedure for contacting clients regarding closed files before destruction
  • Shred One for Legal Document Destruction Services

    Need help establishing a document destruction policy and schedule for your law firm? Call Shred One today for a consultation. We'll create a custom shredding service to regularly rid your office of legal documents beyond their retention periods. We offer free, secure storage containers with our regularly scheduled service and we work around your firm's schedule. You'll receive a Certificate of Destruction with every shredding, keeping your firm in compliance with state and federal rules.