Records Retention and Management

Among the many law office management problems faced by lawyers, records retention and management is a large one. What should be done with client files for matters that are long closed? Storage space has become prohibitively expensive for some firms, and others have simply run out of space. So lawyers are now looking for ways to minimize storage requirements, while protecting their client's confidential documents and preserving information that would assist in the defense of a possible malpractice claim.

Without proper forethought and planning, a retiring or deceased lawyer's storage requirements can be large and indefinite. Do you know the best ways to ensure you don't become a permanent warehouse for client files? Do you know how long to retain client files?

In the wake of the decisions in Zubulake I through Zubulake IV, proper management of records, both written and electronic, has become increasingly important for attorneys and their clients. Having a written records management plan which is well communicated and followed can protect your firm, and your clients.

Attorneys must also understand the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and their impact on records management and retention. Electronic discovery and even computer forensics have now entered the arena of records management. And finally, all attorneys must understand issues related to metadata in documents.

To educate yourself on the concepts and find tools for addressing the challenges, this section is an invaluable starting point.