Legal Documents Law Firms Need To Shred

Posted by Ryan Richard

Law firms must keep client documents for a set number of years depending on the type of file. Some documents, such as wills, trusts and other estate planning documents should be kept for at least the lifetime of the client. However, if all files were kept forever, it would become a financial burden because of the space those files take. After the requisite number of years have passed, those files may be destroyed after notifying the client.

Legal Document Storage

Law firms should know how to store legal documents, even with the advent of electronic files and electronic filing. Paper documents should be kept under lock and key with only the necessary staff having access. Electronic files should be password protected. Only those staff members working on any case should have access to that case. Several regulations dictate what confidential and personal information should be stored, and this includes client information and case files. In addition to federal regulations, North Carolina has laws regarding disposal of confidential information.

Documents Law Firms Should Shred

Learning how to shred case files isn’t as simple is chucking the entire file into a shredder. Some documents should be kept, such as retainer agreements and final judgments, especially those that dictate payment from one party to another or dissolution of marriage final judgments that include alimony or child support rulings.

Documents that may be shredded as soon as the statutory time limit up includes:

  • Depositions of clients and copies of depositions for opposing parties;

  • Bank statements for law firms;

  • Client and opposing party discovery documents including:

    • Bank statements;

    • Copies of deeds used for discovery purposes;

    • Copies of vehicle titles used for discovery purposes;

    • Any other financial documents produced by the plaintiff or defendant for purposes of discovery;

    • Copies of contracts between plaintiffs and defendants; and

    • Any other discovery documents.

  • Client credit reports;

  • Correspondence between attorneys and other attorneys, attorneys and the courts, and attorneys and the client;

  • Demand letters;

  • Police reports;

  • Witness depositions;

  • Any financial affidavits provided by the client or the opposing party; and

  • Other case file information that you are not required to keep.

Shredding for law firms is not limited to client files. Additionally, firm records such as human resource information for employees no longer working for the firm, the firm’s financial records and staff information should be shredded.

Reasons to Shred Documents

Since state and federal regulations dictate that personal and confidential information must be kept confidential, the only way you are able to ensure the information stays confidential after it leaves your office is to shred it. Shredding legal documents doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, using a company like Carolina Shred keeps you from paying an employee for hours of paper shredding. It also ensures that those documents are not leaked by an irate employee.

When you set up a contract with us, we will provide locked shred boxes to store documents that are ready to be shredded. Once the boxes are full, our mobile shredding truck will come to your business. You are able to watch as the locked boxes are transferred to our truck and shredded right in your parking lot. Should you have digital media that needs to be shredded, including hard drives and USB drives, we will also shred those items. After shredding confidential information, we provide you with a certificate of destruction.

Contact Carolina Shred

Contact Carolina Shred today to set up an account and get locked shred boxes for law firm files and other confidential information that you are no longer required to keep.  Schedule you shredding service today.