Law firms are notorious for accumulating box after box of sensitive case files and other confidential information. Attorneys are held to high standards when it comes to protecting client information.
Files must be kept for a certain period of time after the case closes, and some files may not be destroyed. RPC 209 requires that attorneys keep documents for a minimum of six years after a case closes before document shredding can occur.
However, items such as estate documents, real estate documents and some financial documents should be kept forever. An attorney may destroy a file prior to the six-year minimum, but he or she must have permission from the client. Since files are the client’s property, the attorney also has the option of giving the file to the client.