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File Closure, Retention & Destruction for Law Firms

In our latest White Paper, our partners at Legal Compliance Services outline the considerations for Law Firms in developing an effective policy for the closure, storage and destruction of client files.

The issue of how long firms should keep closed client files is complex. There are no hard and fast rules and it is impossible to apply a one-size-fits-all approach. The SRA Handbook does not deal with the issue specifically, and the Law Society’s guidance is limited to trust and will files. With this lack of certainty, and the risk of possible claims or complaints against the firm if documents are wrongly destroyed, it is easy to see why many firms simply archive all their closed files, often indefinitely. However, the Information Commissioner has said that retaining personal data on a ‘just in case’ basis - or without taking into account the circumstances and context – would not be compliant with the Data Protection Act. The SRA is also pressing firms to deal with historic archiving issues, having incurred huge costs in archiving and storing the files of firms it has intervened in.

Firms need to tackle this issue head-on rather than accumulate problems (and costs) for the future. The starting point is having an effective policy for the closure, storage and destruction of client files. In this White Paper, we offer detailed guidance on factors to consider, including:

  • Closure of Client Files
  • Storage of Closed Files
  • Destruction of Closed Files
  • How Long Should Law Firms Store Closed Client Files?
  • What Does The SRA Say?
  • Files And Documents That Need To Be Kept For Longer
  • Electronic File Storage
  • Law Firm Closure - Disposal Or Storage Of Files
  • Recommended Minimum Retention Periods
  • Exceptions / Reasons For Storing Files For Longer
  • Original Documents That Should Be Retained Indefinitely

  • To read or download the full White Paper, just click below.

View White Paper

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