Importance of Law Firm Document Destruction

We are nearing the end of 2018, which makes it an ideal time to discuss document destruction. Since law firms deal with highly-sensitive documents on a daily basis, it’s important for all law offices to have a document destruction policy firmly in place.

Not all documents are created equal and there are a number of factors that determine if, when and how a document should be destroyed. A document shredding policy would determine what types of files should be stored and if and when they should be destroyed.

Destruction Policies Benefit Clients

Clients benefit when law firms have document destruction policies. Such policies help clients understand how long an office will keep their files and when the storage requirement expires. Document destruction policies also help law firm staff know if and when clients are to be contacted before their files are destroyed.

Why is this important? Because, it gives clients the opportunity to retrieve information from their files if they so choose before the documents are destroyed for good.

Document Destruction: It’s the Law

“Personal identifying information is often collected by businesses and government and is stored in various formats – digital and paper. At least 32 states and Puerto Rico have enacted laws that require entities to destroy, dispose, or otherwise make personal information unreadable or undecipherable,” according to the National Conference of State Legislators. In New York, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 399-H requires businesses to destroy or dispose of sensitive information.

Aside from the applicable state rules, good common sense applies to the destruction of documents in a law firm:

  • Don’t destroy documents that belong to the client.
  • Don’t destroy documents that could be used in the future, before a relevant statute of limitations has expired.
  • If you are an estate planning or probate attorney, be careful not to destroy important trust fund records.
  • Protect your clients’ confidentiality and identity when destroying their documents.
  • Exercise great discretion when deciding how long to keep certain documents.
  • If the client doesn’t have information in their possession, don’t destroy the documentation.
  • Make sure your policy includes what types of documents should not be destroyed, such as testamentary documents and birth certificates.
  • Your policy should include how hard copies and electronic copies are stored.

One of the best ways to ensure your clients’ personal information is protected is to outsource document destruction and shredding to Acro Photo Print Inc. Our team stays up-to-date on the standards established by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) and always strive to surpass their standards.

Contact us to learn more about our document destruction services in New York City.