September 5, 2007
The Arizona bar has opined on issues relating to maintaining client files solely in an electronic format, concluding that "[i]n appropriate cases, a lawyer may keep current and closed files as electronic images in an attempt to maintain a paperless law practice or to more economically store files." The lawyer cannot destroy original documents without client consent but may destroy copies of documents after conversion to electronic format unless "the lawyer has reason to know that the client wants the lawyer to retain them."
Speaking of file storage, here's a summary of recently imposed discipline from the web page of the Virginia Bar:
"On August 21, 2007, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Ellen Frances Ericsson’s license to practice law. Ms. Ericsson closed her law practice in May 2006 but maintained client files at an off-site storage facility. In January 2007 the cabinets containing client files were publicly auctioned due to Ms. Ericsson’s failure to pay rent for the storage unit. The failure to pay rent and the subsequent auction constituted abandonment of client files and failure to protect private and confidential client information. Ms. Ericsson consented to the revocation." (Mike Frisch)
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