June 12, 2012
Keeping Old Client Files
A recent Nebraska Ethics Advisory Opinion overrules an earlier opinion regarding retention/disposal of client files. The new opinion relies on changes in the rules of conduct.
The opinion concludes that client files may be destroyed five years after the end of the representation. The attorney is obligated to make reasonable efforts to contact the client before the files are discarded, which may include Facebook and Goggle searches. If there are documents of value, it may be appropriate to hire a private investigator or attempt to contact the client by publication.
The effort required to contact the client is "proportionate with the value and importance of the file materials..." (Mike Frisch)
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