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AZCLE® is a department of the State Bar of Arizona. A leader in education, AZCLE® is at the forefront of programming trends. We offer the latest CLE programs as well as a catalog of more than 200 CLE OnDemand, CLE2GO and Self Study programs. For all of our seminars, check out the CLE Calendar.

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Law Practice Tip

What does your document retention policy say?

Do you have a document retention policy?

You should have one in your fee agreement. Having such a policy in place will ensure clarity for both you and your clients. By communicating your document retention policy, you will be able to dispose of files when the specified period elapses. Here is a sample along with additional language pertinent for practices that maintain files electronically:

During the time we represent you, we will maintain a file relating to your legal matter. At the conclusion of the representation, we will give your file to you. After we give your file to you, information contained in your file will no longer be available through our firm. Take measures to protect your file. If we are unable to return your file to you at the conclusion of the representation, we will maintain your file for five years after representation ends. By signing this fee agreement you agree that your file may be destroyed after that five-year period ends.

[We maintain records electronically and by use of digital images and do not retain paper copies of documents, unless required by rule or statute. You may obtain paper copies of documents in your file upon request to us, with reasonable notice. By signing this fee agreement, you consent to us maintaining your file electronically]

For certain cases and situations such as those involving minors, capacity issues, or certain criminal cases, the period specified in the sample may be insufficient. You should also check with your malpractice insurance provider to see what kind of document retention length they require. To more thoroughly understand document retention issues, consult Ariz. Ethics Ops. 08-02 and 07-02. You can also call us at Practice 2.0 and we are happy to provide assistance in understanding your duties about file retention.

For more tips on ways to manage your law practice or to set up a free 30 minute consultation, contact the Practice 2.0 Hotline

at: (602) 340 - 7332 or visit our website.

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