Ethical Considerations of Client File Retention in a Technological Age

Publication

Ethical Considerations of Client File Retention in a Technological Age

By Seth S. Gomm

Many legal practitioners have offices that curiously appear to be decorated with mounds and towers of paper and file boxes, which may or may not be arranged into a functioning organizational system. The ethical storage and maintenance of client files can seem like an overwhelming endeavor, and thus often is put off to be conquered at some future time. Many firms and practitioners can't quite remember what is actually contained in the numerous file boxes that have been laid to rest in a corner or closet of their offices but nonetheless require expensive rented space to accommodate them. Understanding what to keep, how long to keep it, and how it can be stored is an initial hurdle that can be overcome with a few simple principles found in the ethics rules and in opinions issued by various state bar ethics committees.

Firms and practitioners that practice and operate in the present-day market must contend with the realities of the technologies that have infiltrated nearly every aspect of modern society. Internet and e-mail have opened up vast oceans of electronic information that can be easily searched, uploaded, downloaded, and printed or transmitted almost instantaneously. Ironically, the technological advances of the last two decades have buried firms in data, paper, and informational resources. Although it would seem that technology and digital information should decrease paper, electronic documents tend to generate even more paper. According to an article published in the ABA Journal, "[a]n information orientation ideally focuses on knowledge, not pages"; however, "[t]echnology has produced a paper blizzard." The authors estimate that the average law firm has accumulated more dead paper files in the last ten years than in the fifty years preceding. To handle this deluge of physical files, firms must find a solution that is efficient, cost-effective, and ethical.

This article addresses ethical considerations with regard to appropriate client file retention and discusses what technological options and resources a firm has available in implementing an efficient file retention system. The article presents an overview of selected rules and principles from the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct (Colorado Rules or Colo. RPC), opinions from the American Bar Association (ABA), formal guidance from the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Ethics Committee, opinions from other state ethics committees addressing topics that Colorado has not yet formally addressed, and other relevant articles and resources.

This article explains that rather than simply adopting a "keep everything" policy or a bright-line rule mandating the indiscriminate destruction of an entire client file, a firm should use common sense and selective determination as to what portions of a client file should be preserved or destroyed. For example:

  • Certain documents should never be destroyed because of the original and possibly irreplaceable nature of the documents.
  • Before destroying a file, a firm should always try to obtain client consent from affected clients.
  • A firm may consider an electronic storage system as an efficient and cost-effective alternative to paper file storage to prevent accidental premature file disposal and to help free up valuable physical storage space.
  • A firm may use third-party services to electronically store client files so long as the firm ensures that the third party preserves client confidentiality and maintains other safeguards as required by the Colorado Rules.

Colorado Ethics Rules Regarding File Retention

There are several Colorado Rules that establish an ethical obligation to preserve and retain client records:

  1. Colo. RPC 1.6 requires the lawyer to maintain the confidentiality of client information.
  2. Colo. RPC 1.15(b) requires the lawyer to safeguard client funds and property that are entrusted to the lawyer.
  3. Colo. RPC 1.16(b) requires the lawyer, on termination of a representation, to take reasonably practicable steps to continue to protect the client's interests and to surrender to the client the documents and property to which the client is entitled.

Colo. RPC 1.15 states that some client records that pertain specifically to a client's account must be retained for at least seven years. These records include:

  1. receipts and disbursement records of all deposits and withdrawals made from accounts that contain client funds;
  2. records that identify each separate trust client for all trust accounts, showing the source and the amount of all funds deposited in such accounts, the names of the persons for whom the funds are or were held, the description and amounts of charges or withdrawals from such accounts, and the names of the persons to whom such funds were disbursed;
  3. records of all retainer and compensation agreements entered into with clients;
  4. records of all statements to clients that show the disbursement of funds to the client on the client's behalf;
  5. records of bills issued to clients;
  6. records that show payment to persons, not in the firm's regular employment, for services rendered or performed;
  7. bank statement records and canceled checks; and
  8. portions of a client's file that are reasonably necessary for a complete understanding of any financial transactions conducted.

In contingent fee cases, a firm must keep a copy of the statement of client's rights for a period of six years after the completion or settlement of the case or after the termination of services, whichever occurs first. A firm must keep copies of advertising materials for a period of four years from the date the advertising was distributed.

Creating an Ethical File Retention Policy

Although the CBA Ethics Committee has issued formal opinions on file retention or surrender obligations in the cases of withdrawal or termination of representations or in the context of liens on client papers for nonpayment, it has not issued any formal opinions on the specific obligations of attorneys to preserve and retain files after the natural conclusion of client representations. Accordingly, in formulating an ethical file retention policy, a Colorado firm may want to consider opinions from the ABA, state bar ethics committees, and Colorado commentators, which provide useful guidance in addressing particular records retention issues that are not addressed in the Colorado Rules.

To Destroy or Not to Destroy

Firms and practitioners hoping to avoid inappropriate client file destruction do not need to adopt a "keep everything" approach. The ABA has stated that a firm does not have a general duty to permanently preserve all client files. The ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has recommended that firms avoid a bright-line length of time that a file should be retained before disposal. Instead, a firm should consider the contents of each file and determine the appropriate retention time for each item. By following guidelines outlined in the Colorado Rules and elsewhere, and by using general common sense, a firm can create an ethical and efficient file retention policy.

A written retention policy that covers maintenance, storage, and destruction of client files and property is necessary for every firm and lawyer. If an attorney dies or is disabled to such an extent that he or she no longer is able to competently practice law, without a retention policy in place, the burden of dealing with the remaining client files falls to the lawyer's family or law firm. In 2007, the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel published a helpful guide that includes a handbook and forms that practitioners may use to create an ethical client file retention policy and to safeguard clients' interests in the case of the practitioner's death or disability.

Some client records should never be destroyed because they may be useful at a future time. Original records or property such as wills, deeds, and other records that may be difficult or impossible to replace may require indefinite preservation. Most records in a client file fall into one of the following categories:

  • documents and other materials provided by the client
  • correspondence between the client and the lawyer
  • correspondence between third parties and the lawyer
  • copies of briefs, pleadings, applications, and other documents prepared by the lawyer and filed with a court or administrative agency on the client's behalf
  • wills, contracts, corporate records, and other documents prepared by the lawyer for the client's use
  • law firm administrative records, such as time and expense records, as well as memoranda concerning the client's creditworthiness or potential conflicts of interest
  • materials prepared by or for the lawyer with regard to the representation, including lawyer's notes, drafts, internal memoranda, and legal and factual research materials, such as investigative reports.

Where it is clear that certain records belong to the client, the records must be provided to the client on termination of the lawyer-client relationship, unless there is a valid lien asserted on the files. With regard to the remaining records in a client's file, a firm should obtain, whenever possible, written authority from the client to dispose of the file. Written authority generally can be obtained by means of an agreement at the outset of the representation. A firm should be diligent in attempting to contact the client related to the file and determine what the client wants done with the file.

District of Columbia Opinion

The District of Columbia Bar Legal Ethics Committee explained in an opinion (DC opinion) that jurisdictions generally adopt an "end product" or an "entire file" approach when addressing the return of client materials. The DC opinion outlines a more workable means of segregating property by defining three categories of materials typically found in client files: (1) valuable client property; (2) non-valuable client property; and (3) non-client materials.

The DC opinion states that in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, a firm cannot destroy valuable client property. The property must be returned to the client or an appropriate representative of the client, turned over to the state pursuant to the state's unclaimed property laws, or preserved indefinitely by the firm. Relying on the District of Columbia's version of Colo. RPC 1.15(a), the DC opinion states that a firm may destroy non-valuable client property, which is not reasonably necessary to protect a client's interests, five years after the end of representation of the client, if the client cannot be located (Colo. RPC Rule 1.15(a) requires a minimum retention period of seven years for certain documents). Finally, a firm may destroy non-valuable materials that do not belong to the client or to any client-related party at any time.

The DC opinion concludes that the firm is responsible for all costs associated with preserving a client's valuable property; however, the firm may charge the client the reasonable costs associated with preserving the client's non-valuable file materials.

Colorado's Recommendations for Records Retention

Finally, members of the CBA Ethics Committee have provided advice relating to the subject of records retention under the Colorado Rules. Several suggestions are listed below:

  • Determine whether the retention of client material is regulated by federal or state statute or applicable court rules.
  • Do not destroy or discard original documents or other items the client might reasonably expect to be returned without the client's express consent.
  • Do not destroy or discard information that the lawyer knows or should know may be necessary or useful in asserting or defending the client's position in matters for which the applicable statute of limitations period has not run.
  • Do not destroy or discard information that a client may reasonably expect the lawyer to preserve, including information that:
    • the client may need in the future;
    • the lawyer has not previously given to the client; or
    • the client cannot readily access.
  • Use discretion and common sense in determining the length of time for retention or disposition of a file; the nature and contents of some files may require a longer retention period than others, based on their relevance and materiality to matters that can reasonably be expected to arise in the future.
  • Take care to preserve accurate and complete records of the lawyer's receipt and reimbursement of trust funds.
  • Take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of a closed file's contents when discarding or destroying it.
  • Carefully screen the contents of each file to ensure that its destruction will not adversely affect the interests of the client.
  • Keep a written index of files that have been discarded or destroyed.
  • Establish uniform procedures for discarding or destroying closed client files when client consent cannot be obtained.

Benefits and Risks of Electronic Storage

The ABA found, based on an informal survey, that a lawyer at a large firm may consume up to 100,000 sheets-or one-half ton-of copy paper each year. Another study found that by changing to a digital paperless solution, one large New York law firm could reduce paper consumption by 400 cases, saving $10,000 in paper costs, $120,000 in office space costs, and almost 250 trees in the process. Many firms have found competitive marketing advantage in supporting environmentally friendly initiatives and creating the image of being a "green" organization. By implementing an electronic file retention system, a firm can more easily point to efforts it has made to become an environmentally friendly organization in its marketing materials and use the system as an explanation for its electronic storage policy in its client engagement agreements.

Many firms lease office space in high-rent districts and struggle with ensuring that they lease the right amount of space based on forecasted business growth. David Masters, a small firm general practitioner based in Montrose, Colorado, has written several books and articles on the use of information technology in the practice of law. Masters has stated that "[h]owever it's measured, available space for digital document storage is vast, and the cost is low."

Masters explained that a standard filing cabinet (which may cost about $900) has a functional footprint of 71/2 square feet, accounting for the actual space of the cabinet and the space needed to open and close its drawers. To build that 71/2 square feet would cost $1,125 (at $150 per square foot) and then, among other costs, the space must be heated, insured, and have taxes paid on it. Renting the same space could cost $112.50 per year (at $15 per square foot), plus utilities, insurance, and taxes. In contrast, Masters explains that an entire four-drawer filing cabinet that holds approximately 40,000 pages requires only 2 gigabytes (GB) of space. A single DVD can hold 4.7 GB of information, or the equivalent of two, four-drawer filing cabinets. A 500 GB hard disk drive (with a footprint about the size of a paperback book) can store the equivalent of 250 filing cabinet drawers, or about 10 million pages of information, and currently sells for less than $100.

Clients and firms alike may appreciate that they are not paying for unnecessary high-rent storage space by instead using electronic storage. Although electronic storage is not free, there are various solutions an information technology specialist may recommend that could prove to be cost-effective for any firm. Clients also may feel more at ease with the knowledge that a firm that uses electronic storage of client documents may quickly and inexpensively search and deliver a stored client document to the client.

There are many other benefits that a firm can realize by choosing to store its client files in an electronic format. Currently, many client files are created or digitally scanned into an electronic format, such as a portable document format (PDF) or Microsoft Word. Many facsimile transmissions are sent and received as electronic files with the option to print such files, if desired by the recipient, rather than automatically printing into paper form. Use of e-mail and the Internet is commonplace in nearly every organization and often is used as the primary form of communication and research, both internally by personnel within the organization and externally with clients and customers. Unfortunately, much of the data and files often are stored in fragmented storage systems and can make responsible and ethical client file retention more difficult.

Care and Accountability in Storing Information

Electronic files often are e-mailed or uploaded to personal computers or servers separately maintained by clients and firms alike. Although a client letter in paper form seems to always find its home in a client file, many e-mails with attached documents and important client information may be stored on an individual personal computer or on a separate firm e-mail system that is at risk of never being matched to its companion client file. Care should be taken to ensure that all forms of information related to a client matter are appropriately reviewed, analyzed, and assigned to a centralized client file.

Firms should assign accountability to personnel within the organization, whether they are information technology specialists, legal administrative assistants, paralegals, or the attorneys themselves. The responsibility of ensuring that client files are maintained according to the firm's client file retention policy belongs to all. Ensuring that the firm has sufficient searchable backups of e-mail systems and other data storage systems is an important component to an ethical electronic storage system.

Data Rooms

Virtual data rooms (also known as "deal rooms") are becoming more popular among attorneys involved in complex litigation or corporate restructuring engagements. Data rooms are remote databases that are accessed through the Internet that enable parties with password-protected clearance to quickly search, download, and upload particular documents in electronic format. Data rooms provide a means for parties who would otherwise provide or receive hundreds of file boxes in the course of discovery or due diligence to almost instantaneously receive the documents and have them available for review. Data rooms allow practitioners to quickly and efficiently organize and review disclosed information and search for particular documents. As long as the firm or practitioner properly and ethically stores the information provided to them, they may choose to print only those items they want to have stored or reviewed in paper format.

When information is stored as physical paper files, loss of client information can occur through theft, fire, and water damage. To properly safeguard against such destruction of paper files, a firm may choose to copy all client files and store duplicated files at an offsite location. However, the burden of managing changes to physical files can become expensive and cumbersome. By using an electronic system, new documents can easily be added to an electronic file and all contents of the electronic file can be backed up regularly and consistently to prevent permanent loss.

Preserving Electronic Data

As with any electronic information, firms and clients face the risk of data becoming lost or stolen through malicious worms, viruses, hackers, theft, or natural disaster. Electronic data cannot simply be stored in electronic format and forgotten. Even without threat of natural disaster or malicious programs, electronic storage systems can be compromised and data can become corrupted. Experts estimate that CD-R and CD-RW data storage discs have a conservative unrecorded (blank disc) shelf life of five to ten years; however, manufacturers of such discs claim that the recorded (data-written disc) shelf life could be anywhere from twenty to 200 years. Even writing on the surface of a disc with ink can bleed through and corrupt data contained on a disc. Hard drives also can become subject to naturally occurring data corruption. Care must be taken by firms to ensure that electronically stored data is adequately protected and regularly backed-up to several independent locations. Regardless of a firm's position on the paper to electronic storage system spectrum, firms should conduct periodic technology audits to learn how the firm can increase efficiencies, save costs, and discover any lurking problems before they turn into disasters.

Radio Frequency Identification for Physical Files

With regard to physical client files, a firm may consider implementing a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system that can track the actual location of physical files by transmitting radio waves to a receiver. RFID tags are small, flat, and inexpensive computer chips that can be applied like a decal on any item. Many large retailers have been using RFID tags for several years to track their inventory. Even the U.S. military uses RFID tags to track its supplies and equipment. Some Colorado firms have begun using RFID tags in physical client files to track a file's location within its offices. Using such technology can help a firm ensure that it acts as an ethical custodian of its clients' files by preventing loss or accidental destruction.

Implementing an Electronic Storage System

Most practitioners justifiably believe that the use of their time is most valuably allocated to their active engagement in the ethical practice of law. Client file retention policies may not be high on a practitioner's priority list, but nevertheless, an efficient electronic client file retention system can be easily implemented and maintained with some focused effort. Although paper files and physical documents may never cease to exist, there is no reason to force information into a physical paper format. Firms should focus their client file preservation efforts to digitally handle information in databases, not in paper files. Firms could even aspire to have paper files as thin as they were sixty years ago.

In an effort to be conservatively cautious, a firm may consider converting all paper files to electronic format before discarding the contents of a client file. Although electronic storage can be a reasonable solution to client file retention, some care must be taken by the firm when it electronically archives client files. There may be items such as original wills, deeds, or other client property that the client would reasonably expect the firm to preserve in its original format.

The data density of computer chips has in the recent past, and should for the foreseeable future, double every eighteen months. With technological innovation progressing so quickly, firms that electronically store client files must plan to regularly update their systems and software so that clients will be able to access an electronically transmitted file. Currently, PDF files appear to be the most commonly used format for document storage and transmission. As new software and technology are used, firms will want to ensure that the manufacturer offers programs that will automatically reformat electronically stored files to the new format. Firms also must be sure to regularly replace obsolete hardware and update security measures as new malicious software is created that could compromise the firm's electronic storage system safeguards.

National Examples of Electronic File Preservation

Although the CBA Ethics Committee has not issued a formal opinion addressing electronic file preservation, other state bar ethics committees have addressed the issue and have made some notable recommendations. For example, a Maine ethics opinion advised that although a firm generally does not have to keep paper copies, the firm should consider the client's access and understanding of the technology used to electronically store the files. A firm should maintain copies of the software used to create the files so that the firm or client will be able to access the files after the software has become obsolete.

Ethics committees in Maine, Virginia, and Missouri agree that a firm should, if possible, first obtain client consent before discarding the paper copies of a client file, even if the firm has already created an electronic version of the documents. As previously mentioned, the firm may obtain consent on all future client files by incorporating such consent into its engagement agreements.

The New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics advised that not all electronic client files need to be stored on-site at the firm offices. Files could be stored on a remote server maintained by an outside, third-party company, as long as the firm ensures that the company has appropriate safeguards in place that are compatible with the professional obligations of lawyers to use reasonable care to preserve client confidentiality. There are many third-party providers of data storage services that are accustomed to dealing with firms of all sizes and offer a variety of packages and price points. The New Jersey committee explained what constitutes "reasonable care" in the context of using an offsite client file storage and maintenance provider:

The touchstone in using "reasonable care" against unauthorized disclosures is that: (1) the lawyer has entrusted such documents to an outside provider under circumstances in which there is an enforceable obligation to preserve confidentiality and security, and (2) use is made of available technology to guard against reasonably foreseeable attempts to infiltrate the data. If the lawyer has come to the prudent professional judgment he has satisfied both [of] these criteria, then "reasonable care" will have been exercised.

Conclusion

A firm may create an ethical electronic client file retention policy that comports with the Colorado Rules, ABA guidelines, and state ethics opinions. When possible, a firm should obtain client consent before destroying files in a client file. Common sense and individual file review should be used when deciding what client records can be discarded. A firm may use an electronic storage system to further ensure ethical file retention while eliminating much of the physical space and expense that traditional paper files demand.

Electronic storage of client files is a reality of our modern day. Although paper files might never be completely eliminated, practitioners and firms now have many resources available that enable them to move closer to a paperless office. With the paper towers and file boxes that normally impose on a practitioner's office being neatly converted into electronic format, a lawyer may finally have room to display those treasured family photos or a potted plant.

Notes

  1. Beckham and Hirsch, "Hidden Cost of Paper: Expense Recovery's Biggest Issue: Should You Print it All?" ABA J. (Feb. 2004), available at www.abajournal.com/magazine/hidden_costs_of_paper/print.
  2. Id.
  3. Micklewright, "Understanding File Retention: Developing an Ethical Policy and Plan-Part I," 30 The Colorado Lawyer 147, 147 (Oct. 2001).
  4. Id. at 151, note 2.
  5. Id.citing C.R.C.P. Ch. 23.3, Rules Governing Contingent Fees, Rule 4(b).
  6. Id., citing Colo. RPC 7.2(b) and 7.3(c)(5).
  7. See generally Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Ethics Comm. Formal Op. 104: Surrender of Papers to Client Upon Termination of the Representation (adopted April 17, 1999), available at www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/386/subID/1825/Ethics-Opinion-104:-Surrender-of-Papers-to-the-Client-Upon-Termination-of-the-Representation,-04/17.
  8. See generally CBA Ethics Comm. Formal Op. 82: Assertion of Attorney's Retaining Lien on Client's Papers" (adopted April 15, 1989, addendum issued 1995), available at www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/386/subID/1803/CETH/Ethics-Opinion-82:-Assertion-of-Attorney's-Retaining-Lien-on-Client's-Papers,-04/15/89;-Addendum-Iss.
  9. Micklewright, supra note 3 at 147-48. See CBA Ethics Comm. Formal Op. 104, supra note 7 (stating "[t]his opinion also does not address the specific obligations of the lawyer to retain and preserve files after closure of the representation.").
  10. American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Prof. Responsibility, Materials on Client File Retention, available at www.abanet.org/cpr/ethicsearch/file_retention.html.
  11. ABA Comm. on Ethics and Prof. Responsibility Informal Op. 1384 (March 14, 1977): Disposition of a Lawyer's Closed or Dormant Files Relating to Representation of or Services to Clients, available at www.abanet.org/cpr/ethicsearch/lawyer.html.
  12. Id. See also Micklewright, supra note 3 at 150; Nemchek "Records Retention in the Private Legal Environment: Annotated Bibliography and Program Implementation Tools," 93 Law Libr. J. 7, 46 (2001), available at www.aallnet.org/products/pub_llj_v93n01/2001_01.pdf.
  13. Materials on Client File Retention, supra note 11.
  14. Micklewright, supra note 3 at 148.
  15. See generally Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, "Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients' Interests in the Event of Your Disability or Death (One of Which is Inevitable)" (2007), available at www.cobar.org/repository/LPM%20Dept/JohnGleasonTransitionsComm.pdf?ID=20360.
  16. Micklewright, supra note 3, at 147.
  17. Id. at 148.
  18. Id.
  19. Id., citing Colo. RPC 1.15(b) and 1.16(d).
  20. Id. at 150.
  21. District of Columbia Bar Legal Ethics Comm. Op. 283: Disposition of Closed Client Files (adopted July 15, 1998), available at www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/ethics/legal_ethics/opinions/opinion283.cfm.
  22. Id.
  23. Id.
  24. Id. See Colo. RPC Rule 1.15(a).
  25. Id.
  26. Id.
  27. Micklewright, supra note 3, at 148-49, citing Truhlar and de Raismes, "Coping with the Paper Avalanche: A Survey on the Disposition of Client Files," 16 The Colorado Lawyer 1787-94 (Oct. 1987).
  28. ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Change WasteWise Program, available at www.abanet.org/environ/climatechallenge/officepaperandwastewise.pdf.
  29. "Preaching to the Quire: The Big Benefits (and Small Costs) of Reducing Office Paper," The Green Business Letter 5 (Aug. 2004), available at www.greenorder.com/pdf/news/GBL_8.04.pdf.
  30. Masters, "Setting Up the Paperless Office," GPSolo Magazine (Dec. 2003), available at www.abanet.org/genpractice/magazine/2003/dec/setuppaperless.html.
  31. Id.
  32. Id.
  33. Eley, "Another Reason to Celebrate Arbor Day," The Docket (Nov. 2003), available at www.denbar.org/docket/doc_articles.cfm?ArticleID=3165.
  34. Masters, "Seven Steps for Going Paper-Free: The Wonderful World of PDF Digital Work Flow," Law Practice 38 (March 2008), available at www.abanet.org/lpm/magazine/articles/v34/is2/pg38.shtml.
  35. Shearer, "E-Discovery Leads the Evolution of Due Diligence," 42 Mergers & Acquisitions: The Dealmaker's J. 48, 48-49 (June 2007).
  36. Eley, supra note 33.
  37. See Hahn and Layne-Farrar, "The Law and Economics of Software Security," 30 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 283, 293 (2006); Hadow, "Data Security for Libraries: Prevent Problems, Don't Detect Them," 55 Feliciter 50, 50 (2009).
  38. Bennett, "Understanding CD-R & CD-RW," Optical Storage Technology Association 32-33 (Jan. 2003), available at www.osta.org/technology/pdf/cdr_cdrw.pdf.
  39. Dorner, What to Do Until the Next Crisis Arrives, 44 Fed. Law. 36, 37 (June 1997).
  40. Hard drives can be corrupted through a phenomenon called "bit flipping" in which a spontaneous switch of the bit value from 1 to 0 or from 0 to 1 occurs. Bit flipping can be corrected by using bit-mapping software. Losey, "HASH: The New Bates Stamp," 12 J. Tech. L. & Pol'y 1, n.109 (June 2007), available at ralphlosey.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/hasharticlelosey.pdf. Even conducting routine maintenance, such as running reorganization and optimization utilities, can corrupt data on a hard drive. Hadow, supra note 37 at 50.
  41. See generally Kennedy, "Countdown to Savings: Technology Audits Can Pay Off Big-Time," ABA J. (July 2009), available at www.abajournal.com/magazine/countdown_to_savings.
  42. Lacy, "RFID: Plenty of Mixed Signals," Business Week (Jan. 31, 2005), available at www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2005/tc20050131_5897_tc024.htm.
  43. Field, "Real-time without RFID," 9 J. Commerce 25 (Dec. 15, 2008), available at www.joc.com/node/408501.
  44. Kamlet Reichert Press Release, "Kamlet Shepherd First in Rocky Mountain Region to Adopt Unique File Tracking System: Radio Frequency Technology Locates and Manages Files" (July 2006), available at www.kamletlaw.com/NewsPage.aspx?id=PressReleases&article=PressReleases00067998.
  45. Beckman and Hirsch, supra note 1.
  46. Jorgensen, "File Retention Policies and Requirements," 61 Bench and Bar of Minn. 12 (Dec. 2004), available at www2.mnbar.org/benchandbar/2004/dec04/prof_response.htm.
  47. Geraghty, "From Paper to Kilobytes II," ABA Center for Prof. Responsibility (May 2007), available at www.abanet.org/cpr/about/paper_kilobytes.html.
  48. Id.
  49. Aston, "More Life for Moore's Law," Business Week (June 20, 2005), available at www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_25/b3938629.htm.
  50. See generally Colorado E-File Best Business Practices (Feb. 28, 2006), available at www.cobar.org/Docs/cobestbuspractices.pdf (practitioners are encouraged to review all of the recommendations made by the Colorado Judicial E-Filing Committee before implementing an electronic storage system or E-Filing a document with the Colorado courts).
  51. Geraghty, supra note 46, citing Maine Bd. of Overseers Prof. Ethics Op. 183: Electronic Documents (Jan. 28, 2004), available at www.mebaroverseers.org/Ethics%20Opinions/Opinion%20183.htm. See also Materials on Client File Retention, supra note 8.
  52. Id., citing Maine Bd. of Overseers Prof. Ethics Op. 183, supra note 51; Virginia State Bar Legal Ethics Op. 1818: Whether the Client's File May Contain Only Electronic Documents with No Paper Retention (Sept. 30, 2005), available at www.vacle.org/opinions/1818.htm; and Missouri Legal Ethics Counsel Informal Advisory Op. 20010147 (untitled and undated), available at www.mobar.org/mobarforms/opinionResult.aspx.
  53. Id., citing New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Comm. on Prof. Ethics Op. 701: Electronic Storage and Access of Client Files (2006), available at lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/ethics/acpe/acp701_1.html.
  54. New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Comm. on Prof. Ethics Op. 701, supra note 53.
  55. See Appel, "The Practical Paperless Office," 37 The Colorado Lawyer 55 (Jan. 2008) (for a step-by-step system for converting paper documents into electronic documents and integrating them into a single filing system).

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