Is Your Law Firm Shredding Correctly?

Owning and operating a law firm is far more complex than many would imagine. In the legal field, document destruction can be a bit delicate and knowing how to navigate this sometimes difficult situation is critical. Paper shredding for law firms typically goes one of two ways. One, a document must be properly disposed of because it is a private financial document or a sensitive piece of information. If said documents are not shredded correctly, the law firms runs the risk of putting both the client and firm in legal danger. The alternative is that a law firm accidentally shreds a private financial document or a sensitive piece of information that actually violates retention policies as outlined by the United States government or state legislature.

Florida law firms must pay close attention to their document destruction policies. Without one, the firm may experience costly damages in the future, as illustrated by the Arthur Anderson LLP situation that occurred in 2001. Anderson was convicted the next year and charged with obstruction of justice because he shredded documents that were important in the Enron scandal. Law firms should pay special attention to destroy the following items:

  1. Client account numbers
  2. Documents that have the client’s social security number listed
  3. Outdated information for every client
  4. Prescriptions and medical records of a client where the case is closed
  5. Client contact information and birth date
  6. Credit card information form clients as well as other banking information

Civil and criminal penalties may be brought against any law firm that wrongfully destroys documents. As such, every law firm must pay special attention to their particular strategy when it comes to document destruction to protect their clients’ private and sensitive information. With the growth of technology in the legal industry, law firms are encouraged to meet with document destruction specialists to ensure that all proper measures are being taken. A law firm who invests in paper shredding now will save a ton of money in the long-run.

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