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Legal Ethics Practice of Law Starting a Law Practice

How Long Do You Have to Keep Client Files?

young lawyer considering whether to use a motion in limine to include evidenceYou’d think there would be a straightforward answer to this question, but unfortunately there’s no clear rule under California law. Here’s a look at the ways this issue is approached and how to best protect yourself.

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New Lawyers Practice of Law Starting a Law Practice

You Should Have a Client File Retention Policy: Here’s a Sample

Attorneys maintain files on their clients’ cases with documents (and sometimes other property) that clients have provided in connection with those cases. These files have to be returned to the client, at a client’s request, when the attorney’s “employment has terminated,” subject to “any protective order or nondisclosure agreement.” Cal Rules of Prof Cond 3–700(D)(1). Given this rule, it’s imperative that attorneys establish an office policy on the retention and disposition (including destruction) of client files, and notify clients of this policy.

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New Lawyers Practice of Law Starting a Law Practice

What to Tell Clients About Their Files at the End of the Case

Case files routinely contain documents (and sometimes other property) that clients have provided. The California Rules of Professional Conduct require that an attorney return these items, at a client’s request, when the attorney’s “employment has terminated” (subject to “any protective order or nondisclosure agreement”). Cal Rules of Prof Cond 3–700(D)(1). Here’s sample language that you can use in a letter to a client at the end of the case.

Categories
New Lawyers Practice of Law Starting a Law Practice

A Client Shouldn’t Be Just a Number to You, Except in Your Filing System

GettyImages_178895760You’ve started a law practice and the clients are beginning to arrive. How will you organize your client files? Your first thought may be to use an alphabetical system by client name. Big mistake. Instead, stick to numbers.

Categories
Civil Litigation Litigation Strategy Pretrial Matters

Your Trial Notebook Starts with Your Files

files_163042Not sure where to begin on your trial notebook? Start with your office files.

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New Lawyers Practice of Law

Return to Sender

The files you keep on your clients’ cases usually include documents (and sometimes other property) that your clients have given to you in connection with their cases. What happens to all this stuff when you’re no longer on the case? The answer: You’ve got to give it back.

Categories
Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy New Lawyers

Key to Conducting an Effective Trial: Organization

Being effective at trial requires the highest level of organization and preparation. Any disorganization or unpreparedness will show, and it can undermine a case. The best time to start organizing trial materials is when setting up the files at the inception of the case.