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A Brief Document Shredding Guide For Lawyers

We can all agree that law firms tend to manage both private and confidential information, which is why document shredding is an essential aspect that will allow them to maintain the overall security of law firms.

Even though it is crucial to destroy particular client information, especially if you do not need them, some regulations state that law firms need to do it properly. 

The best way to understand the importance of shredding is by clicking here for more information. 

It does not matter if you have digital or paper documents because you need to understand the overall process that comes with destruction, storage, and collection of data.

You have to follow the rules and regulations for particular document jurisdictions and types that need to be considered. According to safety laws and standards, most law firms have to comply with security, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, and many more.

You should know that apart from federal regulations, each state comes with professional rules that you need to follow and provide notification each time personal information happens.

Documents You Cannot Dispose and Shred

  • Case Files 

When it comes to case files, you should know that these documents tend to feature both witness and client depositions, correspondence, discovery information as well as police reports, among other things.

It is much better to keep these documents safe because you may need them in the future, especially if the case gets revived, which is a common practice. 

At the same time, you will not be able to destroy real estate transactions and wills because they are essential for future situations.

  • Financial Information

It is vital to keep financial records, company data, and client credit reports based on the regulations and jurisdiction, among other things. Therefore, you need to check out how long you need to keep them, and when you can destroy them in the future.

You will learn more about document shredding in your industry regulations and state laws. It is crucial to determine whether you have the legal options to scan them into PDF to prevent storage chaos, which is common among law firms.

  • Legal Info

It is vital to have some old reference materials in hard copies depending on state and federal regulations. 

Of course, in some specific situations, you will have to purge them, but everything depends on numerous factors, such as whether docs are relevant to future cases and whether they are out-dated or not.

You should research legal materials within the legal libraries, and if you can access them, you will be able to destroy the materials with ease.

  • Human Resource Records

If your law firm comes with an in-house HR department, you will have files on your employees that feature performance evaluations, special reports, salary levels, and other private information that you need to keep.

You should retain documentation about discharging, evaluating, and hiring employees for a particular period to prevent the problems that may happen in the future.

Importance of Law Firm Document Shredding

It is vital to keep both digital and paper information secure, accurate, and organized, which is why most legal firms decide to implement DMS and document management system that aides to prevent the potential problems.

That way, you will be able to track every single aspect of the information, and know when you should be able to destroy them in general.

Remember that some law firms decide to outsource the document shredding service to avoid legal problems that may happen. 

Document destruction firms already have enough knowledge to help you determine which information is something that may become relevant in the future.

In the further text, we will explain to you the importance of shredding the particular information and hard copies.

  • Shredding Benefits Clients

It would help if you remembered that client would benefit in case you decide to implement document-shredding policies. 

Remember that these policies will help clients to understand when the requirement for storing information expires, which will allow them to put more trust in your firm.

This is highly important because it allows the client to retrieve information before you destroy them, especially if they are crucial for their future.

  • It Is Mandatory

Another important consideration is that personal information that both governments and business collect can cause severe problems such as identity theft. They can use both digital and paper formats. 

According to regulations, you need to dispose of and destroy personal information and make them both undecipherable and unreadable. 

This is highly important for sensitive information. Apart from the state regulations, it is common sense that some information could be used against your client and your firm, which is why you should dispose of it by following regulations.

As soon as you visit this website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyanderson/2016/01/30/three-things-to-take-into-consideration-before-shredding-a-tax-document/ you will learn about things you should consider before shredding tax documents. 

  • Eco-Friendly

Apart from business and security reasons, it is important to be environmentally friendly along the way. Therefore, you should recycle as many items as you can, which will help you reduce the overall carbon footprint your firm makes.

Even though burning waste paper can be a secure option, it is not eco-friendly, and it may cause further issues for your business. Instead, you can shred paper, which is much safer for the overall environment.

As soon as you shred it, you can remove the paper and take it to a recycling plant for additional reuse, which is an important consideration you should remember.

  • Secure For Employees

You should be aware that protecting data is vital for both clients and employees. Therefore, as an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure both safety and security. 

Since you will gather a large amount of data on everybody, you should determine which ones are important for you, and which ones are perfect for disposal.

You can find ways to dispose of employment and account data and everything else that you can legally destroy. If someone steals the information regarding your employees, you will not only lose money, but that particular situation will surely affect the employees’ morale.

You probably know that lousy morale leads to lower productivity, which means that your business will suffer.

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