Electronic Storage of Client's File
Opinion rules that an inactive client file may be stored in an electronic format provided original documents with legal significance are preserved and the documents in the electronic file can be reproduced on paper.
RPC 209 requires a lawyer to retain a client's file for six years after the file becomes inactive. During the six years, the file may only be destroyed with the consent of the client or, after notice to the client, the client fails to retrieve the file. Prior to the expiration of the six-year period, may a law firm convert the paper documents in a client's file into an electronic format, such as magnetic or optical disks readable by computer, store the disks, and destroy the original paper file?
Yes, provided: (1) original documents with legal significance, such as wills, contracts, stock certificates, etc., are culled from the paper file and stored in a safe place or returned to the client; and (2) the documents stored in an electronic format can be reproduced in a paper format. Rule 2.8(a)(1) and RPC 209