Gerry and Interested Others: Sorry it's taken awhile to respond to
this post. I've experienced all of the scenarios you describe below, of
course, and there's no easy solution. I don't think there are any hard and
fast rules you can follow. At one time or another, I've had to do all of
the things you mention below, and our current procedures sound similar to
1. We take and convert all matters, both active and inactive, for clients
being brought to the firm, as long as the client letter authorizing the
transfer specifies the matters. Our risk management policy regarding
incoming files states that we won't accept any files whatsoever without a
copy of the client authorization letter.
2. We question, and generally will not take, inactive matters for clients
that will never become clients of our firm. There is very little business
reason compelling us to do so; however, for a big muckety, muck rainmaker,
who knows what we may end up having to do. In such cases, we index the
materials and send them to offsite storage under the attorney's personal
3. Same goes for dissolving firms, which are the absolute worst. Attorneys
coming to us from dissolving firms generally bring files with no indexes.
At times, we've had to hire temporary staff to go to the other law firm to
physically pack and index the files. When the attorneys are reasonably
responsible, they generally will go through the inventory and let us know
what we don't have to pack and bring. But sometimes getting them to help is
like pulling teeth.
4. Several years ago, a law firm dissolved and merged completely into our
firm. This firm still has an active "partnership-in-dissolution" that has
been working since 1994 to liquidate its 20,000 box inventory. They've done
it the "right" way. We set up a storage account for them, which is paid for
by them. The partnership-in-dissolution was set up as a client for our firm
so that we could bill costs associated with the liquidation. They use their
own employees, again paid for as client costs, to go through all of the due
diligence procedures necessary prior to returning files to clients,
destroying files, etc. After six years, I think their inventory is now down
to about 7,000 remaining boxes.
Lee R. Nemchek MLS, CRM
Information Resources Manager
Morrison & Foerster LLP
[log in to unmask]
From: HEGEL, GERRY [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: March 10, 2000 8:06 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Receiving records from other firms/New attorneys bring records with
So, what I am interested in hearing from others is how you handle these two
situations. On the transfers of old stuff between firms, I tried to get a
mutual "no dump" treaty organized between us legal records types around
town, but that didn't go far (Grin).
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