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<Has a flag been raised that if boxes are retained with one of the
companies (even with an access agreement is in place) that there will be
issues when trying to retrieve vital data?>

We deal with this quite a bit for attorneys who leave to work for
another firm and take a client (or a portion of a client's work) with
him/her.  For the issue above, the concern is timeliness of access and
retrieval in the event you need to access information that resides with
the other party.  

In order to mitigate this issue, the first step in the process is
critical - the inventory.  Once the inventory is compiled, it must be
reviewed by both parties and all data that is deemed currently relevant
or likely to become relevant is dealt with immediately and physically
located with the most responsible party.  The remaining material may
stay where it lies with a "reach back" clause allowing access.  If the
exiting party needs to reach back, it is likely that there will be a bit
of a delay in making the information available as their primary business
concerns no longer match the primary business concerns of the other
party (the "you don't work for us anymore so you'll just have to wait"
argument).  

I would suggest that, if you are concerned about this, create a SLA
(service level agreement) that both parties agree to that outlines the
process and expectations of service in the event material needs to be
recalled.  Be sure to address it by volume, and to leave some
flexibility for extenuating circumstances such as complexity of the
request or overriding business priorities.  Makes life much happier in
the Records Department as well since they will know how long they have
to process the transfer and can more effectively insert it into their
workflow without unnecessarily burdening their other "customers".

Under promise, over deliver, make sure everyone knows what to expect and
what their role is.  I approach all of our engagements with that in mind
and so far it has been successful.

Best of luck!
Julie





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