Document storage can be a big drain on your firm’s money and time if you are not using a document storage company that works with law firms. Off-site document storage will save your firm thousands of dollars a month on everything from filing to storage and document destruction.
Prime office space in the Triangle where most law firms have offices is expensive. So, keeping all boxes on site is a waste of expensive real estate. By storing your documents off-site you will save a lot of office space since you will not need to allocate large areas to filing cabinets or archive rooms. Keeping them off-site will not affect the accessibility of the files, as you can request the facility to pull, scan or deliver your documents in a timely manner.
Keeping records in the office has long clogged up office space, wasted paper and caused risk for data breaches. It takes up unnecessary amounts of space and can expose confidential information to the wrong people.
Off-Site Record Storage
Off-site record storage helps to clear that space to allow other necessities in the office, while still knowing your important information is safe. Not only does off-site storage free more space, it also promotes savings, safety and productivity in the office.
A document storage company handling legal documents should have a system for quick access using unique barcodes to make location easy. If someone from your firm needs access to a file, the document storage company will locate the files and deliver them to your firm same day.
If your firm is storing its documents on-site there is the burden of having to have someone on staff to manage the files subject to the firm’s file storage policies. What happens when that person is sick, on vacation or not in the office, how will you retrieve your records?
Some firms keep their old files in public storage facilities. This can put your client’s confidential records in danger. Public storage facilities are designed for items like furniture, heirlooms, clothes, etc. Public-storage facilities are prone to theft, as many facilities opt for low security and lack enough staff. Public-storage facilities often do not hold themselves responsible for theft and if a tenant has no insurance it is probable that they will receive no compensation for their lost files. Keeping legal files in a public-storage facility with minimal security is unwise – this information can become a major target for identity theft.
HIPAA law has become the gold standard in the document storage industry. A storage company that can meet these standards will provide all the necessary safeguards for a law firm’s legal documents.
Your firm’s initial engagement letter with clients should communicate your firm’s records management policy. The firm’s policy will provide a date when records can be securely destroyed. The document storage facility will coordinate those dates for destruction. When the firm has destroy dates on their records, it saves the firm storage fees.
Lost files or records can be a nightmare for your law firm. Attorneys and your clients may find themselves subjected to sanctions, adverse jury instructions, mistrial or, in extreme cases, dismissal of claims if the court finds that documents were not produced on a timely basis or improperly destroyed. Carrie Peele