In June, Massachusetts adopted a new rule which goes into effect SEPTEMBER 1, 2018. The rule creates a safe harbor for destruction of client files. Rule 1.15A offers bright line guidance on this. With notable exceptions, once six years pass after completion of a matter or termination of a representation a lawyer may destroy the client files without the necessity of obtaining prior client consent. Some of these exceptions relate to trust documents, intrinsically valuable documents, criminal or delinquency matters, and representation of minors (six years after majority). Please review the rule in its entirety.
The new rule also has more clarity on what types of materials are and are not considered to be part of a client file. Notice of a firm's destruction policy in engagement or disengagement letters is still considered good practice.
This is not intended to be a complete summary of the rule and its application. For the full rule and comments, click here.
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