While many industries are navigating towards digitalization, law firms remain heavily reliant on paper records. Alongside paper records, comes an endless number of files and boxes to sort through. These large volumes of records require record management in order to maintain an organized legal filing system. Law firms have 3 levels of filing:
- In-office files that are kept in the legal secretaries work stations.
- Central file rooms with file folders.
- Off-site storage where the file folders are kept in boxes.
Between the file folders and file pockets, paper legal records take up a lot of space. In order to maintain internal operations, select records should be moved to a storage space where they are kept organized and secure. When properly organized, storage units allow law firms to operate efficiently by storing records that are not necessary in-office. By incorporating offsite document storage, it opens up the opportunity for further growth within a law firm.
An effective legal filing system starts with proper record management. If a document is misfiled or misplaced, it can be costly to the integrity of the law firm and the case. The success of a law firm relies heavily on the quality of record management. Without organization set in place, there leaves room for frustration and lack of productivity. Record management needs to be accessible, secure, and able to be preserved for an extended period of time. By focusing on these qualities, law firms can ensure consistency and accuracy when handling important documentation.
Texas Law Firms File Retention Rules
It is important to note that each state has their own set of file retention rules for law firms. The length of time required to hold files varies greatly from state to state. The state of Texas focuses on client confidentiality along with the passage of time. The Texas Opinion 627 (April 2013) states that an attorney should wait at least five-years before following their destruction policy. As a way to maintain the client’s interests, Texas attorneys should turn requested files over to clients as well as destroy what is approved by them. During this five-year period, Texas law firms will accumulate many closed client files. These files are better kept in offsite document storage rather than piling up inside the office. For more information regarding Texas law firms file retention rules, check out the Texas Center for Legal Ethics’ Opinion 627 (April 2013).
Qualities to Look for when Storing Legal Records
Below are 3 factors to consider when utilizing self-storage services for offsite legal document storage.
- Accessibility. Offsite document storage should not only be conveniently located, but able to access at any hour. Whether on a time crunch or not, documents should be able to be referenced quickly and with ease 24/7.
- Security. Since an information leak can impact the verdict of a case, security should be a priority. More importantly, it is bad for ethical reasons like how it undermines the integrity of a firm, thus costing client trust. By implementing access control, law firms can determine who can and cannot get into their storage.
- Long Term Storage. In Texas, law firms cannot destroy settlement agreements. Additionally, they must retain trust account records for at least 5 years (Texas Center for Legal Ethics’ Opinion 627). This means documents and files will be saved for an extended period of time. It is crucial to find self-storage that preserves the quality of the documents for an indefinite amount of time.
Why Amy’s Attic Self Storage is the Right Fit for Your Law Firm
The same qualities we recommended above are the same standards we hold to our business.
- Our Accessibility. Amy’s Attic Self Storage offers 8 conveniently located self storage facilities in Belton, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Killeen, Morgan’s Point Resort, Salado, Temple, and Waco. Each of our facilities is located near all of the top Law Firms in Central Texas. Regardless of the hour, you have 24/7 gate access to your storage unit!
- Our Security. Amy’s Attic Self Storage state-of-the-art security ensures the safety of all of our storage units. Our electronic gates are operated with passcode-protected keypads. We offer individually alarmed units for assured safety. Additionally, all of our facilities are entirely surrounded by our 24-hour surveillance cameras. Your legal files are safe and sound under the careful watch of Amy’s Attic Self Storage.
- Our Long Term Storage. Amy’s Attic Self Storage is committed to maintaining a clean, climate-controlled environment for storage. Long-term storage can present problems with the environment it is stored in. Since they are paper documents, we provide environmental controls that are active to prevent any decay or damage to your legal documents.
How to Safely Move Legal Records
Moving legal records can become overwhelming and tedious if done without a plan. Here are 5 tips to ensure your legal records stay organized while moving to offsite storage safely.
- Simply your documents by separating them into two groups: filed and shredded.
- Organize documents into labeled boxes to avoid confusion. Consider organizing by client name, year, case number, or a numeric indexing system.
- Invest in containers, filing cabinets, and storage shelves to maintain organization. Store the most important and active documents in front of the unit.
- Create a check-in and check-out log to ensure the security of the documentations.
- Select a climate-controlled storage unit to maintain the quality and longevity of the stored documents.
Recommended Tools for Effective Legal Filing Storage
Once you have your storage unit, it is recommended to invest in the right storage shelves, boxes, and filing cabinets. Shelving should be installed to elevate documents and maximize storage potential. On top of the shelving, plastic bins or cardboard boxes can be stored to ensure papers do not rip or shift position. Additionally, these bins and boxes can make the transferring process easier. Along the sides of the unit, metal filing cabinets create great protection for paper documents from all weather. Depending on the size of your unit, you can select a filing cabinet that suits the number of documents and space you have. If you want to add extra security, consider getting a safe for sensitive documents. In order to maintain an effective legal filing storage unit, we recommend the following:
- Shelving Units: Amazon Basics 4-Shelf Adjustable, Heavy Duty Storage Shelving Unit (350 lbs loading capacity per shelf), Steel Organizer Wire Rack
- Amazon’s Best Seller for Shelving
- 14 x 54 x 36 inches
- Black or Chrome 4-Shelf Steel Organizer for $63.41
- 7 out of 5 Stars!
- Plastic Bins: IRIS USA, Inc. FB-21EE Letter & Legal Size File Box
- Amazon’s Choice for Storage Bins Legal Size
- 4 Count of Pearl Bins for $39.99
- 5 out of 5 Stars!
- Cardboard Boxes: Bankers Box STOR/File Storage Boxes, Standard Set-Up, Lift-Off Lid, Letter/Legal
- Amazon’s Choice for Storage Boxes
- Case of 30 White Boxes for $64.99
- 8 out of 5 Stars!
- Filing Cabinets: Lorell 14341 18 Deep 2-Drawer File Cabinet
- Amazon’s Choice for Metal Filing Cabinets
- 18 x 14.25 x 24.5 inches
- Black or Putty 2-Drawer File Cabinet for $71.19
- 5 out of 5 Stars!
Top Rated Law Firms in Central Texas
Are you a Central TX resident or business owner looking to retain a local law firm? Then consider one of the local law firms listed below:
The Carlson Law Firm
Practice Areas: Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense, Medical Malpractice, and Consumer Protection Attorney
Address: 2010 SW H K Dodgen Loop #201, Temple, TX 76504
Phone: (254) 771-5688
The Tisdale Law Firm
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, Probate, Estate Planning, and Family Law
Address: 1711 E Central Texas Expy Suite 300-G, Killeen, TX 76543
Phone: (254) 634-8600
The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C.
Practice Areas: Personal Injury Attorney
Address: 3501 W Waco Dr, Waco, TX 76710
Phone: (254) 276-2672
The Law Office of M. Bryon Barnhill
Practice Areas: Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Business Law
Address: 331 Indian Trail Suite 101, Harker Heights, TX 76548
Phone: (254) 690-4003
Law Office of Kyle Watkins, PLLC
Practice Areas: Criminal Justice Attorney
Address: 417 N Main St #201, Salado, TX 76571
Phone: (254) 444-9920
Central Texas Self Storage Facilities – Amy’s Attic Self Storage
Amy’s Attic Self Storage offers an accessible, secure, and clean storage environment for your law firm. With our state-of-the-art security and climate-controlled units, we provide our customers with assurance over their stored legal documents. We also sell boxes on-site at our facilities to help attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants simplify the entire self storage process. If you are a Central Texas law firm interested in renting a unit or have any questions, then please contact Amy’s Attic at 855-426-9728.