Last Modified: July 3, 2021

This policy is set forth to show the Firm’s processes and procedures for retention, review and destruction of client files following termination of representation. It is intended to ensure the Firm’s compliance with applicable legal and ethical obligations to former clients, including the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct


Upon retaining the Firm as counsel, a client file will be established regarding matters related to the representation. This file may contain important legal documents as well as documents prepared by an attorney that reflect an attorney’s thoughts, conclusions, and impressions. The law recognizes a privilege with respect to such documents known as the attorney work-product privilege. Should you request the removal of the files from the Firm’s office, the Firm reserves the right to retain all attorney work-product documents generated by the Firm.  Absent written instructions regarding the disposition of client files, the Firm reserves the right to store or destroy such files seven (7) years after the conclusion of the representation.


At the conclusion of your matter or upon termination of the attorney-client relationship for any reason, you may request in writing an electronic copy of your file from the Firm. Your copy will be provided only after any unpaid fees for legal services or costs and expenses are satisfied.


Following the termination of representation for any reason, including withdrawal of the Firm from the representation, termination at the client’s request, or conclusion of the matter for which the Firm was engaged, the client’s file shall be closed. The attorney in charge or an attorney designated directly by the attorney in charge shall perform the following:

  • Ensuring that documentation referencing the termination of representation by whatever means is in the file and has been provided to the client.

  • Ensuring that the Firm has received all outstanding fees, client funds have been distributed, and a final accounting prepared and provided to the client.

  • If the termination of representation is due to the matter concluding, confirm the true finality of the matter based upon the type of file (i.e., in litigation confirm that the final judgment has been satisfied or appeals exhausted or abandoned, etc.).

  • Confirm that all client property in the file has been returned (with a copy retained in the file), or, if retained, that it has been marked for return to the client upon destruction of the file.


The Firm will hold all client files for a period of seven (7) years.


Certain files and materials are not to be destroyed even after the seven (7) year period. Such files and material are:

  • Files containing outstanding judgments or structured settlements not yet fully satisfied.
  • Files pertaining to the rights of minor children until both (i) the children have reached the age of majority and (ii) the statute of limitations applicable to any potential claims arising from the file has expired.
  • Estate planning files (including, the estate planning questionnaire) should be retained until the estate has been distributed.
  • Originals of materials of legal significance which for any reason cannot be or have not been returned to the client, including but not limited to recorded deeds, vital records (birth, marriage, death certificates), estate planning documents (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills), original bills of sale, original incorporation documents, stock or bond certificates, and trademark and copyright registrations.


All files, except originals of materials of legal significance, will be converted to electronic format and stored electronically on the Firm’s computers and back-up devices.


Upon the attorney in charge determining that destruction of a file is appropriate, the following procedures shall be followed:

  • A letter shall be sent to the client at the client’s last known physical and email addresses informing the client of the intended destruction and providing a date by which the client should respond if the client would like to retrieve the file from the Firm. This letter will reference the length of time the file has been held and specifically note that the file has been retained in accordance with the Firm’s policy for file retention. The letter will also explicitly state the method by which the file will be destroyed.
  • If the client does respond, the Firm will make all reasonable efforts to follow the clients’ instructions regarding the handling of the file.
  • If the client does not respond and the specified date has passed, the Firm will schedule the file for destruction.


Once it has been determined that a file can be destroyed, the file shall be destroyed in a manner that preserves client confidences.
The Firm shall maintain indefinitely (1) documentation confirming the attorney in charge reviewed the file and approved its destruction, (2) a copy of the letter and email to the client notifying the client of the destruction of the file, and (3) verification from the service or individual who performed the file destruction that such destruction was carried out. This record will include the date, location and method of destruction.
Any use of an outside vendor to complete the file destruction requires a binding non-disclosure agreement between the Firm and the vendor. A copy of this agreement shall be maintained along with verification by the vendor of the file’s destruction.