Digitizing records? Check with your state bar first

by • November 1, 2008 • UncategorizedComments Off on Digitizing records? Check with your state bar first1407

© 2008 The Medical-Legal News

Much of the legal world is racing to rid itself of paper records, but a word of caution may be in order — tossing paper may violate ethics rules.
In a recent issue of the ABA Journal (September 2008, pg. 30), an article reported on ethics opinions by three state bar associations that all warn attorneys about the dangers of discarding paper files after digitizing them.
According to the Journal, Arizona’s Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct recently said that an electronic version of a document is not the same as an original and advises that paper copies be maintained at least until attorneys’ clients OK the disposal of the paper.
The article said Florida’s ethics commission came to a similar conclusion and advised that documents be kept in a manner that has the clients’ best interests in mind.
A New York ethics committee instructed lawyers, when handling documents electronically, to make sure that e-documents cannot be inadvertently destroyed or altered, and that unaltered paper documents can be re-generated at any time. The ethics committees were largely concerned with fairness to clients, according to the story

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