9.8 Closing Files - Digital Data
Most lawyers now practise with the assistance of computers. However, technology can evolve quickly and you need to ascertain that the digital data you are retaining will continue to be accessible throughout the retention period. Take care to ensure that the data is stored in a form that will be accessible over the life of the retention period or ensure that you review the format of your digital records periodically to ensure that they remain accessible.
You will also need to decide how to retain email communication, which in some instances may form a crucial part of your file. Some practitioners are in the habit of creating a hard copy of all emails; others create e-folders for individual clients which they copy to disk or other medium when they close the file. Whatever system you choose, ensure that your staff are aware of what system you are using so that they can attend to all forms of communication at the time of file closing. Ensure the naming and filing of the e-material is just as meticulous as for paper copies of documents.