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File/Records Management, Retention, Destruction


  • In addition to the Colorado materials, here are some links to other online records management resources followed by a brief description of the resource:
  • Sample Forms
  • Formal Ethics Opinions
    • Formal Ethics Opinion 104: Surrender of Papers to the Client Upon Termination of the Representation, Adopted April 17, 1999
    • Formal Ethics Opinion 116: Ethical Considerations in the Dissolution of a Law Firm or a Lawyer's Departure From a Law Firm, Adopted March 17, 2007. See E. Client Files in this Opinion.


C.R.P.C. 1.15 requires lawyers to keep copies of financial records, retainer agreements, and client bills for seven years.
C.R.P.C. 1.16 (A) describes under what circumstances a lawyer must retain a client file and stipulates how long a file must be retained before it can be destroyed.

The Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel says, "A lawyer's duty of competent representation includes arranging to safeguard the clients' interests in the event of the lawyer's death, disability, impairment, or incapacity." Lawyers have the duty to plan ahead. The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel has provided a Handbook and Forms: Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients' Interests in the Event of Closing Your Practice, Your Disability or Death (One of Which is Inevitable). Portions courtesy of the Oregan State Bar Professional Liability Fund. This handbook contains helpful information on terminology, implementation, access to the trust account, client notification, and special considerations in case of death. There are three checklists and many sample forms, including fee agreements and engagement letters. This handbook is especially pertinent to a file retention policy. We recommend every attorney read this Handbook. To download the handbook in pdf format, click on the link in the Additional Info box on the right or the link above.