Berks Barrister Fall 2018 - 19

Work-A-Day

1. Put file retention language in your engagement
agreements.
2. When the matter concludes send an end-of-engagement
letter which documents return of all originals in the file.
3. If you must keep any originals, be sure to put a reminder
in the computer for a letter to each client each year
indicating that it may be time to review the documents for
potential changes due to life events, law changes, or business
transactions.
As long as you send a letter or email each year, you can find
out in time if the client has changed address, while it is still
possible to locate them once again.
Don't allow the madness to continue to worsen. Stop it now.
But of course you already have accumulated a lot of
originals. Unfortunately, they may be scattered in files. And so
you also have to start with the time-consuming hardest part.
Bring out the files which are beyond the retention periods
specified in Formal Opinion 2007-100, a few at a time, and
look to see if any originals remain. If they do, start sending
letters now. Work your way back from the oldest files. Set
a target for how many to go through each week. If need be,
hire a law clerk to assist. Many, based on area of law, will not
require a search. Put them in the "to be shredded" pile. Bring
out the shredding company when you have the equivalent of 50
- 100 banker's boxes ready to shred. That ensures you get your
money's worth for the minimum charge.
I hope this article gives you valuable information to think
about. Remember, you have options, although sometimes
circumstances may eliminate many of them. But make plan A
and start doing what you must to make it happen. If you're not
sure what path is right for you, or you've picked the path but
don't know how to get started, remember that I'm here to help!
Ellen Freedman, CLM, is the Law Practice
Management Coordinator of the
Pennsylvania Bar Association. In that
capacity, she assists PBA members with
issues and problems that arise on the
business side of their practice. Ellen is
also president of Freedman Consulting.
Ellen encourages your feedback and
questions. She can be reached at
1-800-932-0311 x2228, or by email at
lawpractice@pabar.org.

By William W. Runyeon

Somewhere, unwinding the thread
of passing days, the thought occurs,
and recurs, sunlight and shadow,
that, as childhood and adolescence pass,
so, also, does the life of the work-a-day world.
It runs much longer, with patterns
deeply embedded, as if it were forever
the nature of things.
Both incrementally, and broadly,
there is a shift,
by chronometer, and habit,
as if each had lost
a little daylight.
A shift that offers, gradually,
a strength, and sense of its meaning,
with small triumphs, and old wounds,
where one season seems to hold
for a few clear-eyed days,
before becoming, undeniably,
part of the next; to quell
the aches and pains of the day,
and even illness, in the discovery
we are called upon to make,
through the work-a-day world;
an opening in the forest,
undisturbed and the far-off ways
of childhood and adolescence,
which we still carry,
and the strange truth:
towards evening now,
all of it still lives,
a consciousness remembered,
and come upon, a shift-of-light
daylight and dark,
a strong shift.
Fall 2018 | 19

Retirement

Imagine a vault of wills and estate plans, which could have
great sale value for the practice, but which can't be validated
because there has been no contact with the former clients for
years. In this scenario it isn't an asset, it's a liability for the
attorney, who must secure safe storage with a capable attorney,
and provide public notification.
So start now on what will no doubt be the biggest challenge
in closing your practice. Take these steps:

Planning

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Berks Barrister Fall 2018

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