Business of Law

Dewey to Pay Up to $1.38M to Destroy Unclaimed Client Records

Dewey & LeBoeuf has client records dating back to the 1930s.

This is now a problem, as the once-storied law firm unwinds its affairs in bankruptcy court in New York, since Dewey has an ethical obligation to preserve client confidences by destroying unclaimed records before it closes its doors. After months of negotiation, however, a plan has been reached to pay storage facilities $4 per box to shred the records and provide certificates of destruction, Reuters reports.

If all of the firm’s 345,000 boxes of client records remain unclaimed, destroying them would cost $1.38 million. However, there is hope that the bill could be a bit smaller—in July, the law firm reported to the bankruptcy court that it had 430,000 boxes in 24 facilities in 14 states, but 85,000 have since been claimed by partners or clients.

Dreier, another New York law firm that imploded into bankruptcy a few years earlier, paid $5 a box to storage facilities for records destruction, the article notes.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Manhattan is expected to decide on Jan. 24 whether to approve the records-shredding plan.

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