Arbor Day Special: On Records Disposition (Risk, Reward & Elephants in the Room)

Yesterday we shared an update from the world of records, and with today being Arbor Day we have a timely related story about paper to share. (Technically, it’s Arbor Day in the United States — our international readers in mind, I have now confirmed that the holiday is celebrated across the world, though at different times based on local climate and custom).

FileTrail, which has a clear commercial interest in advancing the cause of records management, published: “Beyond Paper: Automating the Destruction of Physical Records,” arguing not just for the risk mitigation benefits of keeping up with disposition, but also the economic benefits:

  • “This Arbor Day, we encourage all law firms to reflect on the state of their paper-based archives and in reducing the total volume of paper generated in the future.”
  • “In recent years, a growing number of law firms have been moving to “paperless” or paper-light systems, with electronic records regarded as the “official” record of the organization. Certainly, law firms have come a long way in reducing their usage of paper and helping to save trees — striking a positive note this Arbor Day. But for many firms, the elephant in the room is the large volume of physical records that have accumulated over decades — extremely costly to store and difficult to manage.”
  • “Many firms know they need a large-scale purge of physical records but procrastinate. Often, their hesitation is that it will take too long to go through each box to identify which files can safely be destroyed.”
  • “You may be shocked to find out the potential cost savings. One firm we work with estimated that by destroying 43,000 boxes — starting with physical records from client matters that have been closed for ten years or more — it would save more than $114,000 per year in storage costs and recoup the cost of destruction in less than two years.”
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