Supreme Court Rules
Rule 4 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Rules of Professional Conduct
Publication / Adopted Date:
July 1, 2013
Revised / Effective Date:
July 1, 2016
4-1.22 FILE RETENTION
A lawyer shall securely store a client's file for six years after completion or termination of the representation absent other agreement between the lawyer and client through informed consent confirmed in writing. Such informed consent confirmed in writing may be made between the lawyer and the client at any point during the six years after completion or termination of the representation. If the client does not request the file within six years after completion or termination of the representation, the file shall be deemed abandoned by the client and may be destroyed.
The six year client file retention requirement shall apply to all client files where the completion or termination of the representation occurs on or after July 1, 2016. All client files where the completion or termination of the representation occurs prior to July 1, 2016, shall be governed by the previously required 10 years.
A lawyer shall not destroy a file pursuant to this Rule 4-1.22 if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that:
(a) a legal malpractice claim is pending related to the representation;
(b) a criminal or other governmental investigation is pending related to the representation;
(c) a complaint is pending under Rule 5 related to the representation; or
(d) other litigation is pending related to the representation.
Items in the file with intrinsic value shall never be destroyed.
A lawyer destroying a file pursuant to this Rule 4-1.22 shall securely store items of intrinsic value or deliver such items to the state unclaimed property agency.
The file shall be destroyed in a manner that preserves client confidentiality.
A lawyer destroyin a file pursuant to this Rule 4-1.22 shall maintain the written record of the client's consent of destruction for at least six years after completion or termination of employment.
Client files, except for items of intrinsic value, may be maintained by electronic, photographic, or other media provided that printed copies can be produced. These records shall be readily accessible to the lawyer.
Upon dissolution of a law firm, the lawyers shall make reasonable arrangements for the maintenance of client files. Upon the sale of a law practice, the seller shall make reasonable arrangements for the maintenance of client files, which includes written notice to a client as to the location of the client's file.
A lawyer's obligation to maintain trust account records as required by Rules 4-1.145 to 4-1.155 is not affected by this Rule 4-1.22.
(Adopted Oct 30, 2012, eff. July 1, 2013; revised Mar. 7, 2016, eff. Jul. 1, 2016.)