Best Practices for Disposing of Legal Documents

A bookshelf full of files. The image has a blue filter over it.Unless you’re Oscar the Grouch, who loves trash and disposes of nothing, your goal is to continually purge unwanted paper waste from your office. But if that paper waste contains confidential legal information, it is vitally important to protect the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) information on those documents and keep your business from being held liable for security breach. So, once you’ve finished singing along with Oscar, read on to know the best practices for disposing of confidential legal documents.

Don’t Dispose to the Dumpster

The law requires you to safeguard and dispose of confidential documents correctly. In the 1988 case of California vs Greenwood, it was decided that anything discarded becomes public property. So, if you were considering dropping your documents straight in the trash can, remember that the Supreme Court decriminalized “dumpster diving” and those confidential documents are free for the taking by anyone, including Oscar and anyone with criminal intent.

Shred Sensitive Documents

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) states that you are responsible for the disposal of any sensitive documents and that they must be destroyed to a point that they are permanently unreadable. So how do you make that happen? Shredding these documents is your best choice to comply with this law.

Pick a Professional

If you have your own employees shred these documents, you risk them being mishandled, misplaced, or improperly destroyed. By choosing to work with a professional shredding company, you’re on the right track toward getting your documents securely destroyed, and the destruction complies with local and federal laws.

Look for NAID AAA Certification

A professional shredding company isn’t all you need. Who is holding them responsible for running a secure, ethical operation?

Working with a NAID AAA Certified shredding company allows your staff to focus on their own job, rather than the task of document shredding and ensures the shredding complies with all known data protection laws, and that it is done using trained, accredited security professionals. In addition, using a professional will free you from concern about an unexpected security audit.

Select a Shredding Option

Another way to further increase the level of security of discarded legal information is to implement regularly-scheduled shredding services so that your discarded legal documents aren’t piling up and sitting unattended. A good shredding service will assist your company in arranging onsite mobile document shredding, as frequently as necessary, whether for a one-time file purge or on a regular basis.

Distant Destruction Dates

Some documents may have a future retention end date, still be in use, or need to be kept indefinitely. The security of these documents is just as important as those needing to be shredded. This is where you can benefit from a professional records management service. They will securely store your confidential legal documents with file indexing, retrieve them as needed and make Scan On Demand a quick and easy way to retrieve needed files.

CI Information Management staff are NAID AAA Certified professionals who will help you securely manage and shred your legal documents. We’re ready to serve you in Southeastern and Central Washington state or Northeastern Oregon. Please, give us a call at 509-586-6090 or complete the form on this page.