We lawyers compile a lot of paperwork, and this is especially true with lawyers like me dealing with the Government, in Immigration Law. The files just pile up. The State Bar of Texas has no rules regarding file retention, and asks lawyers to adopt a best practice standard. So this is what we do:
- We NEVER keep any original documents, we always keep copies only
- When someone gets their permanent residency, we give them in writing that they need to pick up their files within one month or we will shred them
- For non immigrant cases, we keep the file beyond their expiration dates. For example if your H-1B visa is valid until April 22, 2012, we will keep the file until at least May 23, 2012. By that time you would :
- Either extended the status with their employer with another attorney
- Changed employer and no longer needs our services
- Gone back to their home country
We do keep copies of forms and petitions online in a secure server. But they are not signed copies and they are our work product only.