Expert Witness File Retention
Excerpted from SEAK’s streaming course: How to Assist An Expert Witness Practice: The Support Staff Program
How many people have mountains of old files stored for clients from cases going back many years? This is a problem. So what we recommend is use a clause specifying that files will be destroyed 30 days after the engagement ends. Or they’ll be sent back to the client who actually owns the file. Thirty days after the conclusion of the engagement, the expert shall either return all files to counsel at counsel’s cost upon written request from counsel to do the same, or destroy said files. So the lawyer knows up front.
And the other thing you need to put in here is that they need to tell you the case is over, which is another form of abuse. They never tell you the case is over. You got to check in like, “Hey, is this case still around?” So what you’re saying is, “Listen, let me know when the case is over. And then let me know, do you want the files back? We’ll ship them back to you. Put them in a big box and send them back to you at your expense. Give me a FedEx number, give me a UPS number. Or we’re gonna shred them. We’ll do that at no charge.” And the idea is, I’m not keeping this stuff because it can get very burdensome to keep all these old cases, plus it could be a treasure trove of potentially damaging information that can come out against you in discovery. All right? So that’s an easy thing. It’s an easy problem to solve. Put it right in there.