January is a great time to think about reducing clutter. Many of us start the New Year with a personal plan to get organized, throw out stuff that no longer matters, and to accumulate less junk going forward. It’s a nice plan – and it usually falls apart by mid-February. Still, the idea of getting organized and reducing “clutter” is also a goal of many companies. One way to do this is by implementing or updating a record retention program. For companies without a program already in place, this means starting from scratch. For companies with a program, it means a serious “soup to nuts” review and how (not if) the program needs to be updated.
The benefits of a well thought out record retention program cut across every part of the business, including all staff groups, and especially within the Legal Department which usually takes the lead in record retention issues. Whether you are based in the U.S. or a different country, whether you are a generalist, or specialize in litigation, M&A, commercial agreements, compliance, intellectual property, corporate secretary, or employment law, a good record retention program can make your job much easier and reduce risk to the company. This edition of “Ten Things” discusses the basics of what is needed to put a record retention program into place or update an existing one: