Document Retention Policies

Document Retention Policies

From concept to creation (and destruction) - Why a document retention policy is imperative to your firm.

A document retention policy is essential to your firm because it outlines and defines how your firm manages your clients' sensitive, confidential data. 

In short, to reduce your risk and liability (while improving your overall business efficiency), a strong firm policy complying with federal and state laws and regulations and even your clients’ security requirements, will appropriately dispose of documents, and effectively support your retention needs. We know that it can be challenging to efficiently manage, retain, and dispose of documents and records. Luckily, NetDocuments’ makes it easy to develop and execute your firm’s document retention policy.


To start, NetDocuments has a built-in retention policy manager that simplifies the process to set and maintain your specific policy criteria. For example, you can utilize the retention manager to run a report using an assigned closed date for a specific matter, which will report the documents eligible for deletion once the “closed criteria” is met. The retention policies in NetDocuments will trigger an email once every 60 days to repository administrators that list the documents that match your active retention policies’ criteria, notifying them of the selected documents eligible for deletion.

It’s important to note that merely creating and activating a retention policy in NetDocuments will not automatically delete the matching documents. NetDocuments requires administrative confirmation to perform a mass deletion to purge documents marked for deletion. This is important because deletion control is a key consideration in your retention needs to ensure the right documents are permanently deleted (or protected).

Another way to streamline your document retention compliance is to consider tapping into NetDocuments’ tools you are already familiar with and apply them in new ways to help you work more effectively. For example, using NetDocuments’ saved search feature to create personalized, dynamic searches that meet your firms’ retention and archive policy criteria.

Routinely running saved searches narrowed to “created date” and/or “last modified date” can pinpoint old documents that match your specific criteria for deletion. Built-in reporting and logging features allow you to keep a record of deleted items.

Not only is this a good practice to routinely reduce your overall document storage and data clutter, but it is also an easy way to reduce your liability and simplify the management of your document retention policies.


Another important consideration is how you will retain required documents and records that cannot be deleted or need to be retained for a determined amount of time. Additionally, consider using one of the many third-party integrations with NetDocuments to integrate your physical records management efforts with NetDocuments electronic documents.


In short - creating, managing, and even automating the right document retention policies helps you remain compliant with regulations. It also helps ensure your data is easily accessed and kept safe, while consistently and timely disposing of information that reduces your digital footprint and risk!

If you have any questions about how to define document retention policies, how to create and activate retention policies, or how to delete and purge documents in NetDocuments (or any other document management questions), we're here to help!

Contact the Document Management Team at Affinity by calling 877-676-5492, or simply request a consultation.

Michelle Willete

Written by Michelle Willete

Michelle acts as a strategic advisor to provide insights and applicable services to law firms to develop document management migration strategies that meet specific customer goals. She also supports project post-implementation success. Michelle’s career began in marketing, where she remained until recently. Her previous professional focus was digital marketing and content creation, including copywriting, digital campaigns, and inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Recently, she shifted focus towards project management for document management implementation and migration strategies inclusive of onboarding initiatives, facilitating solutions for any technical and business concerns, and developing customized training curriculums.

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