CYA Boxes

Posted on | May 26, 2011 | 6 Comments

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Here is another tip for new paralegals of students in paralegal school.  Attorneys loves them some document retention boxes.  LOVE!

A must have for most law firms is the document retention box. You will find document retention boxes all over the place at your law firm. Nothing says “I have lots of work to do” as clearly as stacks of boxes filled with binders, work papers, and office supplies.

Document retention boxes help meet the requirements of mandatory storage. Attorneys may be required to keep documents for seven years, though most go back to at least fifteen. It doesn’t matter what kind of box you have, but it must be full of case files that haven’t seen the light of day for fifteen years or more.

Paralegals may refer to document retention boxes as CYA boxes. While people may tell you CYA stands for things like Current Year Audit or Cowardly Yellow Attorneys , don’t be fooled. CYA actually stands for Cover Your Ass. When in doubt what is required to be retained, paralegals and attorneys pretty much toss everything into CYA boxes.

You will not be able to weed out ANY of these boxes to organize your attorneys office, or to make more room for yourself.  If you even hint about getting rid of the boxes from 1986, you will be severely reprimanded for thinking of such craziness!  Seriously, do not screw around with your attorneys CYA boxes.  They will freak the fuck out if one is missing.

There are some firms that are paperless.  Yes, it is true!  And the need for CYA boxes is non existent.  However, attorneys are creatures of habit and if they have always used CYA boxes, I highly doubt change is in your future.

Have fun stumbling over a million boxes in your bosses office while trying to find a Motion to Compel that was signed yesterday and needs to be filed today.  Bruises and scratches are in your future.  You might even want to make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shots.




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6 Responses to “CYA Boxes”

  1. Corporate Paralegal
    May 26th, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    We have CYA boxes that are marked (I swear) with Never Destroy.  Talk about fear.

    And as far as paperless, we have “destruction dates” that we enter for new files in our paperless system.  That date used to be 3 years from closing the file.  It is now 5 – because we have virtual CYA now.

  2. DenPL
    May 26th, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

    One more tip… they are not happy unless *you* have boxes in your office too!  And they like to sneak them in when you’re not in the office (at least the ones I work with do.).

  3. Ty1220
    May 27th, 2011 @ 4:07 am

      I am in luck. I have several of those larger, plastic totes out in the garage. Will plastic do, or am I barking up the wrong tree on that ? If pushed I can scramble for some heavy wooden ones, but if at all possible I am gonna try to promote smaller and lighter.

     I’m new to the blog, and PH has scared me a couple of times so far….. LOL  I love it, this place is always fun, informative AND interesting and that’s all I can ask.
      It’s great to hear about the stuff that us students will actually run into out in the real paralegal world. I realize that what is awaiting me out there isn’t represented in my textbooks, nor by my professors.   Keep up the good work PH.

     P.S. I am one of the few that were recently mentioned ( Hi PH’s mom ) LOL   who does not have a FB page. I don’t really want one, but if I did have one, or ever do get one, I would be more than glad to brag about this blog.  I do mention it to new friends that I am making in classes and on other sites etc.

  4. Paralegal
    May 27th, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    The law firm you work for will supply the boxes.
    Don’t be scared. There are so many attorneys who are great. I am sure will find an awesome job. You will just be one step ahead of all the other newbies since you read the blog and know what the job is like sometimes!

  5. Ty1220
    May 30th, 2011 @ 2:22 am

    I definately agree. It’s nice to hear the good with the bad. The best part about it to me, is having fun with it, and seeing the fun in the bad as well. I miss seeing this blog on the days that I don’t get here, and always am happy to get back and catch up.

       Here’s hoping that all of you had an awesome and safe Memorial Day weekend.

  6. Grumpy Humbug
    May 27th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    We use off-site storage for all our closed files, mostly because it’s cheaper than renting another floor in a downtown office building.  Even still, it’s about once or twice a month that one of us has to make a trip down to the Industrial Park to pull or copy something from a CYA box. 

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