The price of protecting client confidences will cost defunct law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf almost $1.4 million.
The firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May after more than 100 years in existence.
In its bankruptcy filing, Dewey revealed that it was paying storage fees for hundreds of thousands of boxes full of client files, running up its liabilities.
Looking to trim costs, the firm proposed giving clients 75 days to collect their files before destroying them.
Clients and creditors objected, expressing concern about confidentiality issues if documents – including contracts, financial data or trade secrets – got lost in the shuffle or were inadvertently made public.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Martin Glenn of the Southern District of New York told the firm to notify clients of its proposed disposal plans but ordered it to wait before beginning to destroy the files .
Roughly 85,000 boxes have been claimed by partners or clients since the firm proposed its destruction plan.
If the remaining 345,000 boxes remain unclaimed, it will cost the firm $1.38 million to shred their contents in order to preserve client confidences and meet their ethical obligations.