Fire Destroys 30 Years of Legal Files
A tragic story today from the Cape Cod Times: Lightning struck a law office in the Cape Cod town of Sandwich, Mass., igniting a blaze that engulfed the building and destroyed 30 years of legal records. The building housed the law firm MacNeil & Fitch as well as the solo practice of a family lawyer who moved in just last year. The building, built as a law office in 1978 by partner Jonathan Fitch, was designed to resemble the historic colonial homes and buildings that help make Sandwich a popular tourist destination. Two other law offices attached to the back of the building were spared.
After surveying the damage yesterday, Fitch declared the building a total loss. He had no back-ups for the three decades of files in the building, but said it was possible that some records stored in file cabinets remained. "Certainly the cases in progress were not in a filing cabinet," he told the Cape Cod Times. An associate at the firm, state Rep. Cleon H. Turner, said he did have back-ups of his computer records. When he spoke to a reporter, he was at his home "backing up the back-ups."
Local lawyers offered their help in reconstructing files and extending deadlines, and the firm's clients stopped by "to offer hugs and encouragement," the newspaper reports. Needless to say, the moral of the story is obvious in underscoring the need for lawyers to prepare for the unexpected. But obvious though the lesson is, many lawyers still only learn it the hard way.
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 27, 2008 at 11:47 AM | Permalink
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