A bitter row has broken out over the future of millions of documents left behind by the now-defunct Brobeck Phleger & Harrison.
Former lawyers and employees have argued that the documents ought to be preserved, but Brobeck bankruptcy trustee Ronald Greenspan has insisted the papers, which are costing the estate at least $8,000 (£4,600) a month to store, be destroyed.
The case has raised questions as to what the future holds for firms such as Coudert Brothers, which is in the process of dissolving, as well as US firms Altheimer & Gray and Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault, which have also disbanded during the past two years.
For Brobeck, the documents are likely to be put through the shredder after each side has a chance to sift through them.
The prospect has enraged former Brobeck partners and employees, who say they may want the documents as discovery material in their pending litigation.
Since the Brobeck break-up, the firm has been caught in a series of litigious battles, with Greenspan filing suits against more than 220 former partners seeking bonuses paid after the firm became insolvent.