Record Retention Policy

Approved by the Executive Board, April 2009, Tab 2.

It is the policy of the American Association of Law Libraries that its records be retained only so long as they are (1) necessary to the current conduct of the Association’s business; (2) required to be retained by statute or government regulation; or (3) relevant to pending or foreseeable investigations or litigation or fall under the requirements of the AALL Archives Policy. In furtherance of this policy, the Association has adopted the attached Record Retention Schedule and the following principles and procedures for its Record Management Program, which shall be strictly observed by the Association, its officers, Executive Board, staff and committee members.

  1. The responsibility for administering the Association’s RecordManagement Program in accordance with this policy is designated to the Executive Director, who shall have the title Supervisor of Record Retention. In addition, the Supervisor of Record Retention, with the assistance of legal counsel, shall be responsible for an annual audit of the program.

  2. Destruction of specific records shall be carried out only in accordance with the authority of the Supervisor of Record Retention.

  3. All records, including those maintained on electronic data processing storage media, shall be covered by this policy.

  4. Despite any retention periods specified in the attached Record Retention Schedule, all records shall be retained for at least the minimum period as stated in applicable state or federal laws or regulations. Once the period for office retention of records has passed, a determination will need to be made whether the records fall under the Archives Policy and should be transferred there.

  5. The destruction of records shall be suspended immediately upon receipt of legal process or other notice of pending or foreseeable investigations or litigation, whether government or private. In addition, upon such notice, all of the Association’s records shall be secured immediately in order to prevent deliberate destruction of documents. No such suspension of the Association’s Record Management Program shall be lifted except upon the written authorization of legal counsel.

  6. Requests for exemptions from the Program should be submitted to the Executive Director and legal counsel. Exemptions will be given only in accordance with the basic objectives of this Policy Statement.

  7. The Executive Director, with the assistance of legal counsel, shall be responsible for interpreting this Policy Statement for application to specific situations.


Type of Record

Retention Period *


Auditor’s reports/work papers Permanent
Bank deposit slips 3 years
Bank statements, reconciliations 7 years
Budgets 2 years
Canceled checks, generally 7 years
Cash disbursements journal Permanent
Cash receipts journal Permanent
Depreciation records 3 years*
Dues and assessment schedules 2 years*
Employee expense reports 3 years
Employee payroll records (W-2, W-4, annual earnings records, etc.) 6 years*
Employee pension records, including service, eligibility, personal information, pensions paid 6 years*
Employee time cards/sheets 4 years
Financial statements (annual) Permanent
Financial statements (interim/internal) 3 years
General journal or ledger Permanent
Inventory lists 3 years
Invoices 3 years
Payroll journal 4 years
Petty cash vouchers 3 years


Annual reports Permanent
Articles of Incorporation Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Application for Recognition of Exemption (Form 1024 or 1023), including related correspondence and determination letter Permanent
Qualifications to do business Permanent
Minutes and resolutions (Board and Committees with Board authority) Permanent
Minutes (Committees without Board authority) 3 years
Authorizations and appropriations for expenditures 3 years
Policies and procedures, generally For life of policy/procedure

Policies and procedures, employment practices

10 years*
Conflict of Interest Forms 2 years


Contracts, generally 10 years*
Contracts, government 4 years*
Contracts, sales (UCC) 4 years*


Accident Reports 6 years
Insurance Claims 6 years*
Insurance Policies 6 years*


Copyright registrations and unregistered copyrightable materials Permanent
Trademark registrations Permanent
Patent Permanent
Domain name registration For life of domain name


Applications 1 year
Employee files 6 years*
Employment contracts 10 years*
Garnishments 5 years
Medical or exposure to toxic substances records 30 years*
Pension, profit sharing plans Permanent
Government reports 6 years
Time cards/sheets 4 years


Leases 10 years*
Purchases, including title abstracts, opinions, insurance policies, sales agreements, mortgages, deeds 20 years after sale


Research reports and data analysis Permanent (final report only)
Underlying data, documentation, coding and analysis Indefinite (review every 2 years); retain only portions necessary to document validation of the report
Data confidentiality, vendor and other research contracts 10 years*

Survey forms

     Blank Indefinite(review every 2 years)
     Completed Until publication of final report to which it relates


Policy statements For the life of the document
Testimony and final comments on rulemakings and legislation Permanent
Press releases

1 year, except if retained for historical archive purposes

Drafts, comments, etc. prepared in the policy or comment development process Until publication of the document to which it relates


Admissions application files
     Approved Until date of admission
     Denied 1 year*
Terminations and resignations 1 year*
Ethics and disciplinary action files
     Files in which action was taken 1 year*
     Files closed without action 30 days*
Member surveys For the life of the document


Annual information and/or income tax returns and canceled checks (federal, state and local) Permanent
Payroll tax returns 4 years
Property tax returns Permanent
Sales and use tax returns 4 years


Supporting correspondence and notes regarding patents, copyrights, licenses, agreements, bills of sale, permits, contracts, liabilities, etc. For life of principal document which it supports
Correspondence not relating to other categories 1 year
Marketing and promotional materials, including brochures, website content For the life of the materials to which it relates
Consents and “opt-out” request for facsimile and email solicitation For life of consent or request
Historical archives (e.g., presidential speeches) Permanent


Adopted standards Permanent
Proposed standards, ballots, comments, etc. For life of standard to which it relates


Claims and litigation files where Association is a party 10 years*
Documents related to third-party subpoenas 30 days after final resolution of underlying action

* An asterisk (“*”) following a number signifies that the retention period begins after final determination, payment, settlement, expiration, termination, decision, etc.