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Law Firm Records Management Benchmarks


The study presents data from 10 major law firms about their records management practices. Among the issues covered: records retention policies, staff size, office space used, offsite storage space used, costs of offsite.storage space, use of legal records management consultancies, departmental budgets, uses of staff time, ratio of management to support personnel, ratio of records staff to total number of attorneys, policies on social media and cyberspace records, composition of original records base between electronic and paper-based records, and much more.

Just a few of the 120+ page report’s many findings are that:

  • Survey participants report that their respective law firms retain their legal records for a mean of 13.44 years and a median of 10 years. 
  • Law firms in the sample dedicated a mean of 3,750 square feet of office space (not warehouse space) to the records department in 2010, a mean which dips slightly to 3,100 in 2014.
  • Survey participants have a mean of 12.95 FTE employees considered to be records assistants or other support personnel, which is equal to a mean of 6.29 assistants and support personnel per 100 full-time employees.
  • Law firms in the sample spent a mean of $425,313 in the past year on off-site storage.
  • Survey participants estimate that a mean of 46.25 percent of the legal records retained by their firm are electronic documents in their original state. The range is wide here, from a low of 5 percent to a high of 90 percent, although the median is close to the mean at 45 percent.



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