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Bates Numbering and Labels - LegalScans

LegalScans can electronically Bates Label documents...

Bates numbering is a technique used to allow documents to be shared by multiple parties with a guarantee that all parties are using the exact same document. Obviously, when many different parties need to have access to the same files, it is critical to provide some way to ensure that the information given to Party 1 is exactly the same as that given to Party 2.

This is what bates numbering does. The numbering process in the past has been strictly a manual process. Once the documents have been copied and are to be sent to the depository, someone manually stamps a unique number of every single page of every document in every file. Thus, when those pages are copied in the future by the repository and distributed to the various parties, the various individuals using the documents can compare the numbers. If the numbers match, they have the same document and can be assured that they are using the same information.

Bates Stamping - The Old Way! There are some obvious challenges with this process. First of all, since it is a manual process, it is quite time consuming. Every page must be manually stamped, one at a time. While those individuals who offer this service become quite expert at doing this, it is still a big project. Since every page must be sequentially numbered, it is critical that no pages be missed during the stamping process. This means that speed is second to quality control.

As with most paper handling issues, it would seem that it would be better to have technology handle this process rather than doing it manually. There is a big challenge to this, however. While scanning large volumes of documents is a simple task, adding the bates number in electronic format is no easy task.

It is possible to add a unique imprinted number as each page goes through the scanner. This process is often done to validate that every page of a file got scanned. While the process works well in many instances, it does not work very well for bates numbering.

The problem is that, first of all, the documents are not necessarily being scanned sequentially. Most often, the project is divided up among several scanning stations so that the job can be processed as quickly as possible. Since not all pages are being scanned on one scanner, it is not possible to ensure that the numbers will be sequential.

Secondly, since pages vary in physical dimensions, it is not always possible to imprint a number in the right spot. Generally, the number goes in a top or bottom corner. However, when there are small sheets mixed in with standard 8.5 x 11" pages, the imprinter will miss the small sheet.

LegalScans has proficiency in automation of the electronic bates numbering process.  Our methodology starts with the very first page and electronically "stamps" the starting number on the page. It then continues on through the entire set of documents, page by page, adding the electronic number to each and every page.  As each page is stamped, the bates number is increased by 1.  By doing this, we can ensure that, one, every page gets stamped and no pages are missed, and two, that the number is in a consistent location on every page.