The Connected Lawyer

Leveraging Technology to Practice Law More Effectively

The Connected Lawyer - Leveraging Technology to Practice Law More Effectively

Bates Stamping Your Documents

Anyone who is involved in litigation is familiar with the need to Bates stamp documentsBates Stamper that are produced in discovery. Ernest Svenson of PDF for Lawyers makes a compelling case for why all Bates stamping should be done electronically.

Svenson explains:

Let’s say you have 1,000 documents to bates-stamp. I seriously doubt that any paralegal could finish the task in less than 4 hours. It would probably take at least a day, maybe more. But to scan those documents would only take about an hour, maybe two hours if you had a really slow scanner. Once you’ve scanned the documents it takes about 30 seconds to bates-stamp them using Acrobat 8.0.

Using a computer to bates-stamp ensures that you don’t miss any pages. And you can tell Acrobat to shrink the borders of the page and apply the bates-stamp in the resulting white area. This guarantees that the bates-number on every page is visible. Also you can add text before or after the bates number, (e.g. as “2nd Production – No. 000345″). Finally, if you realize you made a mistake and included some pages that should not have been bates-stamped, you can remove the bates-stamping and start over.

He then concludes:

In short, there’s a smart way to bates-stamp documents, and a really stupid way. Why anyone would want to make someone bates-stamp documents by hand is beyond me. Frankly, I think it should be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Apparently, though, it’s not all that unusual.

And that is really sad.

I could not agree with him more. Jump over to PDF for Lawyers to check out the rest of his post.

Once you Bates stamp documents electronically, you will wonder how or why you ever did it manually before. Plus it is super easy to stamp documents now that the latest version of Adobe Acrobat includes the Bates Stamping ability.

If you use CaseMap to organize your case, you can use a CaseMap plugin to stamp your documents and then automatically import the Bates stamp values into the documents portion of your CaseMap file. This makes your life doubly easy.

  • Kerry says:

    Consider looking at pdfDocs Desktop by DocsCorp. Not only can you create, combine, redact, annotate, bates number PDF documents, it is the only PDF content management application that integrates directly into the world’s leading document management systems out of the box.

    Create eBriefs quickly and easily with a table of contents, cross-document bookmarks and links.

    Create, edit and save Numbering sets to include information from your DMS, time/stamping, bates numbering on your document or collection of documents.

    Compare pdfDocs Desktop with Adobe Acrobat numbering sets and you will see that pdfDocs is much more flexible and more efficient to use.

    Don’t take my word, test it out for your self!

    November 10, 2007 at 2:46 pm
  • john says:

    ParmisPDF is a very good alternative for abobe for bates numbering PDF documents (both signing and bates numbering)

    April 20, 2011 at 5:32 am
  • Ron says:

    The best method to bates stamp pdf documents is to use a third party software called Bates Blaster. It costs only $29.99 per license and it is amazingly flexible. Good luck finding a bates numbering under $100 these days. A demo can be found at
    Bates numbering in Adobe has limits and can cause problems in your document. Ever tried removing removing bates numbers after optimizing in Adobe? If you remove the wrong data, your numbers can’t be undone. But, no problem with Bates Blaster software. The software is very popular with attorneys, paralegals, corporate law departments, and any business that must numerically mark documents.

    April 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm
  • Bates Stamping says:

    I find that law firms typically use a system I like to call franken-capture. Usually one application to scan and capture, another to bates stamp, another to redact, and yet another to file into a case management system like Summation or WorldDox. There is a single application for all processing: PSIGEN PSI:Capture.

    Legal Document Processing

    July 21, 2011 at 7:33 am
  • John Michalsky says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I have been doing a lot of research on this lately, and there is some super helpful information here. Keep up the good work!

    December 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm

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