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