Monday, December 18

Bates Labeling – The Best Course is to Outsource

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Bates labeling has come a long way from the days of the self-inking stamp. But some attorneys and paralegal professionals in Fort Lauderdale prefer to have their documents labeled by hand…Is it the psychology of the familiar that leads some legal practices to insist on manual Bates labeling from CopyScan?

Rule 4: Keeping Printers Clogged in Tougher Economic Times

An increase in litigation actions continues to clog local, regional and national civil courts, leaving paralegals and trial attorneys with more paper than they typically process. Because Rule 4 leaves the door open for ongoing trials that go on for as inordinate amount of time, the longer a case sits on a docket, the more paper gets generated.

Higher case loads lead to bigger cases of paper and mounting expenses, according to an online editorial in eDiscovery News:

“Producing a traditional paper Rule 4 file can be unwieldy. As the size of a Rule 4 file grows, so does the complexity of the logistics involved in producing it. As one can intuit, when the number of documents to include increases, so does the time and cost to assemble multiple copies, in tabbed binders, in chronological order with Bates numbers (a unique identifying number affixed to each page).”

In the past, the assembly process of the multiple sets of tabbed binders was fully manual with absolutely no computer-aided technology. Scenes of several people in a room reviewing documents in order to be able to assemble a set of completed files were commonplace. Once in order, one individual would then hand stamp or affix a sticker with a Bates number onto each page, working hard not to inadvertently skip a page. Finally, the index to the binders would be assembled from the final paper product with information such as the document’s Bates number, date and title.

This was not a speedy process, but it worked nonetheless. The product included organized files in sets of binders for use by all parties in a particular court case.

Technology Cuts Bates Costs

Fortunately for today’s modern legal professional, there is no reason to manage the Bates labeling process manually—it can now be done electronically with the same accuracy as Old School manual labeling, plus it costs law firms less money.
Another advantage to electronic labeling is quality control. The more people who touch paper documents, the more of an opportunity opens for mistakes to happen. With computer-assisted Bates labeling, less people work with your documents and a specialized software program serves as an extra set of “eyes” on your job — an electronic proof reader, of sorts.

Double-Check Your Vendor

No matter which method you choose, make sure you do your own quality control inspection of the vendor you choose to handle your job. Before the job ever leaves any competent document management facility the pages of your Bates label job should be counted and double-checked by hand to assure the labels have been affixed properly and in the sequence requested. Not only that, but the vendor should also sign-off on the project during each step of the process and be willing to show you a work order documenting what’s been done.

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