​ 6 Cool Facts You Need to Know About Bates Numbering

5th Jan 2021

​ 6 Cool Facts You Need to Know About Bates Numbering

What is Bates Numbering? How does a Bates Numbering machine work? Can this system be used for electronic documents? Discover cool facts about this system here.

The Bates Numbering machine has been around since the late 19th century. And since then it has helped legal professionals keep important documents organized and accounted for.

While the Bates Numbering system has traditionally been used for paper documents it has recently made the jump to electronic documents for filing as well.

The system has a rich history and its value has proven itself even in the era of evolving technology. Ready to learn more cool facts about Bates Numbering?

Great! Keep reading.

What is Bates Numbering?

Before we start the fun facts, let's review a quick summary of the Bates Numbering system. Bates Numbering, also referred to as Bates Numbering Machine or Bates Stamping refers to a system of numbering for documents.

Each page or file is assigned a numeric code, or series of numbers. Then, a stamp is applied to that page or file with the series of numbers.

In some cases an alphanumeric code is assigned which means that the code has both numbers and letters. Traditionally the numbering system only went up to 4 digits but there is no set amount of digits for Bates Numbering.

Now that you have a little background on the system, here are the fun facts - as promised!

1. The Original Bates Numbering Patent was Filed in 1891

The Bates Numbering machine is named after its creator, Edwin G. Bates. It started as a simple rubber stamp with an adjustable wheel. It contained 4 digits that could be changed using the wheel feature of the stamp.

In 1993, the Bates Manufacturing Company sold the Bates Numbering Machine to the General Binding Corporation. Despite the change in ownership, the original Bates name was always going to be recognized in the industry.

Even though the numbering system has evolved, the general principles are the same as they were in the 19th century.

2. It's Used in Several Industries

While you may be familiar with how Bates Numbering is used in the legal landscape, you may not know that it spans other professional fields as well.

Hospitals, doctor's offices, technology companies, and investment firms all use the Bates Numbering system for organizational purposes. So whether they are using the traditional paper and stamp or electronic version they still rely on the Bates Numbering system.

Sequencing documents allows professionals to access information about important cases, patients, or clients efficiently. For this reason, Bates Numbering has branched out from law offices.

3. There is No Designated Color for Bates Numbering

If you've seen a document with Bates Numbering, it was likely a black and white version - unless you were viewing the original copy of the document.

Bates numbering protocol doesn't designate a particular color for the stamp. You could use purple or blue if you wanted to. However, the most common colors for Bates numbering are black ink, red ink, or a dark orange ink. These are the easiest to see on the original copy as well as scanned copies.

4. Bates Numbering is Built into Adobe Acrobat

If you opt to us the electronic version of Bates Numbering, try using Adobe Acrobat. Commonly used for PDFs, this program can hold large documents with hundred or even thousands of pages. Luckily, it also has a tool to easily implement the Bates numbering system.

To add Bates numbering to your document, locate the advanced settings tab and then find "document processing." From there you will see "Bates Numbering" and click "add". You can then choose the documents you want to be numbered and the program will show you the headers and footers for the document.

You can choose where on the page you want your Bates numbering to appear. Once you click the location, the numbers should appear. If the numbers are too small to read, try adjusting the font size until you can read it more clearly.

Other programs may also have the Bates Numbering feature. So you should always check the settings before trying to number anything manually or one page at a time.

5. Bates Numbering Can Impact a Legal Case

Bates Numbering is used for convenience and organization. But it's not just for the lawyers and legal team. The court relies on this system to follow along with the evidence presented.

In the case of U.S. ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway, Inc., Bates Numbering was a crucial topic of discussion. There were hundreds of thousands of documents in a non-Bates numbering format making it nearly impossible to sort through them.

The court asked the defendant to reorganize the documents with appropriate Bates Numbering so that they could find the information they were looking for and ultimately make a decision on the case. So not only does Bates Numbering help the legal teams, it's an expected format for legal documents being used in a court room.

6. Paralegals Should Know Bates Numbering Well

If you are starting your career in law as a paralegal, understanding Bates Numbering is essential. The firm you work with may have some nuances to how they use the system such as prefixes, suffixes, or alpha numeric codes. But overall it's the same system.

And you should get to know it very well.

During preparation for a deposition, lawyers often rely on paralegals to quickly find referenced material. By using the Bates system, the paralegal can locate information in an instant, cutting down on total preparation time.

Bates Numbering Is Here to Stay

Bates Numbering has an established place in the legal landscape today. And it's unlikely that the tradition will change. Years of historic cases have this numbering system and it's taught to law students across the country and the world.

Bates Numbering was seamlessly integrated into existing technology software. And additional legal software was created to apply Bates Numbering to any style of document. So whether you are stamping by hand or with a keyboard, you're going to see Bates Numbering for a long time.

If you're looking for Bates stamping supplies or other legal document organization tools, check out the wide variety of products we have to offer on our website.