What Is Bates Numbering?

What Is Bates Numbering?

Litigation Bates Stamping for Medical and Business Documents

What is Bates stamping?     During litigation, in Discovery, lawyers need to reference multiple lengthy files by page or section. While these files may have numbered pages within themselves, when thinking about multiple sequential files, there are many Page 4s and section B’s.  To solve this referencing problem, the process of Bates numbering, Bates stamping or Bates labeling now sees regular use by law firms and legal professionals.

Because legal discovery is most often in electronic form, Bates numbering is a digital process working with PDF documents. Some larger legal cases require document conversion to PDF before Bates stamping.

Originally, Bates numbering was a manual numbering process where pages were stamped individually, by hand, using this tool.


In its infancy, Bates numbers were purely numeric and went up to a maximum of 9999 pages. Thanks to the switch to digital files and electronic document management systems, there isn’t a set format any longer.  With modern day improvements, Bates stamping may be numeric only as well as alphanumeric in nature. Bates labels for medical files can have a prefix of patient name perhaps and we can order business documents by date or time. With the evolution of the document management industry, it is also possible to scan documents and bates number in a cost-effective way.

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