Alextronic Discovery
Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Bates numbering....  

An Ode to Mr. Bates

Norman Bates slashed up blonde fifties floozies in the shower and of the Bates Manufacturing Company created a neat little doozie that increments itself one digit each time the stamp is pounded onto that unsuspecting legal document. When Mr. Bates founded the Bates Manufacturing Company in Orange, New Jersey, little did he know that paralegals the world over would one day come to curse his name. Don't know which Bates is responsible for more nightmares, Norman of the Alfred Hitchcock camp or the good 'ole incremental stamp crazy Bates of New Jersey (ten bucks to anyone that can find his first name on the web).

One thing is for sure, he sure was not blessed with an appropriate name.

Consulting to a large securities class action, the managing partner of Top 10 firm got up in front of the litigation support staff gathered in the war room as a scuffle broke out as to whose Bates schematic would be adopted - counsel A, co-counsel B or co-counsel C's. The managing partner loudly proclaimed - from this day on, we shall collaborate and create one grand scheme... We will let it be known as our master Bates practice.

The room was quiet for about six seconds, finally the red and blue faces could not contain themselves any longer. Senior litigator and lit. Support directors were rolling, yes literally rolling on the floor. This is no EDD wive's tale. I was there. I saw it. I still recall that incident if I find myself in a situation where I should make myself laugh (ie, when my boss tells one of his notoriously unfunny jokes...).

If anything, Mr. Bates is responsible for many strengthened wrists out there (from stamping and re-stamping so many documents, of course). But after computers were buying groceries, allowing chat across the globe, opening the garage door and siphoning hard earned fortunes to off shore virtual casinos in St. Bards, someone got smart and made a Bates labeling machine. No great joke there, but the machine redeemed itself in that one could simply print out a large sheet of incremented alpha-numeric for placement on each document (or each page of each document -that debate will never end) sticky labels. The adhesive on these labels is cool in that it is strong enough to stay put on the document but giving enough to allow itself to carefully be peeled off and refastened to another document when the inevitable mis numbering occurs.

Next came image viewing software which could virtually stamp a "Bates" number on the image being viewed and the user could opt to print with or without the overlay. This virtual Bates Number enabled the user to dictate the color, size, positioning and font of the overlay. No peeling, no stamping, no blue faces. Mr. Bates would be rolling in his grave.

Today, now, ahora miasma, pronto we've got EDD tagging. Fios, for example, is able to create a FENS (Fios Electronic Numbering System) number which assigns a unique number to each electronic document AND at the user's option can further create a Bates overlay on the html rendition of the electronic document as it is displayed over the web via the Prevail application.

Now the big issue is Bates "gaps". Contrary to popular lore, this does not refer to Mr. Bates bad dental work. If I am the producing party and agree to produce my 100 documents but pull the six privileged, if my Bates schematic is 000001, 000002, 0000003 and I pull out them magical six, the gaps will show clearly and the other side will be tipped off as to how much of the loot I'm sneaking into Grandpa's stash box.

"Well, isn't that special? The defense kept six for themselves.... Unleash the hounds... Fire up the motion to compel and get the 30(b)(6) deaf. Lined up! We're going after them magnificent six!"

Not so fast, buddy. New technologies such as those found in Summation and Concordance allow for the renumbering of "production Bates subsets" which effectively recount the produced documents in sequence and don't reveal any gaps. The poker face of Johnny Chen.

But what, then, happens when a different production set with a different schematic goes out to various co-defendants? Well, that means various production "sub sets" exist but there is no uniformity of numbering. If you are still with me, I wish I sat next to you in Mr. Collier's trigonometry class. Copying off of Martin Billings only lead to my having to repeat algebra in Mr. Miller's class in my Senior year... but I digress.

OK, I get it but how can one keep track of all of these different Bates schemes? Cross reference my dear... simple cross reference. Today's litigation database should be able to display a document and then display the paper Bates, the electronic number (FENS) and the various sub-set Bates number schemes. That way, counsel can say this smoking gun is "master Bates" (cough, cough) ABA1254 and FENS number rx4765 and sub set to co-defendant one AX83746 and sub set to co-defendant two knows this document as DFC39438 etc.. .

The more things change the more they stay the same... but they just get a lot more complicated as their efficiencies grow exponentially. Damn it, give me back my big Bates stamping steel wrist buster.

Norman, is that you?

posted by Alexander | 4:11 PM


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