How a Court Reporter Transcribes Bates Numbers

Bates Numbers and Court Reporters

As guardian of the record, a court reporter includes every facet of a deposition when producing the transcript: the name of the witness, the names of the attorneys present, and what was said and by whom. A court reporter also includes in the transcript an index of exhibits that were presented during the deposition. The index lists each exhibit by exhibit number, description, and Bates numbers or ranges. CompuScripts is no stranger to Bates numbers and court reporters, so today we take a moment to talk about Edward G. Bates, his numbers, and how a court reporter writes them.

The Man and the Machine

Edward G. Bates was an inventor and general manager of the Bates Manufacturing Company during the 1890s. The company was awarded the first patent for a device bearing his name in 1892. The Bates Automatic Numbering Machine (or Bates stamp, as it is known today),  allowed pages in lengthy documents to be stamped with sequential numbers more rapidly as it had the ability to auto-increment. This meant that legal staff no longer had to advance the number wheels by hand, thereby producing an exhibit ready for trial or deposition more quickly.

Bates Numbers and What They Mean to Court Reporters

In recent years, the Bates stamp has fallen out of use, but the sequence of numbers used to identify pages in an exhibit is still known as “Bates numbers.”  While the stamp still exists, Bates numbers are more often applied to exhibits in PDF format by software that is alphanumeric, allowing the use of six digits, a suffix, and prefix.  These additional characters often reference the name of a party involved or the source of the document.  For example, MedNotes-000001-Jones might refer to page 1 of the medical notes made by Dr. Jones.  During a medical malpractice deposition, the deponent and the court reporter know the exact exhibit and page number to which the attorney is referring.

How a Court Reporter Writes Bates Numbers

During the course of a deposition, an attorney may cite a Bates number or range when questioning a deponent. Bates numbers and court reporters can sometimes be at odds during transcription. Court reporters should transcribe this as “Bates number” or “Bates range” when producing the deposition transcript.  No apostrophe is used as the term is not possessive; the number does not belong to Mr. Bates. When the court reporter is compiling the index of exhibits, descriptions would be written as “Bates numbers” or “Bates range.”  Again, no apostrophe is used as the terms do not show possession.

We hope that this post has brought harmony between Bates numbers and court reporters. CompuScripts Court Reporters has been in business long enough to see the evolution of Bates stamps to Bates software.  Founded in 1993, we’ve also gone through technological changes, offering legal videography and videoconferencing.  Our deposition transcripts are researched for spelling and punctuation to produce a document that is grammatically correct and easy to use.  Contact us to schedule your deposition court reporter today.