UNIQUE NUMBERS (NO DUPLICATES)
Within a case AgileLaw imposes a requirement that every stamp must have a unique string of text. This means that there will never be a duplicate exhibit number in a case. If you start at Exhibit 1 in your first deposition and finish at Exhibit 7 then the system will auto-suggest Exhibit 8.
NOTE: You do not have to accept the suggested number, but you cannot re-use the numbers 1 through 7. You could have Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 1a, for example, since those are not exact duplicates.
Once an exhibit is marked in a deposition that exhibit will retain that stamp and number in AgileLaw for the life of the case. The exhibit stamp cannot be removed or changed once the deposition in which the exhibit was marked is completed. Until a deposition is concluded the host can change the exhibit number or remove the exhibit within the deposition session.
WHY WE DO IT THIS WAY
Duplication of exhibit numbers can cause problems when reviewing the transcript because the duplication can cause confusion as to what document the witness was actually reviewing. If there were two Exhibit 5’s then when the witness said they were looking at Exhibit 5 which document were they really reviewing?
Also if an exhibit retains the same number for the life of the case then it makes referencing the exhibit much easier both in transcripts and in briefs. That’s because the same exhibit always has the same number. Therefore when you reference Exhibit 3 it is always the same document. This practice saves time and prevents the reader from having to go back to figure out what Exhibit 3 was in any particular deposition.
IF YOU NORMALLY START EACH DEPOSITION AT EXHIBIT 1
If you normally start each deposition with Exhibit 1 we would ask that you to give this system a try. With paper it was much more difficult to remember what exhibit number you stopped at in the previous deposition and the risk of duplicating exhibit numbers was much greater. With AgileLaw those concerns are eliminated so you will not have mistakes using a sequential numbering system. Also it really does not matter what number you give to any particular exhibit. You could just as easily start at Exhibit 73 as you could with Exhibit 1. It’s just a label. So we suggest that you give this method a try even if you are not comfortable with it or have not done it this way in the past with paper.
AgileLaw also makes it easy to download the archive of documents that were used for each witness so you do not need to use stamp numbers to determine which documents were presented to any particular witness. For more information on how to access the archive of documents shown to a witness, click here.
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO START EACH DEPOSITION AT EXHIBIT 1
If you really want to start each deposition using Exhibit 1, then there are two steps you must take. First, you have to give each stamp a unique number. One way to do that is to use preceding zeros to make the number unique.
For example Exhibit 1 is not a duplicate of Exhibit 01, which is also not a duplicate of Exhibit 001. Another way to prevent duplicates is to insert the deponent last name as a prefix or suffix before the number. So for example, Smith 1, Smith 2, Smith 3, etc. With either of these methods, however, the exhibit will take on the stamp that you apply. If you want to reuse that same document in a subsequent deposition the document will continue to have the stamp that was applied originally. If you do not want to have the old stamp on the document in the second deposition then you need to upload another copy of the document. This new copy will be “clean” (no stamp) and then you can mark it again with a different number.
MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS DEPOSITIONS
If you are conducting multiple simultaneous depositions in the same case then AgileLaw handles this to prevent duplicates. As soon as an exhibit number is used in one deposition that number is reserved and cannot be used in another deposition. Consider a situation where the depositions of George Washington and John Adams are being taken simultaneously. If the first two exhibits presented are shown to George Washington then the exhibit numbers used will be reserved and not available in the Adams deposition. If Exhibit 1 and 2 are marked then when the first document is marked in the Adams deposition the system will suggest 3. The next document marked in either deposition would then be 4, and so on.
The system will also skip any numbers that have been used on documents that were pre-marked with exhibit stands even if those documents have not been revealed to a witness in any deposition.