In many trials, the parties are asked to pre-mark their exhibits, and sometimes it’s as easy as starting with PX-01 for the plaintiff and DX-01 for the defendant, then incrementing with each new exhibit. However, sometimes one side is asked to use numbers (EX-1, EX-2, EX-3, and so on) and the other side is asked to use letters (EX-A, EX-B, EX-C, and so on). This works fine for the side asked to use numbers, but oftentimes the side that is asked to use letters does it incorrectly. Incorrectly assigning letters can cause confusion in the courtroom, especially if there is a large number of exhibits.
Many paralegals know the correct way to assign letters for exhibits. The first 26 exhibits are easy, EX-A through EX-Z, and the next exhibit is also usually correct, EX-AA, but it’s after that where things can go awry. The 28th exhibit should be EX-AB (not EX-BB) followed by EX-AC, EX-AD, EX-AE, EX-AF and so on.
If exhibit letters are assigned incorrectly (AA, BB, CC, DD, and so on) you may end up with exhibit “EX-GGGGGGGGG” (that’s 9 G’s!) for just your 189th exhibit, which is difficult to refer to when examining a witness, difficult for the court reporter to transcribe correctly, and difficult for the court clerk to track. Perhaps worse, saying “Exhibit EX-GGGGGGGGG” that is, “Exhibit 9 G’s” will inevitably slow down the pace of your questioning and prevent the jury from taking note of an important exhibit.
Letters are actually the better system if you assign them correctly. All the matheletes out there know that with letters you’re using base 26, which is much more efficient than the base 10 we use for numbering. By labeling exhibits by letter, you can have 702 exhibits assigned with just 2 letters each before you get to three letters (AAA). In fact, that 189th exhibit that would have incorrectly been labeled “EX-GGGGGGGGG” should actually be “Ex-GG”.
Here’s better news: TrialPad automagically assigns exhibit numbers or letters to documents in the correct way. You can select hundreds of documents and assign exhibits stickers using numbers, or letters, in a couple of steps. This will save you hours of time and potential errors, and it will make sure you are efficient, accurate, and succinct in the courtroom.