Courts kill a lot of trees. More than 50,000 filings reached America’s courts of appeals in 2020. Some filings ran dozens of pages long and created cases with hundreds of exhibits.
You shouldn’t spend hours of your day flipping through papers. You should use tools like exhibit labels to make things organized and easy to read.
But what should you write on an exhibit label? How can you develop a system so you know what kind of document you are looking at? What do judges think about exhibit labels?
Answer these questions and you can save time with a few simple stickers. Here is what you need to know about exhibit labels.
You Need to Number Each Label
Each exhibit should receive a number that designates what the exhibit is. You can rank your exhibits in order of importance, or you can assign them numbers based on when you will introduce them during the trial. A piece of evidence you introduce in your opening statement can be “Exhibit #001.”
Be consistent with your numbers. Don’t give an exhibit a four-digit number just to make the number distinct.
You Can Develop a Color System
As you look at free exhibit label templates, you may notice different colors of labels. These colors give you another opportunity to develop a system for your exhibits.
Green labels can refer to eyewitness testimony. Blue labels can be pieces of physical evidence that point away from your client. You can mark incriminating evidence with red labels or legal tabs.
You Should Run Your Exhibit Labels by Your Judge
Your judge may have their own system in place for label templates or legal labels. You should always use their system. Your judge can get irritated if they think your labels are inappropriate or distracting.
Most judges like simple labels that are not large. They may ask that you use white or yellow labels and not rely on a color system.
You Must Keep a List of Your Exhibits
Whatever label templates you use, you need to track what exhibits you have. You should write a list with your exhibit numbers and brief descriptions of each exhibit. “Exhibit #001, a photograph of Mr. Smith with Mrs. Smith” is all you need to write.
The list of your exhibits should go in your personal bag. When the judge or another lawyer brings an exhibit up, you can glance at your list and see what you need to provide.
You Should Start Using Exhibit Labels
Exhibit labels can make organizing your legal documents easy. You should write a number on each one that identifies what the exhibit is.
If you want to group exhibits together, you can use a color system. Yet you should run your system by your judge. They may ask that you use their system instead.
Write down the numbers of all of your exhibits on a piece of paper. Keep the paper with you as you go to trial.
Legal labels are just one tool lawyers can use. Read more guides to legal tools by following our coverage.