Every year, there are over 100 million cases filed in state trial courts. Filings in federal trial courts are less with an average of 400,000 cases. Many of these filings include mountains of evidence also referred to as court exhibits.
Proper labeling and indexing of each court exhibit can prevent logistical nightmares for law firms and courts. Mislabeled exhibits can adversely affect the outcome of your client’s case.
You should know how to label exhibits to ensure you’re well-prepared for your case. Here are some things you’ll need to know before going to trial.
Types of Evidence
Evidence usually falls into one of four categories. Knowing what these are can help you organize your case. They include:
This includes any tangible evidence involved in the case. An example of this is an object or weapon. Evidence that is relevant, material, and competent will fall into this category.
Demonstrative evidence is mainly used to substantiate a witness’s claims. What are the criteria for its admissibility? It must reflect a fair and accurate account of the witness’s statements.
This type of evidence is basic. There are no prerequisites for its admissibility. The words of individuals deemed competent are always taken into account by the court.
These comprise documents of evidence. It uses the same criteria for admissibility as real evidence. An example of documentary evidence is a contract.
How to Prepare Exhibits for Court
Reviewing and researching are not the only preparation attorneys do for a case. They must also prepare exhibits for Court. This helps to prevent paperwork nightmares including the loss of critical evidence. Here are a few steps you can take to stay organized.
Categorize and Prepare Your Evidence
Once you determine your evidence category, you can then prepare each for court. This should take into account the logistics involved in submitting the evidence. This includes showing video footage and transporting larger items to court.
Organize Your Exhibits
You should arrange your exhibits based on how you will be presenting your case. Once they’re in order, label each one and make at least three copies of each.
List and File Them
Labeling your exhibits makes them easier to list and file. It also allows you to check to see if any evidence is missing. Your list should include a complete exhibit index that indicates:
- The date
- Type of exhibit
- Source or author of each
- A short description of each
This will make it easier to quickly retrieve any exhibit you need.
How to Label Court Exhibits
You might be uncertain how to prepare court exhibits. Exhibit labels are a great place to start. You can use them to categorize and easily identify your exhibits.
Use labels to number each page of your exhibit in the lower right-hand corner. You should label them chronologically. Start with “1” if you’re representing the Petitioner of Plaintiff. If you’re representing the Respondent or Defendant, start your numbering at “101”.
This system will allow you to complete your exhibit index. You can then file it with the court along with the physical exhibits. For more information on the best types of exhibit labels your firm should use.
Preparing for the Best Outcome
Most attorneys have multiple cases to deal with at any given time. This may be the case at your law firm as well. TIt’s essential that you’re thoroughly prepared and organized.
This includes putting measures in place when filing a court exhibit. It ensures that documents aren’t misplaced or lost. This increases the chances of a favorable outcome for your clients.
We would love to help you succeed! For more advice on keeping your law firm organized, go to the Business section of our site.