Making numbering Interrogatories and Requests for Production/Admission Easy (with Video)

 In Technology

Numbering requests for production and requests for admission is something that legal secretaries and attorneys loathe.  It’s something that systems administrators loathe to see take so long to do.  It’s an error-prone process that occasionally results in mis-numbering and confusion, and when mistakes occur, it just looks bad.

Microsoft Word has auto-numbering features that can make things like this easier.  One way that we use auto-numbering is for legal-style numbered paragraphs.  Properly applied to Styles in Word, numbered paragraphs are easy, automatic, and they update themselves.  We use multilevel lists to accomplish numbered paragraphs, and it works wonderfully.

When tasked with making Requests for Admissions, Requests for Production, and Interrogatories just as easy to number, I went to multilevel lists.  It turned out multilevel lists weren’t the right way to go, for a couple reasons.

  • For proper multilevel lists, each level is tied to a heading, and has its place in the document tiers. ROGs, RFAs, and RFPs are independent numbered lists that don’t restart after their parent in the list changes numbers.
  • There’s a character limit to the numbered list prefix. “REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 1: “ wouldn’t fit as a list prefix.  I didn’t realize Word held this limit, but thankfully it did, because that caused me to search out a better solution.

The proper way to accomplish easy numbering like this is using Word’s SEQ field matched with Autotext.  I followed the steps found at Deborah Savadra’s article, then deployed a read-only copy of my Building Blocks.dotx (renamed to PCVA Building Blocks.dotx to prevent overwriting users’ customizations) to all users in our organization.  Below a video I made that shows just how well this works.  Enjoy.

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