File-Naming Etiquette

Following on my recent post on document-comparison etiquette, longtime reader Jim Brashear sent me the following:

I’d be interested in reading others’ thoughts and comments on document filename conventions and etiquette. For example, one distributes a set of draft documents with filenames (descriptive or otherwise), and one receives back from various counterparties their edits in documents with completely different filenames (sometimes merely a number randomly generated by their document management system).

When I am not controlling the drafting process, I generally return comments in a file using the original filename with my initials and edit date appended in parentheses, e.g., “originalfilename (JFB edits 15Jul2010).doc.”

When entering into my document management system a file that someone else is controlling, I input the document name followed by their filename in parenthesis. I also set my system so that exported files sent to the counterparties are named using the full document name (with the original filename in parenthesis) rather than merely a document number generated by my document management system.

As with document comparison, this issue doesn’t come up in what I do. I leave it to you, readers, to offer your thoughts.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.