The fast, professional and reliable service of Process servers from trained process servers is vital to the smooth operation of the legal system. The employment of process servers groomed in proper courthouse protocol and in the rules of service of process guarantees that there will be no undue procedural errors that could result in costly delays for attorneys and their clients.
When a law firm or pro se litigant is seeking to employ an independent process server or serving firm with several servers, there are some factors that should be considered. The first consideration is to find a server who can provide quality and timely service. This means that the server has the latest technology in order to maintain the highest quality of service while, at the same time, keeping costs down. Because of the rising cost of gasoline, many servers are utilizing advanced technology in order to maintain reasonable prices. Some of these suggested technologies are the GPS navigation systems, mobile Internet, fax to email capabilities, cell phones, national databases for skip tracing, and online tracking of documents. The Internet has created the “Age of Instantaneous Communication,” and it is imperative that the consumer in need of service of process utilize those servers who can not only deliver the requested legal documentation, but who can also provide the required proof of such service in a timely manner and an online record of tracking of documents relative to each case.
Attorneys and litigants can ultimately get a better bang for their buck by securing the services of a professional process serving firm. If the client selects a private contractor instead of a firm, he’ll sometimes save a few dollars on the first few papers; however, the service level that he’ll receive will be markedly decreased. Attorneys who choose to secure an independent process server also run the risk of not having the server available to meet all of the attorney’s needs. No matter how reliable the server may be, he can not provide the emergency availability of service that is offered by a firm that utilizes the modern tools of the trade and has several process servers at their disposal. If an independent private contractor is not available for the emergency delivery of a subpoena, a pick up for emergency filing; a detailed skip trace on a hard to find plaintiff; how can he meet the client’s needs? Most independent servers must be on the road serving instead of concentrating on all the needs of the client. A licensed, certified and bonded process serving firm may be your best choice, in order to ensure the timely and professional operation of your business. A full service litigation support firm can free up your personnel’s time in order for your firm to utilize them better.
Imagine utilizing a server that offers mobile offices so that priority business can be handled immediately. With this option, a subpoena that has to be served today can be faxed directly to the server in the field and served within minutes or hours instead of days. By utilizing the latest technologies, the server and client receive faster more accurate information with less time spent on tracking each step of the process. With the availability of online tracking, the client no longer has to track down the server for status. On press of a button pulls up all needed information and is done at the clients convenience, not the servers.
Suppose you employ a local service of process firm that can meet all your identifiable needs but you need a subpoena served on a gentleman who is employed as a baggage inspector at Dallas International Airport. Can your server provide out-of-state service? The answer should be an emphatic yes. Process servers can deliver legal documents to individuals involved in various forms of litigation locally, throughout the state, or in any other jurisdiction in the U.S. Some jurisdictions allow legal documents to be served only by lawfully appointed sheriffs, while others permit the serving of papers by licensed servers only. An attorney can avoid spending the extra time to ensure the due diligence required in researching the rules of service in a particular domain by employing a full service firm that routinely provides this service for their clients. Since your server would need to employ a trusted server from the location to be served to perform the delivery, it is imperative that your server have established relationships with a network of servers throughout the U.S. These servers are acquainted with rules particular and distinct to their jurisdiction which saves time and money for the attorneys client. Once again, the utilization of a reputable firm will ensure that these matters will not interfere or delay your service of process.
It is important that an attorney or litigant secure the services of a trained server who has experience in court house procedural matters such as court filings, research and document retrieval. An untrained or inexperienced server could create additional problems and undue delays in service which will, inevitably, cost the client time and money and impede the progress of the case. In order to better educate their teams, professional service of process firms have implemented training programs in service and court house protocol, and also in the use of mobile office tools.
The service of process firm must also be knowledgeable in the area of skip tracing and in locating hard to find defendants/missing persons. Process serving firms use electronic databases to track down individuals who have “skipped’ out, but also must be knowledgeable of in the field investigative techniques. Sometimes the electronic databases work and sometimes the old “shoe leather” must be utilized for those really difficult defendants. While the remarkable development of the Internet, and the many public databases now available, has propelled this field into an “electronic age”, the old “gumshoe” approach is still a feasible method of locating people who, for one reason or another, can not be located or do not want to be located. A process server that uses just one of these techniques does not give their client the quality of service needed in today’s fast paced world Thus, a server needs to be computer literate and able to access the modern technologies that are available and be trained in investigative techniques.
Before hiring a process server, be sure that they have the capability to deliver the following services:
· Quality and timely service
· Utilization of the latest technology available in the field
· Related services, such as skip trace, property inspection, document preparation, etc.
· Network with other trusted servers across the country
· Trained professional staff
· Licensed, certified and bonded
In today’s world, you can’t entrust your business and reputation to a server who doesn’t utilize the necessary tools and equipment that will provide you and your clients with the competitive edge your business deserves!
This article was prepared by Colin Keogh of Salus Services, Inc. Salus Services is a professional litigation support company that offers service of process, mobile notary, skip tracing, courier services, document retrieval, demonstrative evidence preparation, copying and much more. Their team of highly trained professional customer service personnel have been trained to meet all the support needs of a litigation law firm.