Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC
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 Tips For Choosing The Right Process Server 

Divorce Law Firm

There are many different legal scenarios where a process server is needed, including when you are getting a divorce. As the service of process team at L&L Service explains, finding a process server can often be like searching for a plumber- when you need one urgently, you probably pick the first one you find. After all, how hard can it be to hand someone documents?  It’s not as easy as it seems, that’s why choosing the right process server is probably a lot more important than just picking the first one you find. Whether you’re an attorney, paralegal, or individual seeking to serve legal documents, selecting the right process server can make all the difference in the success of your case.  Even more so if you’re a law firm looking to get many of your difficult cases served in the long term. Developing a relationship with a reliable process server will help your firm in the long run especially when you have urgent requests and need service done quickly. In this post, we’ll outline key factors to consider when choosing a process server to ensure that your documents are served in a timely and effective manner.

Probably the #1 complaint from attorneys about the process servers they are using is, “My process server never gets back to me”, or “It takes 2 weeks for my process server to send me the return of service”.  When choosing a process server, this is so important because reliability and responsiveness matter. Not only because good customer service is what we all want, but also staying abreast of the status of serving your defendant can impact your case, whether this person is avoiding service, or needing to run additional searches to find the individual and time is ticking of course.  The process server should always be aware of deadlines and be able to quickly answer any questions you may have.  Good communication skills are important: is the process serving office available by phone or text messages? Can you log into a portal to view your cases and see status information in one place?  Are their emails being monitored by several people to ensure a timely response?  A great process server makes themselves available to discuss your case at any time or at least will get back to you fairly quickly.  Communication could make or break a process server/client relationship and impact your case’s success.

You would think that process servers go to school or go through rigorous training as professionals, but that really is not the case for the majority of process servers. In a few counties, being a licensed process server is not even a requirement.  Majority of process servers learn from their own experience of trial and error or are lucky enough to learn from a mentor that has years of experience under their belt and can teach them all the street smart tactics they need to be successful process servers.  It’s important to know whether a process serving office is employing experienced and trained process servers and that they are knowledgeable about their local process serving laws and legal procedures to properly serve any kind of document. You’ll want to check public reviews of the business to also know if they have a proven track record of successful service or ask other law firms what their experience has been with a particular process serving office.  Additionally, you will want to know if they have the ability to locate hard-to-find Individuals that are either avoiding service or simply are hiding.  A process server that has experience in using skip trace locates to find hard to find individuals, is definitely a plus as they will also be able to find information on what properties a defendant owns, where their vehicles are registered, businesses they have and even relatives that could serve as coresidents when sub-serving documents.  A good process server should have experience and expertise in locating and serving these individuals. In even more difficult cases where a server needs to catch a defendant by surprise, surveillance is a key skill and not one that all process do well or even want to do.  Finding a process serving office with available process servers with this kind of “detective” experience is definitely a plus. 

Lastly, as a law firm that wants to develop a strong relationship with a process serving company, you’ll want to know if their process servers are utilizing the latest technology and the necessary resources to ensure that the service is completed in a timely and efficient manner. This can include GPS tracking, online case management, and access to databases and other resources. It’s essential that process servers keep exceptional record keeping on detailed attempts, photos or even videos that could be important to a case in case the service is challenged in court.

At the end of the day, any process server could probably serve a simple medical records subpoena at a doctor’s office, but you ultimately want a process serving partner that exemplifies the highest professionalism and knowledge for those difficult to serve cases.  Process servers are under constant stress and threats to their safety and choosing a  process server who is professional in their appearance, demeanor, and conduct is important to not escalate a negative situation. They should represent you and your interests in a professional and ethical manner at all times.

Think twice before you think that all process servers are the same and do some research to make sure you get one that is good for you.