Welcome to the Lafayette Process Servers LLC Podcast. I’m your host Scott Frank, and today we are dedicating this episode to our law firm’s biggest support staff – our paralegals. We’ll walk through how process servers can help make your daily tasks more efficient, their services, and what to look for when hiring one for your law firm.
As experienced and professional process servers, we have worked with hundreds of law firms and paralegals across the state and country and know firsthand how busy the job can be. We’ll give you some insider tips on how to get legal documents served quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to the other parts of your daily work.
Thanks for tuning in! Let’s get started.
How Do Process Servers Help Paralegals and What Documents Do They Serve?
So, as you probably know, having an excellent process server is vital to getting your legal paperwork served properly and efficiently. But, like most service providers, if you pick the wrong company, you could lose valuable time and money and, more importantly, possibly delay your firm’s court case.
Whether you’re looking to find a process server company to serve a witness, defendant, or opposing counsel, it’s important that you find someone that is experienced and can do the job well.
Before we give our top tips on hiring a process server, it’s essential to know what documents a process server should be able to help you with. An experienced, reputable process server should be able to serve a firm’s legal papers such as:
- Summonses (including Citations, Civil Summonses, and Administrative Summonses)
- Subpoenas (including Subpoena Ad Testificandum, Plaintiff and Subpoena Duces Tecum)
- Family court documents (including Divorce Petitions, Child Support, and Emergency Guardianship papers, and legal proceeding documents)
- Petitions (including Bankruptcy Petitions, Peace and Protective Petitions, or Winding Up Petitions)
- Landlord or tenant notices
- Eviction notices
- Garnishment notices
- Writs (Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, and Quo-Warranto)
- Orders to show cause
- Orders of protection
- Freezing orders
- Specific Issue orders
- Small claims court documents
- Discovery documents
- Statutory Demands
If your law firm specializes in a specific area of law and frequently processes the same types of documents, it is important that you hire a licensed process server that is experienced in serving these types of documents.
In addition to the list of legal documents above, some process server services that a process servers offer may include:
- Assist with court filings;
- Deliver same-day legal courier service;
- Help with document retrieval;
- Help with witness locating and skip tracing;
- Carry out criminal and civil background checks;
- Perform legal and courthouse research; and
- Offer court paper “walk-throughs.”
8 Tips on How to Hire a Process Server
Now that we’ve covered what documents a process server can help you with any other services they may provide, let’s discuss how you can find the best process serving company.
Tip #1: Find a reputable company that offers excellent communication and client service.
We understand how important it is for you to meet deadlines with the court system and opposing counsel. However, it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re left in limbo to wonder whether a witness or defendant has been located and been served. A reliable process server with great customer service will help you make this process as smooth as possible and eliminate stress from your daily work.
Online reviews such as Google My Business and Facebook business pages can offer you client reviews and testimonials to help you make the best decision. You can also ask if they can provide rush services, which you may need to tap into when you have a tight deadline to meet.
Tip #2: Find a person or company that is knowledgeable.
As you know, in the legal field, it’s essential to have a degree of knowledge and expertise within your specific area or niche. With process serving, this is no different. Therefore, it’s important that you hire a private process server that understands the specific laws and regulations pertaining to the legal papers they are delivering.
If a process server is unfamiliar or inexperienced with state and local rules, this could delay your law firm’s court case and cause an unnecessary headache for you, the paralegal. While they are not licensed attorneys, servers should know how to serve documents for most types of legal filings and proceedings. When you speak with them, be sure to ask for their list of credentials and their professional or community affiliations. You may also want to determine if they are experienced in the particular type of law your firm specializes in for the best chances of success.
Tip #3: Find someone with many years of experience in the legal industry.
Just as with law firms, process servers succeed on many years of successful process service within the industry. However, if they are unreliable, nonresponsive, or inexperienced, their business will not succeed in the long term.
When meeting with potential process servers, it’s a good idea to choose someone that is just as experienced as you are and that they understand the lifecycle of a court case, whether it’s a civil or criminal case. Doing this will avoid any amateur mistakes that could potentially impact the success of your lawsuit or court case. You can find a process server’s experience level by asking your colleagues or asking the process server directly. You can ask them how long they have been in the process serving field, how many years their company has been in business, how many clients they have served, and the types of cases they have worked on. They should be upfront and transparent with you on their background and skill level.
Tip #4: Find a company with an excellent reputation.
Whoever you hire will be responsible for your client’s confidential, time-sensitive paperwork, and so they’ll need to have a stellar reputation. In addition, they will need to be trusted to follow up with you on their service and alert you if there are any concerns about locating the person they are responsible for serving.
When speaking with a company, ask them for a list of client references and follow up with every contact or law firm that they provide you. If you talk with another paralegal or attorney and they’ve had a negative experience with this business, it’s best not to hire them. In that case, you should keep researching until you find a company with an impeccable record and a big book of client testimonials.
Tip #5: Research the company’s service areas.
For the person that needs to be served legal paperwork, they can be dodgy at times and a moving target. The process server that you hire must be willing to work until the job is complete. If they serve a limited local area, they may not be willing to travel out of town to serve your legal papers. When meeting with potential companies, be sure to ask the range of their service area and whether they are willing to travel.
Tip #6: Evaluate the cost of service.
As the famous saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” And process serving is no different. While you may be tempted to find the cheapest price for your law firm or attorneys, there are lots of horror stories on the internet that include process servers that have over-promised and under-delivered. Finding the cheapest option available has the potential to backfire, so it’s important that you hire someone that provides quality and results, even if that means paying a little more for that quality.
When evaluating a process server company, you should ask their rates and fees, including any rush orders. In addition, however, you should take into account the amount of time that will be required of them, the degree of experience needed to locate and serve the particular person, and how far they’ll need to travel to complete service.
Tip #7: Determine whether they are excellent record-keepers and leverage technology.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the legal industry is increasingly incorporating technology into the modern law practice. So, it’s important that your process server has adopted similar practices and tools. Process servers should leverage all resources available to them, including databases and technological applications. By using these tools, they will be able to provide you with precise record-keeping that is vital to the success of your case. Their detailed reporting will also help you evaluate their performance level and measure it to determine if you should continue to send them repeat business.
When assessing their technological and record-keeping capabilities, you can ask whether they accept online payments and the types of technologies that they use. You may find that these technologies integrate easily with your firm’s existing systems such as your case management, CRM, or email systems.
As an added technology benefit, some process servers go the extra mile by using body cameras while serving legal documents. This offers an extra layer of safety when walking into unknown environments, but it also provides law firms and paralegals additional evidence when submitting paperwork to the courts.
Tip #8: Assess their rate of success.
In many cases, when a person learns that they may be served, they could be elusive and avoid receiving their legal papers. It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees that a process server can locate the individual every single time. However, it’s a good idea to learn how successful they have been in the past to predict whether they will deliver results for you and your law firm.
When speaking with a process server, ask them how long they may expect your documents to be served and how they handle situations where a person evades service. This will be a good indicator of whether you’re hiring a company with the highest degree of service.
In addition to these helpful tips, you should also hold process servers to the same degree of character that you offer to your own legal clients. Some valuable attributes of a process server should include:
- If they are able to work well under pressure and meet your deadlines.
- Whether they can build trusting relationships in your local and state legal community.
- If they can how to follow your instructions properly.
- Whether they are organized, keep precise records, and report their results back to you efficiently and accurately.
- If they can handle your client’s sensitive information and maintain confidentiality with you, your attorney(s) and law firm.
Hire a Professional Process Server that Delivers Results
Without a doubt, paralegals are the engine that help law firms run efficiently and smoothly. And hiring a trusted process server will help reduce stress of worrying if your documents are being processed properly. At Baton Rouge Process Servers, we’re proud of our reputation for excellence and do more than just serve legal documents. We’re your local, go to resource for services such as:
- Court Filings
- Same-Day Legal Courier Service
- Document Retrieval
- Witness Locating and Skip Tracing
- Criminal and Civil Background Checks
- Legal and Courthouse Research
- Court Paper “Walk-Throughs”
If you are looking for registered and dedicated process servers that deliver a high level of service, then Baton Rouge is your answer! Contact us at 1-866-237-2853 or send us an email inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that wraps up our episode for today. We hope that you’ve enjoyed listening in and picked up some valuable tips!
If there was something specific that you’d like us to chat about in a future episode, please let us know, and we would love to cover it for you. We’ll be sure to respond promptly. Thank you again for listening and, until next week, thanks for tuning into our podcast!
The foregoing podcast has simply been presented for informational purposes only. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC are not attorneys. Laws and regulations vary among states and specific jurisdictions. If you seek further information about this topic or any other legal issues, please contact a legal professional in your local area.
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