Between The Lines: Enhance & Automate Alternative Service

May 24, 2021 6 min read
Heather Thomas

Written by 

Heather Thomas
Director, Marketing, ABC Legal Services. Heather combines her natural curiosity and organizational skills to develop content and nurture stories at ABC Legal. A believer in good design and great brand experiences, she looks for opportunities to investigate, design, and create within the brand.

ABC Legal Services is able to provide a unique alternative service experience in several states including Texas, New York, and Arizona. These enhancements are currently available to legal professional clients only, due to the nature of the alternative service approval.* Enhanced and automated solutions bring a new level of speed and efficiency to the alternative service process.


Enhancing Alternative Service

Attorneys turn to alternate means when process servers cannot serve defendants through direct methods. When required, qualifying for alternative service can be a tedious process. Each court system looks at service of process and alternative service differently. Courts set specific criteria service attempts must meet and in some cases, require additional validation regarding the defendant's location. That validation is often beyond the capacity of a standard process server. It’s not, however, beyond ABC Legal.

ABC Legal offers a variety of legal services that can enhance service of process and in turn, make alternative service simple. Having the capacity to file court documents and open investigations internally allows for faster turnarounds and means that ABC Legal's clients don't have to go elsewhere to get validation. 


Alternative Service in New York and Arizona

For New York, qualifying legal professional customers can combine investigation services with service of process to get posted service out faster. ABC Legal's investigations team consists of licensed private investigators. This team oversees the various skip trace solutions offered at ABC Legal - instant skip, deep skip, and pre-suit skip.

New York’s process for alternative service is fairly simple, requiring validation of "last known address". The address on a defendant’s driver’s license often meets this requirement. Once the address is validated, process servers may post or "Nail and mail" after making three qualifying attempts.

ABC Legal's investigations team can search New York DMV database records for deep skip customers when a job queues for non-service review. In many cases, if the address matches the license, ABC Legal can send the process server back to post service. If a different address is found, process servers can be sent to the new location to continue service attempts. This keeps the address validation fast and in-house. Attorneys do not need to hire an outside vendor to investigate, saving them time and resources.

In Arizona, alternative service is available if service attempts were unsuccessful because the defendant couldn’t be contacted during service or if they appear to be avoiding service. Court approval is required for alternative service in Arizona. One of Arizona’s courts’ preferred residency indicators is the address on a defendant’s valid driver’s license.

ABC Legal's investigations team has access to state databases and can validate the address based on driver’s license records. ABC Legal can provide this information to its deep skip customers. Paired with input from diligent service attempts, the data is persuasive to a court and helps attorneys get approval for an order for alternative service. 


Why Automate Alternative Services?

As a leader in legal tech for service of process, ABC Legal specializes in improving processes with technology, including automation. Alternative Service is no exception. Automating alternative service helps save time and effort on a repetitive process.

Most of the information required to file for alternative service comes from existing data points - the initial filing, observations gathered during service attempts, validation from investigations, and documentation from courts. The way the information comes together is standard. There isn’t a lot of human input necessary once pathways are mapped between documents.

 As easy as copying data can be - it makes sense to let a system take care of the tedious process. Automation like this takes experimentation and validation against court requirements. Once it’s done, it’s highly efficient. It’s part of why ABC Legal is able to handle high volumes of cases that require alternative service.


Alternative Service in Texas

The strict regulations around service of process and the straightforward process to file for alternative service are a winning combination. They make alternative service a frequent, repetitive task. As a high-volume service of process and e-filing provider in Texas, ABC Legal is highly familiar with what different courts accept.

After a document moves to non-service, ABC Legal's investigations team reviews it for compliance. Rules 106 and 501 in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure set the base for alternative service for citations and petitions.*  The team considers additional qualifiers for the service attempts based on the county and court where the motion will be filed. Once qualifiers are met, an automated process brings together the necessary documentation, submits it to court, and ultimately gets the documents back out for alternative service.


Alternative Service with ABC Legal

The enhanced and automated solutions for alternative service at ABC Legal rest on a solid foundation of quality service of process. ABC Legal is constantly looking for ways to improve and new processes that could benefit from a closer look. Request a demo to get a conversation started about how ABC Legal can help improve processes for legal professionals. For more legal industry best practices, helpful tips, and breakdowns on the latest in legal tech, subscribe to the ABC Legal Blog or follow us on social media. 


*Due to the nature of the applicable cases and investigations requirements in general, these are part of our legal professional service offerings. Please note: ABC Legal does not move for alternative service for citation and petitions when documents are served to or at a business. These cases require a greater level of attorney involvement and are not suitable for the automated process at this time.


Heather Thomas

Written by 

Heather Thomas
Director, Marketing, ABC Legal Services. Heather combines her natural curiosity and organizational skills to develop content and nurture stories at ABC Legal. A believer in good design and great brand experiences, she looks for opportunities to investigate, design, and create within the brand.
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