When you search for a service of process vendor online, the results that come back can be overwhelming. What should you be looking for to determine whether or not a vendor provides quality service that will best suit your legal needs?
Establishing a presence online isn’t difficult. Profiles or websites can be stood up in a matter of days and while your friend’s referral to a process server provider speaks volumes, they may not be the best server for your firm. So, how can you separate a legitimate service of process vendor from those who offer sub-par service? The best way to start is by asking these seven questions.
1. How Long Does It Take To Complete An Order?
Time is of the essence when it comes to lawsuits. You can’t afford to place an order with a process server vendor and wait days or even weeks for them to manage the order. A professional process server vendor should make the order submission process easy and be able to provide confirmation of an order in a minute or two. This will enable the process server to get to work right away with no time wasted.
A preferred vendor will let you upload your documents, list the parties to be served, and submit, with no additional stress. For normal cases, all you should have to do thereafter is simply monitor the order online through proof of service.
2. Does The Vendor Provide Real-Time Updates?
Communication is important when you hire a process server. No one likes to give their documents to a vendor and then be kept in the dark until a successful proof of service has been filed.
Examine the vendor’s communication practices. A good vendor will make use of technology to provide real-time updates on the process server’s progression. As an example, using their phone's camera and GPS capabilities, process servers can record information while in the field. Photos, time-stamped service records, and GPS coordinates prove when and where a process server is at all times. It's data that can support meeting local requirements for service of process. Another benefit of real-time status updates is that it’s possible to communicate with the process server in a timely manner to better understand and navigate unforeseen obstacles.
3. What Steps Does The Vendor Take To Optimize Speed?
Time savings can be a key benefit to using process server companies. Always ask a new vendor to walk through the steps they take to ensure efficiency and pay attention to how much automation is involved.
As an example, ABC Legal makes use of a variety of technologies to support the fastest service of process. Legal documents go to process servers via our app, ensuring that process servers established in our network get the documents for jobs they claim fast, so they can begin service as quickly as possible. If service cannot be completed at an address, then an instant skip trace is performed to quickly find an alternative address for service and avoid delay. In addition, ABC Legal automates service of process proof filing with e-filing where accepted, provides tools for venue selection and verification, and connects to different databases for electronic data exchanges that can improve accuracy. Tasks that could eat up hours of the day can be accomplished in seconds with the right tech.
4. How Is Service Validated And How Is Proof Of Service Provided?
Another area ripe for automation is proof of service. After all, proof of service is ultimately what it’s about. You need a vendor that can provide quality, accurate, and timely proofs each time to ensure service can’t be called into question in court.
Always ask process server companies what steps they are taking to aid accuracy and efficiency. Use of mobile apps, secure websites, data transfers, and electronic imaging tools should all be standard. Process servers should do everything in their power to ensure they provide detailed accounts not only of successful service, but also of each attempt to ensure compliance in certain states. Recorded evidence proving when and where the service took place goes a long way to ensure proper service.
Additionally, a good vendor will ensure that process servers provide the detail and accuracy your case needs. For example, ABC Legal’s app has prompts to enable process servers to quickly record a descriptive, accurate, and compliant account of every attempt. The app speeds up and increases the accuracy of input, ensuring that the descriptions contained for the purpose of proof are compliant and descriptive. ABC Legal Mobile also allows process server to e-sign and submit the documents to court in states where allowed.
Communication is important. You should expect real-time proof of service status notifications from a professional process server, so you can review documentation as soon as possible, if desired.
5. How Knowledgeable Are Process Servers When It Comes To Local Regulations?
The rules for delivering effective service of process vary by state and can be fairly specific. Apart from process servers in some states, like Washington, needing to meet residency requirements, they may also need to be familiar with acceptable procedures for the applicable jurisdiction and case. There are very specific requirements in New York for service of process in landlord tenant cases, for example.
The best way to ensure your vendor has the right expertise for the job is to choose someone who oversees local process servers in the field, regardless of where they are located. ABC Legal has a deep network of more than 2,000 process servers in all 50 states and 77 countries. ABC Legal’s guidance and support comes from the volume of service of process we handle across the country, resulting in nearly daily engagements with local courts. This serves to amplify what an individual would know with what the rest of the network experiences.
Each professional process server knows exactly what is required for proper service of process in their respective jurisdictions. They know the correct ways to make every effort to get the necessary documents in the hand of the named party. A professional process server will use substituted service only in situations where it is acceptable and ensure they do so in accordance with local laws. ABC Legal validates every service against the particular court’s rules and regulations.
6. Can You Provide International Service Of Process?
Sometimes you may need a third-party process server vendor for legal proceedings involving parties who reside outside the United States. The right partner will have process servers around the world to ensure that any and all legal documents are delivered to parties according to the rules set forth by the Hague Convention and other international treaties.
Some process server companies will have greater expertise than others. For example, as the only acting Central Authority of the U.S. Department of Justice, ABC Legal is the official and recognized contracted provider for receiving the service of process requests originating from abroad into the U.S., pursuant to the Hague Convention, Inter-American Convention, and Letters Rogatory.
What Does Pricing Look Like?
Prices for service of process can vary considerably among process server companies. Common factors that can affect pricing include whether the service is standard or is a rush request and the number of parties named in a lawsuit. The right vendor will always provide clarity about their pricing structure up front. Not all process server providers include the same things in their pricing. Be sure to check the scope of work covered to avoid surprise fees. Look for standard or flat fees that cover everything from the service itself (such as printing documents) to multiple attempts. Some companies will even provide additional services at no extra cost. For example, ABC Legal’s service of process includes free instant skip-tracing on bad addresses, something that is a separate charge – if it’s even offered – with other vendors.
Learn More About Why ABC Legal Is A Trusted Vendor For Service Of Process
It is important to ensure a process server can help meet your needs. A vendor should be able to complete your order quickly and provide you with real-time updates. They should always be working to improve service of process efficiency. You should always ask a vendor how service of process is validated and how proof of service will be provided. Make sure a vendor works with process servers who understand local rules and regulations. If you need international service of process, make sure that this is something the vendor can provide. Finally, make sure the pricing includes the level of service that you need to succeed.
At ABC Legal, we take pride in turning around orders fast while keeping you apprised of how service of process is being carried out, in real-time. We are always looking for ways to speed up service of process without cutting corners. You can rely on us to provide you with proof of service that will stand up to scrutiny in court, and we work with only knowledgeable process servers who understand what effective service of process looks like in their jurisdiction. We also handle service of process outside of the United States––all with transparent pricing. We invite you to start a conversation with us to learn more. Or, if you have an immediate need, place an order online.