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PARALEGALS

Process service is a vital part of any legal proceeding. Delivering documentation in a timely manner not only prevents delays, it also protects the legal rights of all the individuals involved – including the defendant’s right to due process. 

If a lawyer or firm needs to hire a process server, it’s often a paralegal’s job to manage the process. It’s important work, but it can be done efficiently and effectively with the following guidelines.

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Our Pledge to You

We do everything in our power to assure that your job gets accomplished, accurately, quickly, on-time and proficiently. Because of this, we pledge to live up to our reputation by providing only the best service for Paralegals and other clients. We will not let you down. YOU are what makes our present & future business.

Don’t We Have Sheriff’s Deputies for That?

When procedural rules allow the use of process servers, they can work closely with an attorney or paralegal to plan a course of action that increases the chance of a favorable outcome. Process servers have much more flexibility than a sheriff’s deputy or delivery service. A sheriff’s deputy or delivery service will have other duties and are usually unable to serve your target at the precise time needed, especially if there is a narrow window of opportunity. Process servers also have the ability to wait for targets to show up at designated locations if the target is not immediately available.

Process Servers are More Than Couriers

There is much more to process serving than just handing someone paperwork. A good process server is organized, has great people skills (getting intel from a nosy neighbor about the target’s comings and goings), is adept at tracking down the target (when provided the right information), has great attention to detail (cars have been moved, blinds have been closed, the dog was inside and is now in the backyard), and has the ability to adapt quickly to a range of circumstances – any of which could go terribly wrong at any given time.

They must also be creative when serving targets that are notorious for avoiding service. Any process server that has been in the field for more than a few years can tell you dozens of stories about people attempting to evade service by lying about their identity, refusing to come to the door, or making threatening comments or gestures. Some process servers have had to fend off dogs, walk away from a drawn firearm, avoid being hit by a car, and other types of dangerous situations. Occasionally, a process server may even need to contact local law enforcement for assistance when they are trying to carry out their duties and a target threatens violence. Process servers are frequently sent into questionable situations with very little information about their target.

Process Servers May Ask a Lot of Questions, But There is a Reason for That

At times, when legal professionals are crunched for time, they may expect a quote, timeframe for service, or other detailed information without providing information the process server needs to answer those questions. Just as attorneys have initial consultations before giving legal advice, process servers need additional information before they can give accurate answers based on a particular set of facts. Process servers understand urgency, but are better prepared to answer questions if they have all the information needed.

Information to Provide Your Process Server

  1. What is the Case Name and Case Number?

  2. What is the name of the person (target) you are attempting to serve?

  3. Does the target have any nicknames or aliases?

  4. Does the person to be served work? If so, please provide the address and work schedule as completely as possible.

  5. If we are serving documents at a residence, please let us know whether the person to be served rents or owns their home.

  6. Please also let us know whether the person to be served lives alone or whether there may be other adults (or others of appropriate age) living in the home that may accept service.

  7. Please let us know if your state, for these particular documents, allows us to serve another person that confirms they live at the property instead of the specific person we are trying to serve.

  8. If you answered affirmatively (yes) to the question above, how old must the alternate person be to accept service?

  9. Please provide the year, make, model, and color of the vehicle or vehicles the person to be served drives.

  10. Please provide any social media websites that this person may use to assist with identification.

  11. Is the person to be served aware that we will be trying to serve them? Are they avoiding service at this time and have you attempted any other service methods?

  12. Please provide at least one cell phone number to a person who has decision making authority if we run into an issue that requires a change in plans/methods. This person should be available to answer calls in the evening or on weekends if necessary.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Process Server

​As a final word, because process servers are not regulated by the state, there are a lot of businesses that pop up overnight and disappear just as quickly. There are also process servers who are not familiar with procedural rules. Sometimes legal professionals skip asking important questions because they have a narrow window of time to complete service. But, asking these questions before you hand your documents over to be served can save you a lot of hassle.

  1. Ask how long they have been in business. If they have been in operation for less than a year or two, they may not have the experience needed to do the job well.

  2. Do they have a good understanding of the Rules of Civil Procedure? Do they know what constitutes good service?

  3. Do they have a website? There’s a good chance that you found them on Google so you may have seen their website. But, there are also some websites that provide lists of process servers you can call. Make sure you go to that particular business’s website. If it looks like it’s thrown together haphazardly, it may be best to move on to someone else.

  4. Do they have references from other legal professionals? Even if you choose not to follow up on those references (although you probably should), asking for them can give you some insight into whether they have good working relationships with other attorney-clients.

  5. This isn’t really a question, but make sure you check Google reviews. If there are only 3 or 4 reviews, it’s difficult to know if the reviews are legitimate. If Google shows 30 or more excellent reviews, there’s a better chance you will have your desired outcome.

  6. Do they make court appearances if the person they served contests service? This rarely happens, but you don’t want to find out that your process server has an issue with appearing in court. The last thing you want to do is subpoena your own process server to testify on behalf of your client.