Welcome to the Lafayette Process Servers LLC Podcast. I’m your host Scott Frank, and today we are going to talk about how to choose a process server. We’ll give you seven insider tips on how to find the best process server in your area, as well as some great questions to ask before hiring them.
As experienced and professional process servers, we’ve seen it all. And this list of tips will certainly save you time and money when hiring someone to serve your legal documents.
Understanding the Types of Process Servers
First, let’s understand the types of process servers.
When you need papers serving, you have two choices: The first is for the Sheriff’s Department to serve your papers; the second option is hiring a private process server. Whether you have already tried service with the Sheriff’s Department and they were unsuccessful, or you’re looking to hire a private process server for the first time, there are several tips we’d like to share on how to choose a process server.
Understand What Types of Services They Offer
An ideal process server should be able to serve legal documents such as summons, complaints, small claims papers, subpoenas, eviction notices, writs, motions, and orders to show cause.
They should also be able to:
- Provide same-day legal courier service
- Locate witnesses through skip tracing
- Perform criminal and civil background checks
- Retrieve information through courthouse research
- Provide hand-delivery “walk-through” courthouse service
Tip #1: Find a process server that is knowledgeable.
The first thing that you should consider before hiring any type of service provider is their level of knowledge of the laws of your state and local jurisdiction. In the state of Louisiana, there are specific rules and laws that apply to the various types of actions or documents that are being served by a private process server. If they aren’t familiar with these state ordinances, then it could result in invalid service and delay your legal case. By choosing a knowledgeable process server, they will understand how to serve documents for every type of legal proceeding.
When hiring a process server, it is a good idea to learn whether they understand their state and local laws. Some important questions to ask them are:
- Do you meet the state requirements to be a process server?
- Do you stay up-to-date with current rules regarding proper service rules?
- What are some of your professional credentials?
- What are some of your professional and community affiliations?
It is important to remember that, as knowledgeable as a process server may be, they are still not a licensed attorney. If you don’t know what kind of action you want to file, it is important to contact a lawyer in your area that specializes in filing lawsuits.
Tip #2: Find someone with background experience in the process serving industry.
Another point to take into consideration when selecting a process server is their degree of experience. If they don’t have a background in this type of work, it could mean that they aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of the industry. It’s important to choose someone that has worked in the process serving industry for several years, as they’ll understand exactly what needs to happen during the course of a case. They also won’t make the rookie mistakes that could result in delays in your legal case or incur any unnecessary or additional costs.
Some important questions to ask a process server regarding their level of experience include:
- Do you specialize in serving legal documents?
- How long have you been working in this field?
- How many years has your business been in operation?
- Do you work directly with law firms?
- What types of cases have you worked on previously?
Ideally, if possible, find out about their past experiences by asking other lawyers or judges. You can even check online reviews to see what others think about their services
Tip #3: Determine if they have a high success rate.
A good process server will work diligently to serve legal documents on behalf of their clients.
While there are many moving targets in process serving, and there is no guarantee that they will be able successfully to serve the papers, they will still need to perform their job well and be able to follow up with the people that they served. It is important for them to know how to do this properly, and so it’s important to ask about their experiences in serving documents and whether they have encountered any problems in following up with those whom they served.
Some important questions to ask them regarding their success rate include:
- How long do you think it will take to serve my documents?
- Have you ever faced an issue where you were unable to complete a document delivery successfully?
- What do you do when someone is evading service? How do you handle this?
When a party makes a claim of improper service, it could potentially delay, prejudice, or destroy legal matters, so it’s vital to find someone that has a track record of serving papers properly
Tip #4: Make sure that they provide a high level of customer service.
The last thing anyone wants is to get stuck waiting around while trying to figure out why no one showed up at their door after being served. If you’re going to hire a process server, then you must communicate clearly with him or her about expectations and timelines, so everyone knows what needs to happen next. A reliable, professional process server should communicate with the client beforehand to discuss all aspects of the case, including deadlines, expected time frame for delivery, and other details.
When searching for a process server that delivers great customer service, it is important to look at is their online reviews. Websites like Google can provide you with client reviews and give you insight into the quality of customer service provided by the company.
Some great questions to ask your process server regarding their level of customer service and communication include:
- Are you able to meet tight deadlines and provide rush services?
- How do you communicate with your clients and ensure that they stay up-to-date on the status of their legal papers
Tip #5: Find out whether they have a solid reputation.
As with any company that you hire, but even more importantly, when that person is working in the legal community, you want to make sure that the process server has good reliability and trustworthiness. This means that the process server must be reliable enough to serve your document properly but also trustworthy enough to follow up after the fact to see if everything went well. If something does go wrong, you want to feel comfortable knowing that the process server will take care of things and resolve them quickly.
Some important questions to ask them regarding their reputation and trustworthiness are:
- Can you provide references of happy clients?
- If there was anything negative that happened during a previous case, can you tell me about it?
- Can you explain why I should choose your company over another one?
You may not always be able to judge a book by its cover, but you’ll definitely be able to determine which process service companies offer quality service based upon the answers provided by the process servers themselves.
Tip #6: Determine whether they keep excellent records and take advantage of the latest technology.
Let’s face it. When being served with legal papers, some people can evade service. A great process server will have all kinds of resources at their disposal to locate people. They might have access to databases containing information about addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, driver license numbers, which makes finding someone much easier.
Technology applications can also streamline the client process so that it’s easy to stay up-to-date on when your legal papers have been served. A professional process server will use technology tools and systems to help manage their records and ensure that you get quick, efficient reporting once the other party has been served.
Questions that you can ask your process server include:
- Do you accept online payments?
- What technologies do you use to locate people?
At Lafayette Process Servers, we go the extra mile with technology by using body cameras during our service of process. With this body camera footage, our clients have extra evidence to prove that they received and signed for their legal documents.
Tip #7: Check their rates and fees.
Finally, while price isn’t always everything, it certainly doesn’t hurt either. When looking at pricing options, consider the amount of time that they will need to spend working on the case, the level of experience required to locate and serve the particular person, the location being serviced, and other factors such as these.
If you’re unsure about the cost of hiring a particular company, it’s important to ask them directly before signing anything and, this way, you know exactly what you’re getting when you make the decision to hire them.
Some questions that you can ask your process server include:
- What are your rates?
- How much will it cost?
- Do you offer rush delivery and, if so, what does it cost?
Lastly, you need to determine if the cost of having your papers served is worth the effort involved. This may seem obvious to some, but many people forget to factor in the costs associated with hiring a process server.
As we close out our episode for today, it’s important to mention one last tip. When looking at potential candidates, it’s a really great idea to look beyond just their expertise and qualifications. You should find out about their personality traits and character qualities because this could impact the quality of service that you receive.
Some important attributes to look for in a process server include:
- Whether they can work well under pressure.
- If they can build trusting relationships in the legal community and collaborate well with attorneys, courthouse clerks, and citizens of the community.
- Whether they how to follow instructions properly.
- If they are organized and keep records accurately.
- If they can handle sensitive information appropriately and maintain client confidentiality
Hiring the Best Process Server
When selecting a process server, it is essential to ask and understand the types of service that they offer and whether they meet all of the requirements that we discussed in our podcast today. A reliable, professional process server will continue to work until the job is done. At Lafayette Process Servers, our list of services include:
Our services include:
- Serving Legal Documents
- 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 ever in need of registered and dedicated process servers that deliver a high level of service, then Lafayette is your answer! Contact us at 1-866-237-2853 or send us an email inquiry at [email protected]
And that wraps up our episode for today. We hope that you’ve enjoyed listening to us talk about all things related to serving legal paperwork!
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. 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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