The Seven Deadly Sins of Process Service Providers
Having been in the business of serving legal process and related services, for 25 years, I have seen - and heard - just about everything, usually from clients who came to our firm after "unpleasant" experiences. In fact, I try not to take it personally when someone hides like a turtle if I mention that I run a business that serves process around the country. (Do they think I'm going to put something in their hand?)
The fact is that many mistakes are possible when serving process, and perhaps distilling them down to "seven deadly sins" will help paralegals, legal assistants and attorneys recognize the behaviors that they should never accept from a process service company or individual:
1. Do not work with an individual or a firm whose phone is consistently answered by a machine. This is a waste of your time and an indicator that you're dealing with a one-person shop. And that one person is out on the street serving process. He'll get back to you -- eventually.
2. Do not work with an individual or a firm that will undercut their competitors' fees to get business. The margins on process service are small, and anyone who has to do this is probably struggling.
3. Do not work with an individual or firm that reports attempting service at times that are unlikely to yield results. Attempts at service should happen at logical times when the person being served is likely to be available.
4. NEVER work with an individual or firm that lies to you even once about attempting service. If they do it once, they'll do it again.
5. Do not work with an individual or a firm who attempts to gain your business by trashing a competitor. There is plenty of work to do, and the bad apples will eventually start to smell on their own.
6. Do not work with an individual or a firm that accepts work but consistently fails to complete the work within the agreed-upon time. The reality is that it takes well-developed systems and tracking to ensure that jobs are completed on time. Not a task for the fainthearted!
7. Do not work with an individual or a firm that is slow in forwarding proof of service. The job is not completed until the proof is filed with the court.
Click here to download a pdf version of The Seven Deadly Sins. Post it by your desk and surprise your clients with your inside knowledge of how to serve them efficiently.