Currently viewing archive for August 2013
Firefly Legal has been in business since 1996 as a civil process service company, and it’s no secret that we’ve figured out what works to stay in the business. To us, our clients come first, no matter the volume of the firm or their requirements. We make it happen.
We recently published an article on what clients can and should expect from their civil process supervisor- what we provide to our clients. We believe that civil process service should not just be civil process service. To us, it’s a packaged deal that brings a lot of value; incorporating small things, like filing the affidavits with the court, allows us to truly partner with our clients. To us, the client experience is the second most important factor, just behind prompt, effective, and good process service.
During a time in the civil process service industry when many clients are looking for reduced rates for service, and justification when rates are higher, we’re not afraid to reveal what we do for our clients. We think it’s worth it. Let us know what you think. The article is also accompanied by a Firefly video that tells about our company, where we came from, and what we stand for. Check it out!
Thanks for reading!
Social Media: Not Just for Kids
Today we are wrapping up our three-part series on the best social media networks for civil process servers. If you missed the first two installations from earlier this week, be sure to check back as we discussed Twitter and Google+ and some of the benefits of using each network.
What other social media networks do you think civil process servers should use? While we think Facebook can be useful, we’re actually going to go with Linked In.
Linked in is a social networking site for business professionals. It has a ton of features, and allows you to use some of the same features of Facebook but in a way that’s far more beneficial to those in business.
If that isn’t reason enough to choose this social networking site, here are some other reasons why we think Linked In is great for process servers.
Many of our clients aren’t on Facebook (or if they are, they keep it personal). Linked In provides a professional environment for people to connect where you can have an individual profile. There, you can upload details on your work history, skills, and your purpose for being on Linked In (as an example- maybe you’re looking for people to connect with). The attorney you met at a conference, may be more likely to connect with you on Linked In than on Facebook because it’s not as personal as Facebook. It’s professional and provides the right atmosphere for people to keep it that way. It’s all business all the time. Plus, with profile pictures, you can more easily recall how you know the individual, as opposed to just having their contact info. It also provides another method for you to reach out to prospective clients.
This provides a great opportunity and place to have professional, meaningful, and intelligent discussions on your subject/industry of choice. It also also allows you to meet (via the internet) people in your industry with whom you might not otherwise interact. You can share new ideas, get up to date on changes in the industry, and learn more about your industry if you’re a newcomer. It’s a great place for folks to pitch new ideas and compare results. Here’s a great process server group on Linked In: Process Servers.
Just like on Facebook, you can have a page for your company. This allows you to provide information about your company, services, and locations. The company page also has a status feature where you can post company updates, news articles, and more; these updates can include links and images. Visually, you have the opportunity to post a cover image, as well as pictures next to your services. Like many other social media networks, you are able to analyze the statistics of your company page.
There are many other reasons that Linked In is a great network for civil process servers to join, but we wanted to touch on the features we feel are most beneficial to servers. And so, this concludes our 3 part series on social networks that process servers should use. We covered Twitter, Google+ and Linked In; while these three are great, this list was certainly not meant to be exclusive. Are there others that you find beneficial? If so, let us know!
Social Media can be Beneficial
Social Media is new to the legal world, and I predict it’s going to be around for a long time. Though the networks and social media platforms may change, the core conept is here to stay. This week, we’re discussing the current top social media platforms for process servers and those in the legal industry.
To recap Monday’s discussion, we took a look at Twitter and how it can benefit civil process servers, especially as they are always on the move. Some of Twitter’s most beneficial characteristics include that it can help keep you on top of the news, it allows you to network, and you can schedule tweets. Catch up on Monday’s blog to get more information.
Today, we introduce the second social media network civil process servers should use, Google+. That’s right! Thought it may seem like a ghost town, Google+ is steadily gaining momentum as one of the fastest growing social media outlets. This blog post from Social Spark highlights 10 reasons why you should be on Google+, but I’m going to discuss the three main reasons why it works best for process servers.
While some may still feel that Google+ has a long way to go, it’s still a valuable social media outlet that is worth using. Here are three reasons why:
+1 For Higher Search Engine Rankings!
Google+ and the +1s that result from users “liking” a post by “+” -ing it strongly affect SEO. The more +1’s that a post/company has, the more likely it will pop up higher in search engine results. The reason is that web crawlers look for relevant information to determine a website’s ranking, and they pay particular attention to +1’s. This is especially beneficial to process servers, and especially local ones. You want your site to appear higher in the results because your potential clients might search “process server in cook county,” or they might even be looking for a specific town, such as “civil process server in Rockford.” By being an active participant in Google+, you are giving your associated website more credibility. You have a higher probability of being contacted for work for the best process server in Illinois, or wherever you work, if you’re on Google+ and getting +1’s.
So please, be sure to +1 this blog post before you go!
+1 Better Mobile App!
Civil process servers are always on the move, delivering papers, stopping by the courthouse to file documents, and then swinging back to the firm to deliver affidavits. Google + has a mobile app that is not only fast, but it’s also user friendly. You don’t have to worry about stalled loading or loading errors with this app; it works seamlessly and looks even better if you’ve got an Android phone.
+1 Google Hangouts!
Network with your peers or industry professionals in Google Hangouts. Google hangouts combine chatroom features with the ability to get together over video or voice. If someone isn’t at the hangout you can leave them a message. This is definitely one of the most unique features, as no other social media outlet really has a feature quite like this.
There you have it! Google + is an up and coming social media outlet that is sure to be a driving force in the future. Do you want to jump on the bandwagon later or be a trailblazer now? Still hungry for G+ info? Here’s a neat infographic that highlights 20 (+) positive features of Google +.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned because Friday we’ll reveal the third social media outlet that process servers should be on. Can you guess what it is? Let us know on Twitter or G+!
Getting Involved with Social Media
I entered the legal industry when Firefly Legal hired me at the end of last July. Let’s just say it’s a different kind of industry, and it very quickly became overtly apparent that this industry is still pretty hesitant to get involved with social media. And while some trailblazers have gotten involved, many are still pretty green with what accounts to use, how to use them properly, and why they should use them. Though there is always something to learn, the basics should be evident. This week, I’m going to focus on three social media outlets and provide reasons why civil process servers, lawyers, and the like should be involved with them. Today we’re going to focus on Twitter, but stay tuned this week to find out what other social media networks are worth being a part of.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking site that allows users to send “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less. Since a lot of you are business-minded folk, here’s “The Real History of Twitter,” as presented in The Business Insider.
Why should civil process servers be on Twitter, anyway?
There are a myriad of reasons why Twitter is a beneficial social media outlet, but here are three that are worth paying attention to:
There is a tremendous source of news! Staying informed and on top of regulation changes, new laws, and trends in the industries civil process servers serve is important. It’s impossible to keep your civil process service company up to date if you don’t read the news. Follow sources who will provide you with great information on the topics you’re interested in. For example, we follow @DSNewsDaily and @jhkarotkin. DS News provides great news on the housing/foreclosure industry through their Twitter account, and similarly, Jeff Karotkin is always tweeting relevant information and news on the civil process service industry.
By being involved with Twitter, you gain access to other individuals in the industry. This can help you to gain new business prospects, learn more about the industry, and make business connections. We’ve gotten new clients from Twitter, and we’ve gained some great colleagues. We share news, updates, and other changes in the industry. Twitter is a social environment. It’s important that you be social an interact with people. Bottom line: you can meet new people in the industry, gain advice, and learn a lot. You can also share news- which is great for your company. The world is changing, it’s important to embrace it.
3. SCHEDULED TWEETS!
While Twitter is a fast-paced network, civil process servers need not fret. We know you’re out there serving papers and don’t always have time to Tweet. You can create your tweets in advance- research the recent news, and take care of a day’s worth of tweets in a short amount of time. This is great for law firms who are undoubtedly buried in paperwork. By using social media dashboard applications, like TweetDeck, you can schedule tweets to fill up the entire day without having to be physically at Twitter all day. Keep in mind that you don’t want to be a robot, though; make sure you do take time to catch up and respond to those on Twitter who have responded to you. Additionally, make sure you leave room for people to comment and RT (retweet) your tweet.
As I mentioned before, social media is all about being social. Whether you’re a civil process server or an attorney, it’s important to stay up to speed with these changes. Are you on Twitter? If so, please let us know what you think of this article and about our tweets. Do you think we’re worthy of ServeNow’s Top Process Servers on Twitter of 2013?
Civil process service, to some, is a relatively simple procedure. A third party individual serves court documents (effectuating civil process service) unto an individual to notify them of legal proceedings, allowing them to respond. This carries out due process. Paperwork is filed, and it’s done.
But is it really that simple?
Consider the increased scrutiny and regulation changes that have recently been implemented in the industries in which civil process servers operate. The pressure to meet deadlines, the needed ability for process servers to work with a firm’s technology, and the absolutely imperative need for good service has certainly changed the game for the average process server.
Civil process service is not as simple as just delivering papers; there’s a whole lot more at stake. With that in mind, there are a few things to watch out for- and to make sure that your civil process servers make the grade.
Licensed & Informed
Though not all states require civil process servers to be licensed, there are many that do. If you need service in a state that requires process servers to be licensed, make sure that they have taken the steps to obtain the required licenses for civil process servers. All Firefly Legal process servers are licensed where required.
Beyond licensure, check to see if your process server is involved in civil process service associations. By staying involved in these organizations, such as NAPPS and ILAPPS, to name a couple, servers are more easily kept up-to-date with the changing industry. Firefly Legal’s Randy Mucha is on the executive board at ILAPPS, which helps to keep all Firefly Legal process servers apprised of new regulations or process updates.
Reputation & References
A longstanding, established positive reputation is important. Does the company you’re considering working with have a reputation for excellence? Is there a record of the company having ever engaged in sewer service? Can you find quality references who would make a recommendation on behalf of that company or server? These things matter. Think about the qualities that are important when looking for an internal candidate and apply those to who you would choose for a process server.
There are far too many civil process servers out there who serve with integrity, honesty, and within the provisions of the law, to choose a server who decides to take the easy way out. Don’t risk your reputation with someone who isn’t worthy of your trust- put it with a company that stands behind their work and will help you
Evaluations vs. Incentives
While a review process is a great thing, requiring or providing incentives for servers to meet a specific quota for serves may encourage dishonest behavior. If a server has to serve a set amount of papers in a given time frame, they may feel rushed and not take the time to carry out the job as it should be done.
These are just a few red flags to watch out for- can you think of any others? Let us know. Connect with us on Twitter, Linked In, Google +, or Facebook.
As anyone who is involved with civil process service knows, the concept of serving papers is a simple one, but the business of it can be pretty complicated, especially if it handles civil process service nationwide. Here are 10 ways Firefly Legal stays successful and keeps their civil process service clients happy.
1. Know & Abide by Civil Process Rules & Regulations
Not much is worse for a client than to send documents out for service and not have the server abide by the state’s regulations. Not abiding by rules can jeoparidize not only the service, but the clients’ case, as well. At Firefly, our Civil Process Supervisor, Randy Mucha, is always on top of civil process rules and regulations, which vary by state and can change. He is a member of the executive board on ILAPPS, the Illinois Association of Professional Process Servers. He stays up to speed with what’s going on in civil process service in Illinois, as well as in all of the other states we service. Beyond that, Randy makes sure that our civil process servers, and any vendors we work with, are aware of the regulations and that they abide by them.
2. No Cutting Corners
In this business, ethical, honest process servers are highly important. We don’t cut corners, and we don’t promise the world. Our servers take detailed notes that get included on the affidavit. They make multiple attempts if they’re not able to reach the defendant. Our civil process servers are diligent, hardworking, honest, and professional. We don’t tolerate rude behavior, and we don’t tolerate sloppy service. For us, it has to not just meet the minimum standards, but the service we provide has to be top notch.
3. Regular Self-Reporting
It’s easy to say that our servers are top notch, but it’s another thing to prove it. Firefly conducts regular self-reporting to make sure that everything we do is up to par. We keep track of serve times, non-serves, and a number of in-office quality controls. Beyond our own reporting, we also provide our clients performance reports. It’s important to us that our clients know we’re listening, and we’re paying attention.
4. Firefly Respects & Listens to Clients
At Firefly, we see our clients as business partners. We’re on their side. When they need something done, we’re happy to do it. When last minute changes are imposed by our clients’ clients, we take action right away to get on board and to make our clients’ jobs easier. Recently, one of our largest clients told us “Thanks for getting this in place- for the record, I’m pretty sure you were the last of our vendors to hear about this, and the first to deliver a testable product. I really appreciate your prompt attention!” Whether it’s a change our IT department needs to complete, or a regulation change that must be communicated to our servers, we adapt with urgency.
5. We Don’t Rush Our Clients
When a potential client is considering using us, we understand that it’s a big decision. There are a lot of logistical changes that have to be made, and we know that’s not an easy switch. Instead of rushing our potential clients, we allow them to breathe. We try to be easy to work with and flexible. When the time does come that they want to switch to us, we make sure to carefully listen to their needs and implement them accordingly. We don’t rush through the on-boarding process, instead, we take the time to work through all of the questions. When we start processing work, things go much more smoothly.
6. Open Communication
When our clients have questions on the status of service or need an update for their client, we make sure that we don’t leave them in the dark. Once we receive documents, we provide our clients with a confirmation. They know we’re ready to work on them. We also provide our clients multiple ways to get in touch with us: email (email@example.com), phone (877-963-3534, option 2), and even with live chat on our website. Additionally, we offer a secure online website in which clients with a login can access their files.
7. Updated Technology
You need to email us documents? No problem. Firefly is up to date on the latest technology. You won’t hear us tell you no. Additionally, our servers are equipped with our own civil process service app. We were one of the first to come out with this technology, and we’ve stayed on top of it. Additionally, we offer our clients a secure online website to use to check the status of their files, print invoices, and download affidavits. Our IT team can also build a bridge to make sure documents are transmitted seamlessly.
8. We Go the Extra Mile
At Firefly, our servers and court filers make sure that they are doing their job above and beyond what they’re paid to do- because they want to. We have a family atmosphere, which we talked about in our last blog post. Our court filers can pick up on a schedule that our clients dictate, not the other way around. Our filers offer to help, wait or whatever they can do to make things easier for our clients. Our servers are available when our clients need rush services. Our servers are prepared if they’re needed in court, and we follow up to make sure that they’ve done well. We work hard, and we’re proud of it.
9. We Admit When We’re Wrong
We’re human. Though we would love to tell our clients that we’re never going to make a mistake, we know that’s just not true. We try to stay on top of things so we can intervene before mistakes happen, but sometimes they do. When that happens, we own up to our mistakes and learn from them. Any time something doesn’t go as planned, we look at it as a learning experience where we can gain something positive from the experience. We’ve found our clients appreciate our accountability. We don’t engage in the blame game, and we make sure our clients’ needs are met- bottom line.
10. We Stand By Our Service
We’ve been in the business since 1996, and we wouldn’t be in it if we weren’t passionate about what we do. We care about our clients. We know that we’re carrying out due process. We’re about honesty, integrity, fairness and good old fashioned hard work. And we stand by it. If our clients are ever unhappy with our service, we evaluate the situation and see where things went wrong. We welcome open lines of communication. If we made a mistake, we admit it, fix it, and make sure our clients leave the situation satisfied with the outcome. If that means giving them their money back or trying the serve again at no charge, we do it. We’re not afraid to stand by our service.
These are the ways we keep our clients happy. What feedback have you heard from clients? Let’s talk about it. Comment here or let us know on Twitter or Facebook. We’re listening!
At Firefly Legal, our business values incorporate family values. We’re not just a run of the mill civil process serving company; we handle civil process service where you need it, when you need it, and how you need it- with friendly and professional character. Need civil process service in Illinois? Done. Civil process in Florida? Done. Nationwide? We’ve got it. Our civil process service is top notch and we’re proud of our servers, court filers, and staff who go above and beyond every day.
Today, Firefly Legal stands as a nationwide civil process serving firm with 16 offices. That’s not where we started, however. Firefly started off in 1996 serving papers in Cook County, with its first office in the south suburbs of Chicago (Alsip, IL to be exact) and operated as a private investigations firm specializing in civil process service. The small process serving firm also started as a father and son business- and it became a family business. Ken and Keith McMaster wanted a business that gave due process to individuals, but more than that, they grew a business that stood out from the rest. Family businesses are unique operations that not everyone can create- it takes a family that shares a passion, and it take smart business practices and conviction. Through hard work and ambitious drive, Firefly grew to become a family business that incorporated values and smart business practices.
When you think of your process server, what values come to mind? Do you think of family values that your parents may have instilled in you- values that you in turn hope to instill in your children? Do you think of integrity? Do you think of honesty? Do you think about a true relationship? Is your server someone who has your back– someone who you know will be on your side to work with you to get things done?
If you’re a client of ours, we hope that you find that we encompass all of those values. We strive to be a true business partner, working to make sure that you’re needs are met. That is one that that we pride ourselves in; this is a business that has family values and core principles based on building great relationships with our clients. If you’re looking for prompt and professional process servers, we’re here to take care of business. But we’re also here to be your partner.
To those of us at Firefly Legal, a business partner is to collaborate with your law firm- whether its your paralegals or yourself- to make sure that effective civil process is completed in a way that exceeds your needs. We’re on your side, and that makes for shared success. In an industry that is constantly under speculation, Firefly is proud to be a civil process service company with integrity, morals, and honesty. From our civil process service to our court filing, we want to make sure we accomplish our work according to your service standards.
If you’re interested in becoming a true business partner with Firefly, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us enlighten your caseload.
What does 300,000 mean to you?
For some, it might be a random number, the cost of a house, or a lot of money. For a couple of our court filers, 300,000 is a mileage milestone. As Aric McDade and Mark Clinton saw their odometers spinning closer to the 300,000 mark, it was pretty exciting. When I asked Aric what his first thought was when he saw his odometer approaching 300,000, he said, “I can’t believe this thing is still moving!” But it was, and both cars are still taking them on their routes, travelling from Kankakee to Bannockburn, downtown Chicago to Grundy County, and more.
Through sunshine and rain, the company car that Aric received with just 15 miles on it, and Mark’s that had just 54 miles, have been running like champs, undeterred by the ups and downs, storms and traffic (knock on wood!). Their cars made it through the black ice storm in 2008, the bad snow storm of 2010, and the major floods from earlier this year.
The 300,000 miles, though a significant feat, is not really just about the car but about how great, hard-working employees who care about Firefly have contributed so much to our business.
Just as Aric and Marc have weathered the ups and downs of the process serving industry, their cars survived the elements. Every day since October 2007, Aric has trekked out through the elements Mother Nature has provided and puts an amazing 223 miles on his car. Since November 2006, Mark has done the same. Our industry is not an easy one to withstand; with regulation changes in both the foreclosure and collections, we’ve had to adjust. Technology has changed, expectations have increased. They continue to meet and exceed our demands.
Despite the challenges, Aric said, “I like driving and interacting with our clients. I enjoy working with the clerks at Will, Kankakee and Grundy that make my job easy. We have a friendly environment here at Firefly and that is a great thing.”
What Aric and Mark do every day goes far beyond just turning the ignition, racking up miles, and picking up documents. Their positivity and charisma are magnetic. Both have worked very hard to build relationships with our clients and the court clerks in counties they visit daily. When I filled in for Aric, I’ve never heard a negative word him—and rightfully so. Aric, and Mark as well, are polite, professional, and helpful. They understand what our clients and clerks do, as well as the daily frustrations they face. Instead of pushing and arguing, Aric and Mark offer to help, wait, or do whatever they can to make our clients’ day brighter. In turn, this has established a positive reputation for Firefly among our clients.
We couldn’t ask for more in an employee, and we appreciate it. Mark and Aric have established great rapport with these people and both exemplify our promise to be a leading light. The bottom line is that it’s important for us to stop and recognize our employees, filers, and servers who have stayed with us, continuing to work hard through industry highs and lows. Thank you, Aric and Mark, for all you do. The same goes to all the other filers who work hard and put a lot of miles on their cars as well.
Court Filer’s Odometer – 299,999
Sadly, Aric and Mark won’t be able to watch the miles continue to climb beyond 299,999. The odometer can’t actually hit 300,000 (or beyond) in the 2008 Toyota Corollas. Aric now manually keeps the mileage from the trips until we get the odometer replaced. And at 284,000 miles and counting, Mark still has a little bit to go before he reaches that point. That doesn’t stop the excitement, though—the friendly competition is evident when Aric laughed and quipped, “Mark’s never gonna catch me! He’ll be at 300,000 and I’ll be at 320,000!”
Firefly Attends IL Rep Kay Hatcher’s Summer Soiree
Last evening, Firefly Legal’s Jennifer Dlugolecki, Director of Business Development, and Randy Mucha, Civil Process Supervisor and ILAPPS Treasurer, attended Illinois State Representative Kay Hatcher’s Summer Soiree. The soiree was held at the Hampton Inn in Aurora. Representative Hatcher also announced during the soiree that she will not be running for a 4th term when her current term expires. IL Rep Kay Hatcher began her term in January 2009 and is currently assigned to the following committees: Accountability & Administrative Rev; Appropriations-General Service; Human Services; Transportation: Vehicles & Safety (Republican Spokesperson); Tourism & Conventions (Republican Spokesperson); Public Utilities; Veterans’ Affairs; Transportation: License Plates; Transportation: Sign.
Why did we attend?
Representative Hatcher, along with many other legislators, was instrumental in implementing an Illinois law that makes it a felony to assault a process server. Her support and hard work is much appreciated, and in return, we wanted to personally thank her.
After increased attacks on process servers occurred in 2010, it became apparent that this legislation was necessary. The bill was sponsored by Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline). Co-sponsors included Sen. John G. Mulroe (DChicago), Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago), Rep. Sidney H. Mathias (R-Arlington Heights), Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville), Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora). It was signed into law by Governor Quinn on August 12, 2011. The law makes it a felony to assault a process server when they are attempting to carry out due process.
Firefly Civil Process Supervisor & ILAPPS Treasurer Randy Mucha and IL Rep Kay Hatcher