Top Tips for Hiring a Process Server

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The role of a process server shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated. In our opinion, process servers don’t get enough credit for the important work they do to keep legal cases moving forward. 

If anyone knows how important process servers are, it’s someone who has hired a bad one in the past! When a process server does a good job, their work goes almost unnoticed. When things go wrong, you definitely find out about it! 

Finding a process server is easy – finding an excellent one is a much bigger challenge! 

At Firefly Legal, we contract with the best process servers nationwide. We have a lot of experience when it comes to identifying the traits that make a server excellent at their job. We’re happy to share our expertise. Here are our 9 top tips for how to hire a process server, no matter where you are located.

Top Tips for Hiring a Process Server

Understand the Responsibilities of a Process Server

Before making any decisions about which process server you want to work with, make sure you have a good understanding of what role process servers play in the legal landscape, and what responsibilities they have to you and your firm. 

In addition to serving court papers to named parties in a legal case, process servers are responsible for: 

  • Locating individuals who need to be served with legal papers
  • Document the service appropriately, according to state laws
  • Follow all rules and laws for process servers 
  • Dealing with the possibility of confrontation from uncooperative parties 
  • Maintaining impartiality; process servers are neutral third parties who do not take sides in legal cases
  • Testifying in court when called
  • Managing paperwork related to the service of process
Check the Process Server’s Licensing & Insurance

Check the Process Server’s Licensing & Insurance

Each state has its own requirements for process servers. Some require special licensing or credentials, but others only require a person to be 18 years old and registered as a server. 

It’s your responsibility to make sure that anyone you contract with is appropriately credentialed in your state. Otherwise, your legal case could come into jeopardy because of this small oversight.

Choose Experienced Servers 

When it comes to successfully serving legal papers and navigating the tricky situations that arise when doing so, experience matters! 

To find out about a potential server’s experience, ask questions about the amount of time they have been in the business, what their track record is like, how many times they have served papers, and what their success rate is. 

Find Out When and Where the Server Operates

Process servers can choose the area where they work. Some servers will work in multiple states, but others will only work in a multi-county area. Make sure that you choose a process server who will work in the places where you need to serve papers. 

You will also want to find out when they work. Do you need service of process to occur over the weekend? What about rush orders that need to be processed quickly? Is the process server willing to work late hours to find difficult targets? 

These are all important questions to ask when you are hiring a process server. 

Confirm Pricing & Fees Upfront 

It’s always a good idea to ask about pricing and fees upfront. Get a quote and make sure you know about any additional costs. 

Process servers may charge for things like: 

  • Rush fees
  • Mileage 
  • Notary services
  • Multiple attempts to serve
  • Skip tracing

Ask About Their Process for Attempted Service

A good process server will make multiple attempts to serve documents before giving up. Experienced, knowledgeable servers will have tried-and-true methods for tracking down individuals who are difficult to find. 

Hard-to-track defendants can make the job a challenge, but the best servers can use strategies like these: 

  • Using online databases and public records to trace a defendant’s digital footprint (also known as skip-tracing)
  • Surveilling known addresses to encounter the person coming or going
  • Interviewing neighbors, coworkers, and other people who may know where to find the subject
  • Tracking vehicles 
  • Contacting relatives and associates
  • Searching public records
  • Monitoring social media posts and platforms 
  • Searching utility records, including phone, cable, electric, and other utility account data to find service addresses

Consider Specialized Experience Requirements

Some attorneys benefit from finding servers with specialized experience. For example, serving papers to incarcerated individuals is faster when the process server has experience with gaining access to prisons and jails. Alternatively, they will know when service by mail is permissible and how to follow all of the rules to ensure prompt and legally sound delivery. 

Additional examples of specialized areas where you may need your process server to have experience include: 

  • Serving papers in high-risk situations, such as high-crime areas or in potentially dangerous situations
  • Locating difficult-to-find subjects
  • Serving corporations, businesses, and other entities 
  • Navigating and serving in remote or rural areas 
Review Their Documentation

Review Their Documentation

Legal cases hinge on details and precision. To make sure that your chosen process server understands the importance of precise details, review their documentation. Do they create a video recording of their service of process? Keep meticulous records to prove they identified the right person? Fill out a detailed and accurate affidavit of service for every single assignment? 

These are the kinds of things you can confirm before making a decision about a process server. 

Consider Working with a Service of Process Company Like Firefly Legal

You don’t have to track down and interview process servers on your own. Let the professionals take care of that! 

At Firefly Legal, we contract with the best process servers nationwide. We hold our servers to incredibly high standards for things like: 

  • Credentials and licensing
  • Professionalism
  • Timeliness
  • Clear communication
  • Attention to detail

When you use a service like ours, you also get the benefit of knowing exactly what you are going to get. We can tell you in advance what fees you will be charged, how long to expect each assignment to take, and what will happen at each step in the process. If you have questions, we can answer them promptly and in plenty of detail. 

Choosing the right process server on your own can be a complicated experience of comparing costs, experience levels, credentials, professionalism, and more. Alternatively, you can work with Firefly Legal and our nationwide team of process servers. No matter where you are located, we can match you with experienced, knowledgeable, and highly credentialed process servers to move your case forward. 

In addition to process serving, Firefly Legal provides:

Contact Firefly Legal Today to Request a Free Quote

We’re ready to support your legal cases by providing the best process servers in the country. With Firefly Legal’s support, you will see fast resolution of each assignment you make. 

Contact us today for a free quote, based on your unique needs when it comes to service of process.

Picture of Keith J. McMaster

Keith J. McMaster

Keith is the CEO and co-founder of Firefly Legal. He has grown Firefly from a startup to a major national player in the civil process service industry. With over three decades of experience, he has developed a deep understanding of the legal support services landscape and leveraged his expertise to become a trusted partner to clients across the country.

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