10 Process Server Tricks of the Trade and Tips to Know

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Process servers do essential work to keep the US legal system on track. Not only do they help attorneys move their cases forward, but they also protect the Constitutional rights of anyone who is named in a lawsuit or legal claim. 

The steps to becoming a process server vary from one state to the next, but there are often requirements related to training, licensing, and certification. Even after you are officially trained and hired as a server, there is still a lot to know about the service of process. 

Mastering these tips and tricks will help you become a better and more effective process server!

Process Server Tricks of the Trade and Tips to Know

Tips for Locating and Serving Defendants

One of the biggest challenges of this work is the task at the heart of it all: locating and serving defendants. Here are some of the tricks our process servers at Firefly Legal use to improve their accuracy and efficiently find defendants and other named parties.

  1. Make use of online databases: Many personal details are available online, without any special permissions required. You can search social media platforms and public online directories to gather information about the defendant’s current address, phone number, or employment details.
  1. Contact known associates: Sometimes, you need to know somebody who knows somebody! Reach out to friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers of the defendant, as they may have information about their whereabouts.
  1. Use skip tracing techniques: Use specialized skip tracing tools and databases to track down individuals who have moved or are attempting to evade service. At Firefly Legal, all of our process servers are equipped to complete skip tracing for hard-to-find people. 
  1. Check government records: As a process server, you will have access to some databases that public individuals don’t. Looking through government databases such as property records, voter registration lists, or DMV records will help you find potential addresses or contact information.
As a process server, make use of online databases
  1. Visit last-known addresses: You can’t do all of your searching online. Often, you will need to physically visit the last known residences or places of employment of the defendant to verify where they are now. 
  1. Engage in discreet surveillance: While maintaining compliance with the laws of your state, conduct discreet surveillance in areas where the defendant is likely to frequent. This way, you can observe their movements and confirm their identity.  t
  1. Collaborate with investigators: Feeling stuck? Work with private investigators or law enforcement agencies who may have additional resources or access to information that can aid in locating the defendant.
  1. Review the court documents: Someone else may have already provided you with contact information for your targeted individual. Examine any court filings, legal documents, or previous service attempts for useful information. 
  1. Consider social engineering tactics: In some circumstances, you may need to employ persuasive communication techniques to gather information from third parties or individuals who may have interacted with the defendant. Always act within the limits of the law when using these creative methods. 
  1. Be persistent and patient: Recognize that locating a defendant may require time, effort, and perseverance, so be prepared to adapt strategies as necessary to achieve service of process success.
A process server visiting the last known residences of the defendant

Tips for Developing a System for Service of Process 

One of the most important things to learn about being a process server is that you have to have a system. 

A systematic approach to process serving will help you find people consistently, serve papers accurately, and maintain excellent records. Your contracts will thank you! Here are some strategies to help you create a systemized approach to your process serving work. 

Define each stage of the process before you get started

Outline clear and detailed procedures for each stage of the service of process workflow, including: 

  • Client intake
  • Locating defendants
  • Execution of service
  • Documentation of service of process

Once you have clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of each step, you can minimize confusion and start developing a system.

Strategies to create a systemized approach to process serving work

Use technology to your advantage

There are so many great technologies for process servers! Some are specific to process serving, like mobile apps for servers, but others have broader applications, like GPS tracking and good document storage. 

One of the benefits of working for a process-serving company is that they will often provide these technologies to you so that you don’t have to invest in this tech infrastructure on your own. 

Establish communication protocols

This is especially important for process servers who work independently, as you have to hold yourself accountable to consistent standards. 

To systemize your communication procedures, establish your preferred channels of communication with clients, set response times for yourself, and establish procedures for handling inquiries, updates, and feedback. 

Maintain quality assurance standards

How are you going to evaluate your performance? Assessing the quality of your own work via a QA process will help you know what you’re doing well and how you can improve. 

Quality Assurance uses strategies like audits, peer reviews, and feedback requests to monitor performance. This will also ensure compliance with your established procedures. 

Welcome to the Service of Process Industry

Mastering the tricks of the trade as a process server is essential for any process server who wants to deliver consistent, reliable, and legally compliant service of process. When you use a variety of locating techniques and develop a systematic approach, you’re going to have more success in this role. 

Remember, the service of process is a critical component of the legal system, and it directly impacts the rights and obligations of all involved parties. As a process server, you play a vital role in keeping the wheels of justice turning. By continuously expanding your expertise and honing your skills, you can ensure that you are providing the highest level of service to your clients and upholding the integrity of the legal process.

Do you need an exceptional process server? Firefly Legal can help

At Firefly Legal, we hire the best process servers to work nationwide. Our team is experienced, knowledgeable, professional, and equipped with the best technology in the industry. 

If you need a process server for your work, reach out to us to talk about your needs and how we can help!

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