In many jurisdictions, the requirements for someone who can serve process are as lax as the server must be at least 18 years old and not a party to the action. Many people, decide to bypass a professional process server and send documents to the local sheriff for service. Though using a sheriff’s office for service can be less expensive and requires less research than finding a dedicated process server, this move isn’t necessarily as effective. Here are 4 reasons you need a professional process server:
Speed of Service
Getting your documents served promptly is important. This is especially true if your service relates to an impending court hearing or deposition, where there may be rules that a party was served within a particular time period before the event for your case to proceed properly. Service of process is a large portion of what professional process servers do. Sheriffs’ offices, on the other hand, have a whole host of other duties – transporting prisoners, finding suspects in crimes, providing protection to the general population – and serving your documents may not be high on that list. In Serve Now’s 2011 survey of 100 legal professionals, 90 percent said professional process servers were quicker at serving papers than sheriffs’ offices.
Knowledge of Laws
As mentioned above, sheriffs’ departments have to shoulder a lot of duties. Their knowledge of the law must be broad enough to cover a multitude of possible violations. Process servers, on the other hand, deeply study the Rules of Civil Procedure and the laws surrounding proper service of process. They know how to properly serve people in multiple jurisdictions, and they know how to properly fill out an Affidavit of Service that shows they did their due diligence. Additionally, process servers can provide service in local, state, and federal cases, while many jurisdictions restrict sheriffs’ departments from serving papers in federal cases.
Sheriffs’ offices are required to assist everyone in their jurisdiction who needs help, regardless of the issue. They’re not in the customer service business. As a result, this can leave people who have their papers served by sheriffs’ offices feeling dissatisfied with the responsiveness and lack of updates they receive. On the other hand, it is a process server’s job to make sure his or her customers are happy with their experience. They provide regular updates on the progress of your service, are available to answer questions, and work diligently to find a subject when provided with a bad address. Sheriffs’ departments simply do not have the time to handle many questions or track down a subject that is dodging service.
In the same 2011 survey of legal professionals, survey respondents reported that process servers are successful at serving documents 92 percent of the time, contrasted with a 74 percent success rate for sheriffs’ offices. Because sheriffs’ offices often cannot make multiple attempts, they frequently are unsuccessful in serving people who may be at work when they stop by. Additionally, they do not typically work to find subjects if they’re given a bad address. Process servers, however, work varying hours in an attempt to catch elusive subjects; they will attempt to serve people after regular business hours and on weekends if other attempts have been unsuccessful. Many process servers also are able to skip trace subjects, allowing them to find people who have moved or are otherwise unable to be found at a provided address.
Professional, Prompt Service of Process in Maryland & Virginia
At Torri’s Legal Services, our process servers have years of experience safely, accurately serving a wide range of official documents. Contact us today to discuss your process service or legal services needs.