7 Major Challenges Process Servers Are Facing
- May 27, 2012
- by ServeNow Staff
With unprecedented legislation and regulation changes, increased assaults, and the continued debate on whether process servers or sheriffs are the best option for having legal documents served, the process serving industry faces a great number of challenges. ServeNow caught up with association leaders to find out what challenges process servers are facing in specific states and as an industry as a whole. What do you think is the biggest challenge process servers face?
“There are several biggest challenges,” National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) President Larry Yellon explained, “which one is bigger depends on who you are talking to at the time.” While process servers in Arizona may not be facing the same challenges as those in New York or Illinois, Yellon stresses the importance of staying abreast with what’s happening across the country, as issues that arise in one state will generally trickle into the major issues of other states.
What association leaders are saying:
Here are 7 major threats to the process serving industry:
- Legislation and regulations
Yellon, who is also the President of the New York State Professional Process Servers Association (NYSPPSA), knows all too well how drastically regulation changes can affect the industry. With requirements for GPS, filing affidavits and recording service attempts now incorporated into New York City’s regulations, process servers in the area are encouraging out of area professionals to familiarize themselves. Many predict that these laws will spread across the United States.
- Increasing assault on process servers
“I think [process server assault] is a local and national epidemic,” Eric Vennes of the Washington State Process Servers Association noted. “With the economy’s decline and people in more emotionally troubled states, I think that when they get that paper, it’s a little bit more dangerous out there.” Though Illinois passed legislation making assaulting a process server a felony last year and New York and other states are looking to pass similar legislation, process servers are still being assaulted. Some industry professionals note that the assaults aren’t receiving the news coverage they deserve.
“The biggest challenge that process servers are facing in our industry is electronic service,” Mike Kern of the California Association of Legal Support Professionals explained. And with electronic service already being handled in a small format, Kern urges other process servers to understand that it’s not going to go away. President of the Mid Atlantic Association of Professional Process Servers Torri Schaffer agrees, saying, “If you don’t get with the program, you’re out of the game.”
- Sheriffs and law enforcement
Many association leaders cited major issues with law enforcement, sheriffs, and couriers. “Anything that’s filed in North Carolina has to go to the sheriff first unless it’s a subpoena,” Ruth Reynolds of the North Carolina Association of Professional Process Servers explained, “so that’s our biggest obstacle.” Nearby in the state of Georgia, Jayne Rauser explains that the Georgia Association of Professional Process Servers is having difficulty working with the sheriffs association. “There’s a big upheaval and they do not like process servers at all. They’re not wanting to let us into the network and allow us to serve as they serve,” she explained. For more information on why process servers are the better option, check out the Process Server vs. Sheriff infographic.
- Getting more process servers involved
“Organizing process servers into being members of [our state association] and NAPPS is the current biggest challenge,” Mississippi Association of Professional Process Servers President Davy Keith noted of his area. Larry Ratcliff of the Arizona Process Server Association also experiences difficulties trying to get more process servers involved in making calls, joining boards and committees and pushing for legislative changes. NAPPS President Larry Yellon always encourages process servers to join local and national associations and notes that it is the best way to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry.
- No serve, no fee structures
New Jersey Professional Process Server Association leader Jerry Colasurdo noted that no serve, no fee regulations have come about in the state of New Jersey and will likely spread nationwide. “I think it’s going to hurt the industry because it promotes sewer service,” Colasurdo explained, “it forces process servers to make service upon individuals when in fact they’re only doing that in order to get paid.”
- Contractors vs. employees
Members of the ServeNow Process Servers group on LinkedIn agree that the biggest challenge is in working with contractors vs employees. Many agencies do not have enough work to justify hiring full-time employees but are concerned that as contract workers may cross lines that can negatively impact the agency. Other process servers warned that there is a fine line between an independent contractor and an employee, and encourage process servers to understand how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will view their employees.
Share your opinion
Answer our poll to share what you think is the biggest threat to the process serving industry
These are just a few threats to the process serving industry, but NAPPS and other associations are concerned about a variety of issues. “We are very concerned with rules, regulations, increasing technology, increasing service by e-service and technology, and also by enhanced regulations that are coming in through different municipalities as they did in New York,” Yellon explained. With so much going on in the process serving world, it’s clear that these and future challenges will continue to shape the industry as a whole.
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