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Compliant Civil Process Service Part 2 of 3: Technological Requirements

In our first installment of the Compliance in Civil Process Service series, we took a look at how compliance has played an important role in the civil process service industry. We also reported on how audits, which in many cases are required by clients, banks, or government agencies, have affected how process servers do business. In this installment, we decided to take a look at technology and how this aspect of business has been impacted by increased compliance regulations as the industry changes.

Part 1: Compliant Civil Process Service Part 1 of 3: Rolling with Regulation Changes and Conducting Audits

Technology

Technology continues to be an important aspect of maintaining compliance, and as technology evolves, so do the regulations, requirements, and expectations of clients, banks, and the industry as a whole. While these changes have been met with mixed reactions throughout the industry, the majority of process servers in the industry seem to lean toward being overtly transparent and compliant. For example, we spoke with Kyle Jones of Aristocrat Investigations who commented that “We agree with the implementation of more compliance requirements. Companies that operate with transparency should welcome the audits. The compliance requirements were started to force the bad apples out of business and it seems to be working.”

We agree with the implementation of more compliance requirements. Companies that operate with transparency should welcome the audits. The compliance requirements were started to force the bad apples out of business and it seems to be working.

Kyle Jones, Aristocrat Investigations

With technology at the forefront of collections industry compliance, many process servers are no longer manually keeping logs— instead, they are using smart software to log their service attempts. These technological improvements, specifically with logging serves, have changed the way process servers do business. Many of these apps include GPS logging, date/time stamps, and the ability to take photos, which helps to avoid accusations of bad service and reinforce that legitimate attempts were made. And for some clients, GPS logged service attempts are no longer a bonus provided to clients by some servers— they are a requirement.

Large companies such as Firefly Legal, JJL Process, and Provest require their servers to use each company’s respective proprietary civil process service software when making attempts. But it’s not just large scale civil process service companies that are embracing this technology. Small, local companies are embracing civil process service software that is publicly available like CivilMap, Civility, and ServeManager.

Compliant Civil Process Service Part 2 of 3: Technological Requirements | ServeManager GPS Log

Aside from GPS verification, many law firms are looking for electronic data interfaces with their process servers to ensure timely, expeditious delivery of documents (in some cases, the bridge allows them to be delivered in real time) and perhaps more importantly, increase and improve communication. When documents are immediately transferred, they can be reviewed by each party to ensure accuracy and completeness, which can cut down on total processing time. This can also help reduce the manual process, in turn reducing errors. When attorneys and servers are facing tight deadlines, having important documents transferred quickly and without errors, whether it is a service affidavit or the subpoena itself, is certainly beneficial.

To many in the industry, using electronic data bridges or other interfaces in which law firms and process servers can both access and share documents is imperative in keeping a compliant and functional process. Collections attorney Lou Freedman explained that his firm, Freedman, Anselmo & Lindberg “needs to work with firms that embrace technology. By having an electronic interface, we are able to get results immediately and with little effort. I embrace transparency, and communication is the most important tool we can use to achieve that.”

[Our firm] needs to work with firms that embrace technology. By having an electronic interface, we are able to get results immediately and with little effort. I embrace transparency, and communication is the most important tool we can use to achieve that.

Lou Freedman, Freedman, Anselmo & Lindberg, former NARCA President

It is clear that technology advances have affected the civil process industry beyond just the standard processes. Kyle Jones stated that “We were audited earlier this year by one of our attorney clients. We had to add an alarm system and install cameras in all of our offices to become compliant with what they wanted. The GPS, photos, logs and other requirements were bound to happen because of technological advances in all professions.”

I think being ready for compliance provides a competitive advantage that process serving firms are going to have to proactively pursue if they’re going to compete for the collection/financial business.

Trent Carlyle, ServeManager

Trent Carlyle of ServeManager stated that “I think being ready for compliance provides a competitive advantage that process serving firms are going to have to proactively pursue if they’re going to compete for the collection/financial business.”

In fact, some process servers have embraced the change and are confident in their approach. We spoke with Joel Rosenthal of JJL Process, who let us know that they “are now offering compliance consulting through JJL’s TrueServe division for servers and server companies. We have a full-time in-house compliance attorney and he has been fully involved in JJL’s compliance leadership with our clients.”

We were audited earlier this year by one of our attorney clients. We had to add an alarm system and install cameras in all of our offices to become compliant with what they wanted. The GPS, photos, logs and other requirements were bound to happen because of technological advances in all professions.

Kyle Jones, Aristocrat Investigations

It is only natural for the civil process service industry to begin making changes to better itself, especially when it comes to technology; after all, process servers have been ahead of the game when it comes to serving papers since the beginning by offering more reliable, professional, and expedient service than other options available. We’re confident that the civil process service industry is working to better itself, and that includes embracing technology and compliance measures as they change. After all, process servers are doing their job for the benefit of the people— to allow individuals to embrace their legal rights. It only makes sense that the industry would embrace compliance changes, including the updates in technology that comes along with it.

We want to know what you think. Are more changes coming and have the changes that have already begun to take shape made the industry? Let us know in the comments, or join us for a discussion in the Linked In Process Server group.

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