Practical Tips For Lawyers 8-14-2012
So how can a dedicated blogger lose almost a month? Try having two (out of five) staff members go on maternity leave, a summer vacation or four, and a gaggle of children and grandchildren coming through for WV Irish Road Bowling and Camp WV. When you have a comfortable place to visit, people visit. We love it! Add a “southern tour” and 10 acres to mow, and summer time is a busy time. I promise to dedicate a day to shaping up my document assembly system with Pathagoras, just as soon as the weather breaks! More on that later.
Here are some useful tips for anyone with a practice similar to mine; and even, perhaps, for non-lawyers:
1. We all have to send things to people and make sure they arrive. I wasted years sending “certified mail” to people who refused to pick it up.
2. I used to try to figure out the differences among registered, certified, return receipt, priority, etc. But, for this tip, I am talking here about plain old mail (snail mail) and certified (or is it registered?) mail with a return receipt card.
3. I do not worry about restricted delivery. I just want someone to sign. We will worry about who they are later.
4. Half the time the recipient “smells a rat” and will not pick up the document. So, I just add a certificate of service which is an affidavit by me swearing that I mailed it, and I certify I mailed it return receipt and regular mail. When the regular mail does not come back, I figure I have them! Most judges will accept that if we went to all that trouble, we probably reached our target.
5. Since I want the recipient to appreciate the importance of what I sent, the double delivery, and personal delivery, really help.
6. Of course, in lawsuits, we can get the Sheriff or a process server to serve the documents, and there are always times where “over-nighting” via Fed Ex or UPS is the only way. Rarely will I resort to a telegram, although I here that service still exists.
2. Over the years we have had hundreds of conversations with process servers who have not or cannot find the person to be served. I cannot remember an occasion however where the sheriff/process server called to complain we provided too much information on the CCIS (Civil Case Information form). Never, “Why did you give me a cell phone and home phone number? Or, “Why did you tell me what bar he hangs out in?”
3. Therefore, more is always better. The mailing address, physical address, e-mail, cell, land line, and personal habits. (e.g. Will be away all of deer week.). That information is very much appreciated by the server, who is already busy and wants to finish this task as easily as possible. Recently, the bar tip was the only effective way to reach our essentially homeless former spouse, but we had to get him served.
4. A good private investigator is an excellent way to track town a missing defendant. Recently, I filed suit on almost the last day of a two year statute of limitations. (Client waited 22 months to hire a lawyer.) Eventually he located the vehicle, still in possession of the defendant, his employer, and at least a million dollars ($1,000,000.00) per person liability insurance coverage. Now that’s helpful!
This post was written by Burton Hunter