Never Say Never Again

Many of you might be saying to yourself – it will never happen to me. My employee would never steal. My client would never prosecute me for negligent hiring. Yet situations like this happen to employers every day.

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who owns a small business and he told me it wasn’t worth the money to do background checks. Recently, he contacted me in a panic, requesting a criminal background check on one of his employees. It turns out this individual was accused of stealing on the job. Upon receiving the results of the background check, there was a history of criminal activity, including stealing. Because of these accusations, my friend in turn lost out on a major contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A background check would have cost him $100.

When hiring in today’s market, employers have a variety of tools to assist them in choosing the best candidate. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the first year’s potential earnings.

Whether you are vetting a new employee, completing a business deal, leasing real estate, or entering into some other type of legal contract, conducting a comprehensive and professional background check is always a good business practice. By utilizing background checks, you help reduce both legal and financial risks to you and your organization.

Look at the big picture! Reduce your liability by considering background checks to ensure safety and peace of mind. Just like the James Bond film, Never Say Never Again!


Serving Subpoena Duces Tecum Documents

In Virginia, when serving a Subpoena Duce Tecum (SDT) or a subpoena for production of evidence, you have to be sure that service is made at least 14 days prior to the hearing date or request for documents date that attorneys have listed on the SDT. If it is not served prior to that 14 day window, the recipient can request that the SDT be quashed.

Virginia Code 13.1-637 indicates that a corporation’s Registered Agent is the corporation’s agent for service of process. Even though the statute requires a Registered Agent to make themselves available, they are not always readily available.

It has been a common practice in Virginia to list the Registered Agent on the SDT as the recipient. When doing this, the issuing attorney has limited the delivery of the SDT to that individual or someone designated in writing to accept on the Registered Agent’s behalf.

In most cases, the Registered Agent is an attorney and it has been our experience that it is difficult to serve the attorney Registered Agent because he or she is not always available when a process server arrives to serve the SDT. It has also been our experience that not many attorneys provide a written document authorizing someone to accept on their behalf.

As such, listing the Registered Agent on a SDT has made the delivery prior to the above mentioned 14 day window very difficult and in some cases more expensive when the process server cannot get the document served and it then needs to be reissued.

Subpoena Duces Tecum documents can normally be accepted by anyone who is authorized to accept. In many instances, this person can be an office manager, a secretary or even a receptionist, depending on the entity being served. This practice allows service of the SDT to be done in a more efficient and timely manner.


Can you name a career in which a physical attack would be part of your work day?

Assault is a very real danger in the process service industry, and so this is a topic that ALIASS holds very close to heart. Not only do we expect our employees to be protected by law from violence and aggression, but we feel the same level of concern for our business associates, partners and yes, even our competitors.

I Support PAAPRSA nationally recognized industry organization ServeNow has established themselves as a champion of this issue and launched an official Promoting Assault Awareness and Protective Regulations for Servers (PAAPRS) Campaign website on October 4, 2012. In just a few short months, ServeNow has begun compiling irrefutable evidence to support the need for tougher laws to protect those in our industry. In addition, they offer valuable resources to gain media attention for these assaults, build support through local industry associations, and push this issue to the forefront with lawmakers nationwide. ALIASS is proud that our two of our professional associations are standing up to publicly endorse the PAAPRS campaign:  National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) and Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Process Servers (MAAPPS).

If you are a process server who is assaulted, you should make a formal report of the assault, even if you have no plans to press charges. And then please share your experience with ServeNow as a means of supporting their PAAPRS campaign efforts. And if you have been assaulted in the past, please consider at least reporting your assault through the ServeNow online assault reporting tool. The success of this campaign and the future increased safety of our profession depends on you.

Armed with accurate information regarding the number and severity of assaults, ServeNow and all the PAAPRS supporters can demonstrate the alarming trend nationwide and hopefully achieve the goal of a safer environment for process service. For more information on the campaign, including state-by-state information, tips for a safer serve, and other resources, please visit the PAAPRS website.

Have you ever been assaulted while attempting a serve?

Expectations = Relationship Foundation

Over the holiday break, my family visited a lodging establishment for a mini-getaway. Although the accommodations were acceptable, they did not meet our expectations. Being an analytical but optimistic bunch, we soldiered on, finding the silver lining in our experience while identifying how our expectations were so misaligned with the reality of this property. In the end, we enjoyed our family time together and I discovered there were a few business reflections in this near disaster as well!

First, as a business owner, I am constantly trying to find new ways to communicate the services and value of partnering with ALIASS. My marketing team and I are diligent to clearly identify everything ALIASS offers, not only because it is a unique portfolio of legal support services (a descriptive term we developed specifically for ALIASS), but also because we believe it is important to accurately describe what we do and how we do it. A large part of the ALIASS culture is sustaining the gold standard in customer service. We choose to partner with our clients and foster long-term collaboration, which is why we belabor just the right marketing language. We understand those first interactions become the foundation for our relationship. In other words, we prefer to set the correct expectations from the first point of contact.

Second, several prospective clients have inquired as to why we do not post pricing for our services on our website. Expectations have a lot to do with this as well. Because we offer so many different types of legal support services and many of these services have varying components that affect final pricing, our ALIASS team prefers to gather all of the pertinent details before quoting your needs. There are companies who post the pricing for the least expensive, least complicated process service as a ‘hook’ for prospective clients. However, once all the details for their required service have been provided, the client discovers (sometimes too late!) that this price is not accurate for the process service they need. Talk about misleading expectations!

However, we realize many of our clients would like additional online support for their needs outside of business hours. In an effort to provide additional online support for our clients, ALIASS recently launched a new, improved website which offers the ability to submit a service request around the clock. Clients can submit all the pertinent details through a convenient, online form, and then our team will review and provide a quote within one business day (once again, working hard to set expectations … even if our goal is to try to exceed them). This is just one way ALIASS tries to make it easier to do business with us while keeping your expectations in mind.

While writing this blog post, I am wondering how many service providers (legal support services or otherwise) set accurate expectations. Do you have one who could benefit from re-evaluating their communications to set realistic expectations? Perhaps a good time of year to consider a business resolution for 2013!

The ALIASS team would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons and a most profitable new year in 2013!

Welcome to our Latest Online Resource

You may have noticed that ALIASS has spent the past few months updating our digital presence and developing online tools for our business partners. To complement our recently redesigned website, we are now proud to introduce this latest piece to our resource arsenal: the ALIASS blog.

Overtime, we envision this portal will grow to be another tool you can use to find the information you are looking for regarding legal support services, all the industries we support, and recent developments that will affect your business. Our leadership team will contribute expert perspective on trends in the marketplace as well as singular events or observations related to our industries. And we’ll even throw in some interesting topics for thought and consideration within your business.

If you don’t see something you need or would like us to investigate a topic yet untouched, please let us know. Your feedback will help to drive the content contained within this tool, thereby helping us to help you!

The ALIASS team looks forward to serving your needs – either through one of our online resources or in person when you require one of our services. Because that is what a true partner does – supports your every need to make your success more easily attainable. And ALIASS is proud to be your premiere legal support services partner.