To write detailed notes or not to write detailed notes on a return of service, that is the question.
Updated: Feb 5
I have been in the process service business for over 20 years and ever since I started working in this industry, there has been a debate among process servers about including detailed notes or just providing the minimum legally required information on a return of service.
As a process server, your job is to ensure that important legal documents are delivered to the right person in a timely and effective manner. This task requires a high level of responsibility, attention to detail, and honesty, as the documents you serve are critical to the outcome of legal proceedings. To demonstrate that you have done your job thoroughly, correctly, and honestly, it is important to keep detailed notes on all returns of service.
A return of service is a document that confirms that you have served the legal documents as required. It includes information such as the date and time of service, the method of service, the recipient’s name and address, and any other relevant details. Court requirements for the minimum information that must be contained in a return of service vary by state. By keeping accurate and detailed notes on your returns of service, you can prove to your clients, the courts, and any other relevant parties that you have carried out your job in accordance with the law and professional standards.
This is a volume business and as time goes on, it is less likely that a process server will remember what occurred during a specific service of process. One of the key benefits of detailed notes is that they provide a clear and irrefutable record of your actions that could only have been learned if the server attempted service. This can be especially important in cases where there are disputes over the service of documents, or where the recipient denies having received the documents. Your notes can serve as evidence to support your version of events and help resolve any disputes that may arise.
Detailed notes can also help you to avoid errors and ensure that you are following the correct procedures. By keeping track of the details of each service, you can easily refer back to previous cases to ensure that you are following the same procedures and processes. This can help you to avoid mistakes and ensure that you are always providing the highest level of service.
Finally, detailed notes can help to demonstrate your honesty and integrity. By keeping accurate records, you are showing that you are transparent and that you take your responsibilities as a process server seriously. This can help to build trust with your clients and demonstrate that you are a reliable and professional service provider.
Keeping detailed notes on returns of service is essential for process servers to prove that they have carried out their job thoroughly, correctly, and honestly. By providing a clear and irrefutable record of their actions, they can avoid errors, demonstrate their integrity, and build trust with their clients and the court.