Santa Clara Family Justice

Santa Clara Family Law Clerk’s Office Accepting Domestic Violence Orders via eFiling

Santa Clara Family Justice

Effective immediately, the Santa Clara Family Clerk’s Office accepts the following domestic violence (DV) orders after hearing via eFile. The Court directs filers to use the filing codes specified below to ensure an envelope is directed to the proper queue.

  • Use filing code DV Continuance After Hearing to submit the Order on Request to Continue Hearing (form DV-116).
  • Use filing code Order: Restraining Order After Hearing to submit the Restraining Order After Hearing (form DV-130).
  • Use filing code Request: Renew Restraining Order: Amended to submit the amended Notice of Hearing to Renew Restraining Order (form DV-710).
  • Use filing code Order: Renew Restraining Order to submit the Order to Renew Domestic Violence Restraining Order (form DV-730).

The Court reports that the above-listed DV orders after hearing will be accepted unfiled, forwarded to the Judicial Officer for signature and E-served back to the email address listed on the document. The Court further notes that this final copy will contain the Judicial Officer’s signature and electronic filing stamp.

For further information about eFiling in Santa Clara Court an Electronic Filing page and a Forms and Filing FAQ page are available on the Court’s website.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

Need to eFile Now?

Rapid Legal provides eFiling into Santa Clara Superior Court
and every California Court that accepts eFiling.


Is your firm new to Santa Clara Superior Court or new to eFiling? Contact Rapid Legal and partner with an eFiling provider that has experience with this Court and can help make your eFilings successful.

Book a demo or create an account today.

eFiling and Legal Tech Dictionary

The eFiling and Legal Tech Dictionary for Legal Professionals

eFiling and Legal Tech Dictionary

This dictionary was designed to give legal technology users of every experience level confidence and grace when using legal technology terms. For those new to the technologies these explanations will help ease them into their jobs. For experienced users, the updated definitions can add depth and context to technologies already in use.

Use this guide as a non-technical, fun and easy read that will allow you to feel comfortable whenever you find yourself in the deep end of the tech pool.

Table of Contents


eFiling Definitions

Acceptance Rate n.

1. Percentage of a law firm’s electronic court filings (eFilings) accepted by the court. This number is expressed as a percentage of the total number of eFilings a firm submits to the court, usually via an electronic filing service provider. 2. If your firm’s acceptance rate is below 90%, contact your eFiling provider and ask how they can help you improve it.


Concierge Service n.

1. A service typically provided by a legal support service vendor. Concierge service consists of an expert document specialist who reviews your documents and places your firm’s file or serve order on your behalf. 2. Also, the magical arts performed by hotel desk staff that make impossible guest requests possible. In the film Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts would have been toast without concierge service.


Court eFiling Coverage n.

1. The number of court jurisdictions for which an eFiling service provider or EFSP facilitates electronic court filing. 2. Savvy law firms select EFSPs that file into the greatest number of court jurisdictions.

Cf. California courts where eFiling is now mandatory or permissive.


Cover Page n.

1. Also known as the “first page” of an eFiling, this document includes the name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, email address, and California State Bar number of each attorney filing or joining in the document.

Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP)

Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) n.

1. An organization authorized and certified by a court, or the court’s technology provider, to integrate its software with the Court’s Case Management System or Electronic Filing Manager to transmit and receive data, legal documents, and payments on behalf of end users, such as law firms. 2. Single greatest contributor to the paperless office. Janitorial staff love them.

Cf. An EFSP does everything a physical filing service provider does, but much faster, much greener, and far less expensive.


eFiling n. v.

1. The act of filing court documents electronically; also known as eFiling. 2. Court documents that are filed with the court by means of digital online technologies to initiate a legal action or modify an ongoing legal action.


Expert Review v.

1. Personal review of an eFiling order performed by a document specialist who has deep experience with the courts. Expert review is performed prior to the order being submitted to the courts to improve the likelihood of court clerk acceptance.


File and Serve n. v.

1. Refers to the filing of documents with a court jurisdiction and serving the other party with said documents, a common practice in the facilitation of the due process of law. 2. Method of combining court document filing and process serving into one order. 3. Killing two birds with one stone. 4. Feeding two birds with one scone.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

Filing Size n.

1. Number of pages included in an electronic court filing. Courts and EFSPs typically have filing size restrictions. Check here for file size limits. 2. Scanning resolution and color mode can significantly affect filing size. For example, a 317-page document scanned in black and white at 300 pixels per inch (ppi) will be approximately 24 MB. That same size document scanned in grayscale at 400 ppi will be approximately 375 MB.


Lead Document n.

1. Any document in which a first paper fee is due. 2. When multiple documents are filed in a single submission, the lead document is the one of greatest importance.

Cf. If you want to file a notice of motion with a supporting declaration and a Proof of Service, the notice of motion will be the lead document. As it turns out, documents in an eFiling and dog sledding share something in common: Unless you’re the lead dog the view doesn’t change much.


Local Rules n.

1. A group of rules and regulations set forth by a local court jurisdiction governing the practice and procedure before a particular court. 2. Unpublished menu items at In-N-Out Burger such as the 3×3, 4×4, and anything “Animal Style.” 3. A local rule in Carmel, CA, prohibits wearing high heeled shoes without a permit (Ord. 87 C.S. § 1, 1963; Code 1975 § 639.2).

Cf. You may believe that if you’ve seen one court you’ve seen ‘em all. If you want to keep working in the legal profession, however, you’d better change your thinking to: “If you’ve seen one court…you’ve seen one court.” Jurisdictions differ. Local rules differ. Know the local court rules and watch your eFiling rejection rates drop.


Mandatory eFiling n. v.

1. The court’s requirement that all attorneys representing a party in a matter before the court must file court documents electronically with their jurisdiction. 2. The act of filing court papers electronically because the court says you must. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and do not ever try to get sympathy from a court clerk by saying, “…but paper filing is the way we’ve always done it.”


Permissive eFiling n. v.

1. A local court rule that permits parties to file court documents electronically in any type of case. A permissive eFiling period usually preceeds mandatory eFiling. 2. The “dating stage” between law firms and eFiling when the two decide whether they’re right for each other.


Portal n.

1. A proprietary system accessible 24/7 online by an EFSP from which a legal professional can enter, manage, modify, track, and pay for eFiling and other court services such as physical filing and service of process.

rejection rate

Rejection Rate n.

1. In a given period, the ratio of eFilings rejected by the court compared to the total number of eFilings submitted to the court, expressed as a percentage. 2. Number of times a court clerk gets to dash your dreams of having a perfect day.

Cf. No one likes rejection.

Cf. Get the last laugh on court clerks by reading Common Pitfalls for Court Filing Rejections and How to Avoid Them.

status notification

Status Notification n. v.

1. An electronic update an EFSP transmits to a law firm regarding a court eFiling or other litigation support service order. 2. An automated email that tracks litigation support service orders from submission to completion. 3. A way to tell colleagues that you’ve arrived, such as complaining about your kid’s Harvard tuition or the hardship of finding ethically-sourced foie gras.


Success Rate n.

1. Ratio of electronically-filed court documents you submit to the court that are accepted by the clerk. 2. A broken clock has a 0.0023% success rate of telling time accurately twice a day.

Cf. An eFiling success rate of 90% or higher is desirable. Any EFSP worth having should help you achieve a minimum 90% success rate with your eFilings.


Workflow n.

1. The process of creating and adding orders for different types of services within a single legal action. 2. A protocol that guides the sequence of tasks.

Cf. Wondering how eFiling flows through the court? Check out this eFiling Order Workflow diagram!

EFSP eFiling order court workflow

Legal Technology Definitions

ACH (Automated Clearing House) n.

1. A computerized network of participating financial institutions that process payment transactions and money transfers, typically of lower value. 2. A funds transfer system that enables electronic payment to payees in the United States. 3. The death knell of paper checks, cash, and wire transfers. 4. When traveling in Germany use “Ach” for “Ohhh!…”


API (Application Programming Interface) n.

1. A connection between computers that enables one application to serve another. 2. An intermediary layer between an application (e.g., Google Chrome or Firefox) and a web server (e.g. Apache HTTP Server) that processes data transfer between the two systems.

Cf. Want to see an API in action? Whip out your smartphone and use Google Maps. Or, if you’re into experiential learning, check out this demo for litigation support service software!

Cf. Spiders were the original web servers.


Analytics n.

1. Data sets that identify trends or specific occurrences. 2. The study of data patterns to identify to discover, interpret, or talk about what those patterns mean.

Cf. The world runs on analytics. Business transactions create a gazillion data points valuable to buyers and sellers. For example, data collected from orders, invoices, commissions, and payments can tell a business how it is performing at any given time, as well as how its customers are performing.


Artificial Intelligence n.

1. Digital systems that can accurately interpret external data, “learn” from that data, then use what has been learned to perform a task. 2. Machine learning. 3. Google Home and Siri are two examples of AI systems used in daily life. 4. In law practice, AI applications currently support tasks such as document review and rapid contract analysis.


Blockchain n.

1. A digital information technology designed to be tamper-proof. 2. An addition-only transaction record to which new information can be written but older information cannot be changed or removed.

Court Case Management Software

CCMS (Court Case Management Software) n.

1. In California courts, the back-end system used by the courts where your documents become a permanent part of the court record. 2. Electronically-filed court documents enter the CCMS after they pass through the court’s electronic filing manager (EFM).

Cf. Courts are increasingly implementing court case management systems with eFiling. In turn, a greater number of law firms are eFiling their documents to maintain court compliance. This places a burden on legal support service providers to change the way they do business.


Cloud n.

1. Shapeless, vast network of servers that host data as well as provide data and resources to the online ecosystem. Oftentimes referred to as “the cloud.” 2. Place where the worst weather is born.

Cf. Litigation support service software operates in the cloud and enables business owners to equip EFSPs, process servers, and attorney services with the means to offer online services to their end-users.

Cf. See how litigation support service software syncs stakeholders with a workflow that effortlessly moves data-rich documents through an ecosystem of providers, law firms, and courts in this diagram.


CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system n.

1. A software tool, usually cloud-enabled, that helps an organization manage relationships with its customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. 2. Software that automates and scales activities related to customer interaction. 3. A system that stores and operationalizes information about customers and prospects.

Cf. Data from CRM systems are frequently used by sales teams and marketers to identify sales opportunities, understand the sales pipeline, and craft marketing campaigns.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services
Customer Portal

Customer Portal n.

1. Within a litigation support service software platform, the application that end-user customers use to place and manage orders for various court services and process serving.


Litigation Support Performance Reports n.

1. Business intelligence generated by litigation support service software that provides cost and performance insights into key operations. 2. Data sets organized and presented by a business that provides a litigation support service software platform to organizations with which it does business (e.g., EFSPs). Data is pulled from sources such as customer orders and payments.

Cf. Law firms and corporate legal departments that have access to these reports can analyze their performance to run more efficiently and deliver greater satisfaction to their clients.


Cybersecurity n.

1. The totality of practices and technologies that defend wired and wireless technologies as well as networks from malicious attacks. 2. Electronic means of preventing unauthorized use of digital files.

Cf. Bank data and personal information have been longstanding targets of online hacking. However, in the last decade, attacks on APIs have become increasingly common because of the volume of web-based interactions that occur on them.


Dashboard n.

1. Digital control panel within a software platform from which a user manages all aspects of a business’ online-enabled work. 2. Control panel in an automobile that indicates whether the driver is speeding, about to run out of fuel, or needs air in the tires.


Digital Transformation v.

1. Process by which an organization embraces and adopts digital technology. 2. In most businesses and law firms this entails moving operations from analog and paper-based systems to online systems.


Integration n. v.

1. A connection that allows output from one program to be shared with other applications. Streaming a vendor’s billing information directly into a customer’s QuickBooks application is an example of software integration. 2. The process of connecting separate computer systems or device applications so they may share data.


Metaverse n.

1. Virtual environment accessed via the internet in which virtual reality, augmented reality, and other digital technologies create a multisensory experience. 2. A shared online network designed to facilitate social interaction, work, shopping, learning, and other activities.

Cf. What opportunities do law firms have in the Metaverse right now? It’s going to surprise you. Find out in this short article.


Operations Portal n.

1. The operational management application of a litigation support service software platform that centralizes customer, order, vendor, and finance information. Document specialists, or operators, of attorney service firms, use the operations portal to monitor and manage work for their customers.

Cf. An operations (“ops”) portal does a whole lot more than centralize order data. A good ops portal will include built-in back-office features that a litigation support service provider needs to manage vendors, billing, reporting, and more.


eCommerce n.

1. Broad term referencing the buying and selling of products and services online. Also denotes the transfer of money or data.


EFM (Electronic Filing Manager) n.

1. An intermediate system on the Court’s side that receives eFilings and processes them for the court clerks to view and manage. 2. The EFM connects to the court’s Case Management System (CMS). The current court tech structure in California requires every court to use an electronic filing manager (EFM) to manage its backend system.


End-to-End System n.

1. A technology solution for which all components (i.e., hardware and software) are provided, implemented, and maintained by a single vendor without the assistance of a third party.


File Extension n.

1. A suffix that appears at the end of a computer file name (typically separated by a period) that denotes the type of application associated with the file. (e.g., .doc, .jpg, .pdf) 2. A type of metadata that tells you what application will open when you double-click on the file.

Law Practice Management Software

Law Practice Management Software n.

1. Software that runs law firm operations. 2. Software systems built to streamline common administrative tasks such as calendaring, client intake, time keeping, billing, etc. Can be integrated with litigation support service software to help offices run more efficiently. 3. A tool that makes partners think you are a superhero and leads them to say things like, “I told the client we can do it in an hour. You can do it in an hour…right?”


Legal Technology n.

1. Also known as legal tech. A category of technology solutions or “IT tools” such as computers, software, and other integrated systems designed to support the legal profession and legal services industry. 2. Examples of legal technology include law practice management software, litigation support service software, court electronic filing managers, and court case management systems.


Litigation Support Service Software n.

1. Software that automates the processing of legal documents for law firms. 2. A cloud-based platform that delivers all the features and functionality that legal support service firms need to run a successful business.

Cf. Litigation support service software includes order and document management, automated document preparation, customer and vendor communication tools, billing, and reporting.


Payment Gateway n.

1. An online service that enables payment transactions between customers and providers, usually via credit card or direct payment processing. 2. A secure, e-commerce system that allows online payment from desktop computers, laptop computers, or mobile devices. 3. Coin slot in vending machines and arcade games.

Cf. Want a clear picture of how payment gateways work? This illustration makes it easy to understand.

payment gateways

PDF Conversion n.

1. An application feature that changes a document’s original format to the portable document format (PDF). 2. Saving files such as Word, Excel, or Power Point as a PDF. 3. The act of one document format proselytizing another.

Cf. Court rules oftentimes require electronically filed documents to be submitted in PDF format, or to include attachments that are saved in PDF format.


Performance Metrics n.

1. Objective data collected from activities and behaviors that measure how well a business performs against predefined criteria. 2. Relative to law firms and businesses that provide services used by the legal industry these metrics may include eFiling success rates, service of process turnaround times, and service level distribution.

Cf. Ever have one of those days when your hair was on fire, your chair was on fire, your desk was on fire, everything was on fire, but you still made it out of the office at 5 p.m.? Performance metrics can tell you just how amazing you were that day.


Platform n.

1. A software-based framework that can host applications and provide resources. 2. A set of goals, positions, and strategies politicians use to give voters a sense of what they believe in. 3. Technology providers and politicians can upgrade their platforms frequently as circumstances change.


Reconciliation n.

1. Process that compares two sets of records to confirm that figures are correct. Law offices reconcile expenses at the end of a case to be sure expenses paid on behalf of a client matter are correctly accounted for. 2. Law firms can integrate their in-house accounting system with a litigation support service provider’s system to automate reconciliation.

Cf. At some point you’ll have to reconcile the time you took to read this dictionary against time you could have spent doing other stuff. We hope you found it time well-spent and will share this page with colleagues.

Cf. If you want to learn more about how to bring eFiling into your law office use this information set up a demo or schedule a call.

Cf. Or, if you’re an attorney service and wondering whether litigation support service software can help grow your business, use this contact information to find out more.


Tech Stack n.

1. Also referred to as legal tech stack. The technology infrastructure a law firm, legal service provider, or legal service technology/software vendor uses to build its systems. 2. The aggregate of hardware (e.g., computers, servers, printers, etc.), software (typically cloud-based) and related technologies an organization uses to conduct operations.


Virtual Reality n.

1. Digital technology designed to provide users with an immersive experience in a variety of environments. 2. Frequently used with gaming applications that leverage head-mounted devices and motion sensors so users may interact with virtual environments. 3. Most reliable way currently available to interact with space aliens and Bigfoot.

Tips + Reminders From Our Operations Team

Tips + Reminders From Our Operations Team

Tips + Reminders From Our Operations Team

Alameda County – JCCP cases continue to be drop box only. For faster filing and return the court clerks request that the Alameda case number and JCCP case number appear on the caption page.

Contra Costa County Superior Court – A filing window specifically for runners close at 12 noon.

Kern County Superior Court – The court will receive documents in proposed orders. Once signed, the court will return the documents directly via email.

Placer County Superior Court – For case initiation: If uploading documents in addition to the complaint, upload the complaint first. By doing this, the options for summons and civil case cover sheet will populate. If the complaint is not uploaded first users will not be able to find selections for other documents, such as a summons.

San Diego County Superior Court – A known bug in the SDSC system pulls up first appearance fees on subsequent filings. To avoid unnecessary charges, users may add notes in the order details tab to state that first appearance fees have already been paid.

Sacramento Superior Court – Filings are received in only and conformed copies are returned to the runner once processed. The court is running 8 weeks behind.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

Helpful Reminders

  • The deadline for court documents that exceed 100 pages is 1 hour earlier than normal deadline.
  • Efile orders cannot be cancelled or edited.
  • Fees Tab – You must enter the correct fee amount in this tab or your order will be rejected. Fees are not automatically paid to the court by selecting the option to authorize Rapid Legal to advance fees.
  • Subpoena Witness Fee – Be sure you know when The Code of Civil Procedure of California requires a witness fee for a subpoena.
  • Family Law FAQ – Filing in Los Angeles Superior Court Family Law? This is everything you need to know.
  • Service of Process Bad Address – Service of Process orders sent to a bad address will be held for 3 days. Rapid Legal customers may provide a new address during this 3-day period before the order is closed.
  • Conformed Documents – Can’t find your conformed documents in the Rapid Legal user portal? Before you give up look at your closed tab or try adjusting the date filter.
  • Know the Differences Between an LLC and a Corporation – LLC stands for Limited Liability Company and is an association of members specified by the corporation code. Service is completed under CCP 416.40 association or partnership.A Corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. Service is completed under CCP 416.10 corporation.Companies that are set up as LLCs or corporations are registered with the California Secretary of State and are served under the California Code of Civil Procedure.

San Bernardino Superior Court

San Bernardino Superior Court Backlog Dates

San Bernardino Superior Court

Delays associated with a surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant continue to hamper services at Bernardino Superior Court. According to a statement from the court, the delays have caused shortages that impact wait times for a range of in-person and over-the-phone services.

Backlog dates for several of the court’s important services are as follows:

Abstracts and Writs
Satisfactions of Judgment
New Complaints/Petitions
Guardian Ad Litem
Jury Fees
Stipulations Processing by hearing date
Commission to take Depo outside California
DL -30s
Judgments: Clerk
Judgments: Court

Backlog dates updated January 18, 2022. For more information visit the court’s website.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

Technology By Itself Does Not Make a 21st Century Law Firm

Technology By Itself Does Not Make a 21st Century Law Firm

Technology By Itself Does Not Make a 21st Century Law Firm

“Digital Transformation is Not about Technology – it’s about strategy and new ways of thinking.”
Digital Transformation Playbook – David L. Rogers

Technology alone isn’t very good at overcoming inertia. Getting the most out of technology in a way that helps a law firm move forward and achieve its objectives requires careful planning and input from stakeholders across the firm, as well as the expertise and deep domain experience of the firm’s technology vendors. If ever there was a time when law firms needed to explore and leverage the full capabilities of legal technologies to remain competitive it is now, while a pandemic and industry dynamics force law firms to innovate their way onto solid footing in a rapidly changing environment.

This article examines how law firms can strategically plan and operationalize the full potential of their technology; assuring their ability to capitalize on the operational advantages and data insights technology can offer in support of the firm’s business strategies and objectives.

next option

Adjusting to a rapidly changing industry

Challenges and competitive pressures on the legal profession that would have been difficult to imagine 20 years ago now bear down on law firms across the landscape. Factors that challenge and can threaten a law firm’s survival include law firm mergers, growth in outsourcing legal services, pricing pressures, competitive business models, and increased client demands.

That’s only part of the picture. There are even more challenges rising from changes in workforce characteristics and evolving technologies.

Some of them include:

  • Multi-generational workforce, shift to remote working or a hybrid model
  • Exponential growth in volume and types of electronic data
  • Court eFiling; law firm automation; client collaboration; new technologies (AI, SaaS, Analytics)

Not every law firm has dealt with all these factors, but few have escaped them altogether.


Putting Technology Into Action

Looking to technology as an answer to these problems may be tempting but would not ultimately provide the full answer. Technology on its own is simply an enablement. Operated as part of sound business strategies and involved firm stakeholders, however, technology can take you to the moon and back.

The first step to getting technology to do the heavy lifting it was designed for is planning. Great technologies come and go but planning is always in style, and essential for getting the full set of capabilities and advantages technology solutions can offer.

Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value
Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value

Harnessing Strategic Thinking and Organizational Agility

Before technology can optimally serve a law firm’s needs, the firm must engage its strategic thinking.

It should define and challenge its underlying core assumptions and ardently seek to uncover blind spots.

It should also assess the organization’s readiness:

  • Who are all the stakeholders?
  • What are you trying to achieve? Goals? Objectives? Success Criteria?
  • How will you decide what to invest in, and is budget available?
  • If other departments are impacted, are they willing to change? Is there cross-organizational support and executive sponsorship?
  • What does the organization and staff need to support the roll-out and ensure success?
  • Plan and timing?

The legacy organization must be ready to make change happen, and at a rapid pace. Without organization agility, failure is imminent.

Even the most successful companies struggle with adapting their strategic thinking to think differently about every aspect of their strategy – customers, competition, data, innovation, and value.

It may be useful to conduct an audit of your firm’s readiness for the new technology.

Some needs can be uncovered by looking at a firm’s vision, strategies, and plans, including needs related to client matters, business processes, and practice areas. Getting a handle on the full scope of needs requires input from everyone.

By “everyone” we mean law firm staff members who represent an array of disciplines and can contribute expertise relative to the technology being implemented.

Is it really necessary to involve all those disciplines?

Yes, and for good reason.


When you don’t know what you don’t know, ask someone else

Taking on a new technology is not unlike taking on a new employee. Just as human resources departments have a model for making new hires, law firm business models should have a model for acquiring and deploying new technologies. Each model uses specific questions to reveal strengths and weaknesses.

In a law firm, this vetting process should gather individuals from across the organization who possess multidisciplinary expertise to “depose” the legal technology and legal technology vendor.

Why does this approach work?

It’s simple. Let’s look at eFiling and service of process through the eyes of “financial people.” Looking at a new technology through the lens of finance and accounting professionals, you gain insights squarely related to the technology’s finance-specific features or even if not a finance solution, it may have impact to cost-related outcomes for the business.

In the case of data provided by a litigation support service provider, the finance and accounting staff members may notice a system integration between the provider and the firm that can automate reconciliation and allocation of payments to clients. On their recommendation, this process becomes part of the business model which, in turn, makes the firm more efficient.

Did it actually happen?

If you’re wondering whether law firms in the real world use these measure to their advantage the answer is, “Yes.”

In fact, one Los Angeles area law firm used this exact approach to streamline its accounting and save the cost of one full-time employee.

A critical key in leveraging this technology strategically was the daily transfer of order and payment details from the customer relationship management (CRM) system used by the firm’s litigation support service provider directly to the law firm’s CRM.

The success owed to involving multiple stakeholders in the planning who understood the law firm’s needs, recognized an opportunity for technology to satisfy those needs, and turned to technology that met their requirements.

Hard to believe? Read the case study: How This Law Firm Leverages a System With Rapid Legal to Improve Cost Control and Gain Efficiencies.

When it Comes to Data: Think Differently and Think Often

Data adds significant value from within the framework of a law firm’s business model. Data can help a firm save money and lower certain types of risk, so when you consider taking on any technology solution you’ll want to ask questions about the data it provides.

Specifically, you’ll want to ask whether the data is sharable and how it can be used to track performance and identify trends.

You’ll especially want to know whether data can be applied to predict trends or outcomes that might occur. To facilitate this kind of business insight you’ll again want to plan strategically and involve stakeholders from throughout the law firm who understand what data is important, and how it can be used to advance the firm’s objectives.

This approach allows decision makers to use data and analyze it so they understand the performance of efforts you’ve already made. This look back will strategically inform the next move forward.

Properly implemented, legal tech solutions will produce data that tells you how well your business is running. With that, you can continue to let the business evolve and move it forward. At that point you can use predictive analytics to move the law firm even further along.

Analytics is making itself a marquee player in the practice of law. Be certain that your firm’s business model is structured to use the power of analytics and data as a revenue generator, to control costs, help utilize staff, and smartly guide many other functions inside a law firm.

setup analytics

Predictive Analytics for Cost Control
If you’d like to do a deep dive into predictive analytics check out this article to learn how business are using it to control costs.

Cure performance issues with data

Predictive analytics is a glamorous term and its role in courtroom litigation was popularized by the film Runaway Jury. In the trenches of a firm’s day-to-day operations, however, the more routine use of data is less glittery but no less important.

For example, data about the performance of common litigation support services such as court filing, eFiling, and service of process all can help gage the performance of vendors. It is also common to use data to monitor certain litigation support services and know whether they are being delivered as promised.

This information can help firms operate more efficiently and, more importantly, keep more of the revenue they earn. Not all law firms, however, have this data.

cohort analysis

This is where a litigation support service provider that provides court filing, service of processes, and other critical services can help. They can collect these types of data and provide it to law firms in regular reports. For example, a firm may want to perform an analysis about key services such as electronic court filing. A firm can use the data in the litigation support service provider’s eFiling reports to evaluate turnaround times and rejection rates, and know whether it needs to course correct.

Similar data can be pulled from a litigation support service provider to measure service of process performance. This data enables a firm to track service level distribution, orders by type, and service of process orders by pricing zone. It’s important for a firm’s business model to use these data sets as cost control measures.

As an example, a firm can examine service of process orders by pricing zone to predict whether the cost of service of process in certain locales may be untenable. The firm may also use the reports to gage the vendor’s performance or the law firm’s own internal performance.

When a law firm searches for a litigation support service provider, its business model should stipulate that a provider can deliver these reports.

4 ways your firm’s business model can use sharable data:

  • Service level distribution
  • Orders by type
  • Service of process orders by pricing zone
  • Service of process performance

Read Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using and learn how these reports can save money for your law firm!


Want to lower rejection rates for your electronic court filings? This article explains how. Read it: Common Pitfalls for Court Filing Rejections and How to Avoid Them.

Onward and upward

There is power in planning and expertise and uniting all of the key stakeholders in a technology acquisition and deployment. The success of that acquisition hinges on more than simply having a sound business model. It also requires developing and maintaining strategic best practices that move the law firm toward key business outcomes.

The thing to remember about introducing technology to a law firm is this: Technology on its own is just an enablement, but under the guidance of a well-structured business model and involving key firm stakeholders, technology can take you to the moon and back. And, in many cases, the fuel for that trip will be data that helps you continually leverage that technology and plot the course forward.

Learn how you can get the greatest value from the technology and data you already have. Set up a consultation with a Rapid Legal account executive and learn how. Book a demo or schedule a call now.

Skyscrapers reaching toward blue sky with puffy clouds

How This Law Firm Leverages a System With Rapid Legal to Improve Cost Control & Gain Efficiencies

Law Firm Profile


Year Founded


HQ Location


Year Started with Rapid Legal


Over the past 5 years, this CA-based law firm has been growing exponentially. As a result of this growth, and the commensurate increase in the volume of accounting transactions, the firm recognized that its accounts payables processes needed to be evaluated, streamlined, and automated. The firm looked to its CFO, a CPA with over 20 years’ experience in Public and Private Accounting. The CFO first identified the vendors who generate a significant volume of invoices for the firm. They felt that if the process of recording invoices could somehow be automated, it would significantly impact the efficiency of the firm’s accounts payable cycle and enhance the reporting capabilities of the firm. The CFO turned to Rapid Legal, the firm’s leading litigation support service provider, for help in this process.

“Rapid Legal is one of our high-volume vendors, providing litigation support services in the form of eFiling and process serving. During our initial conversations, it was revealed that both Rapid Legal and our law firm use the same CRM to manage customer/client relationships. We thought, why don’t we integrate our systems, so Rapid Legal can push data and information directly into our system? So, we eventually did. This eliminates data entry duplication by our accounting staff and ensures all transaction receipts and documents are directly stored in our system. These days, everything is so seamless and effortless. We have 200+ receipts being pushed to our CRM and QuickBooks nearly every day in a process that is now totally hands-off.”
law growth creates new challenges

Record Growth Creates New Challenges

The law firm’s record growth has resulted in an expected increase in litigation expenses. “We literally went from a few invoices a day from vendors providing litigation support services to hundreds per day. The invoice count was even higher, in fact, 5-10x higher, for our high-volume vendors. Given this growth in volume, it became even more important to evaluate and implement the right approach and processes to accurately track, reconcile, and account for these invoices, fees, and payments, such as court fees and vendor service fees. This is particularly critical because these fees need to be properly accounted for and reimbursed at the conclusion of each case,” said the firm’s CFO.

The law firm also faced other challenges. The firm’s processes around these litigation support service expenses required a significant amount of manual effort and cost to manage and execute. In addition, as with any manual process, there’s always the possibility of error in tracking and reconciling expenses.  The firm’s CFO further elaborated, “Fee motion preparation and management was a big pain point for us. Without automated cost controls and visibility, a firm can run the risk of not properly associating vendor expenses with fee motions in cases, resulting in filing Fee Motions that are “understated,” meaning we’re not maximizing our revenue opportunities.”

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

An Unlikely Request and Solution

As a modern, tech-enabled law firm, the firm saw the value of leveraging data and technology to automate its workflows, maximize expense visibility & control, and improve other business outcomes.

The law firm uses a CRM (customer relationship management system) for matter and case management and QuickBooks for accounting and finance. Rapid Legal’s cloud-based litigation support services platform, LegalConnect, captures all order data, documents, and payments for each order placed with Rapid Legal. This data is then integrated with Rapid Legal’s CRM instance for ongoing customer relationship management.

“I don’t know of many litigation support service providers willing, or even able, to push data from their system directly to the law firm’s system but given all the court fees that Rapid Legal needs to pass on, along with its own service fees, it was particularly critical for us to ensure all fees and invoices were accurately captured in our systems. We also wanted to reduce the accounting staff time needed to reconcile all these expenses,” said the firm’s CFO. “We asked Rapid Legal if it had the capability to integrate with our CRM. To my delight, Rapid Legal welcomed the opportunity.”

System-to-System Integration for the Win

Over the course of a couple of months, Rapid Legal worked with the law firm’s technology team to implement a CRM-to-CRM integration. The scope entailed transferring Rapid Legal order and payment details data daily from its CRM instance to the firm’s own CRM system.

“It’s great that the data and records are automatically deposited into our system. It’s so seamless. We’ve already set up a dashboard in CRM that gives me and the firm’s staff insight into the various litigation services and related expenses.”

The law firm’s next step is to develop reporting capabilities for metrics and insights.

“Our fee motion management will be done faster and with greater assurance of accuracy, our accounts payables will be better tracked and managed, and our staff’s productivity will be better utilized from the efficiencies gained,” shared the firm’s CFO.

“I used to have the equivalent of one full-time employee reconciling invoices and expenses for fee motions. Now, we’re nearly in a position to reallocate these resources to activities that will deliver greater value to the firm and our clients.”

process serving discussion

The Ultimate Guide for Process Serving

Process servers are the hands and legs of civil litigation. Millions of dollars in fees and settlements hinge on good process serving, so it is critical to have a reliable process service provider who can serve documents promptly and keep cases from becoming problematic as they move upstream. This article helps law firms recognize the traits of a process server that is reliable, effective, and can serve as a strategic partner to the firm.

good process servers

Where do good process servers come from?

Since most states require no special licensing or education for process serving, it is not uncommon to hear the refrain, “Almost anyone can be a process server.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Good process servers are prized for their efficiency, efficacy, and reliability. But there is a more specific set of qualities that separate excellent process servers from the merely adequate. They include:

  • Resourcefulness
  • Patience
  • Industriousness
  • Craftiness

These four qualities are especially important when a process server is attempting to serve parties likely to evade service. Defendants may attempt to dodge service through behaviors that range from not answering a door knock to moving out of state. A professional process server knows how to deal with these behaviors, overcome them, and successfully serve legal papers.

Qualities to focus on when evaluating a potential process server:



A process server who is resourceful can adjust to variables such as location, presentation, and identity, to get documents served. Here is an example of how a resourceful process server might make those adjustments to serve an evasive party:

Floral delivery: In this scenario, the process server assumes the role of delivery person and stages a delivery to the defendant at a bona fide event such as a defendant’s birthday, anniversary, or holiday observation.

If the person who answers the door hesitates to allow the process server inside the home, the process server overcomes those objections by stating that the floral arrangement must be handed over personally to the party being served.

Upon encountering the party face-to-face, the server asks, “Are you Jane Doe?” The party responds in the affirmative and the process server hands over the documents to the defendant, along with the flowers.

Other approaches some resourceful process servers have used include dressing as a pizza delivery person and attaching a subpoena to the inside of a pizza box, or to wearing clothing like a commercial parcel delivery service and either handing over documents or attaching them to a box.



It is sometimes more cost-effective to wait out a party rather than return multiple times to a bad address. A good process server knows that in some cases the most efficient solution is to wait for a party to appear at a location where the individual is known to frequent. This requires only that the server exercise patience and make the serve lawfully. (They may even offer a stakeout, which is typically an additional fee.)

Some process servers may be tempted to bend the rules and leave documents at a location even when the party to be served is nowhere in sight. To avoid this type of service, which will jeopardize a lawsuit, law firms should research the provider’s reputation to assure their serves are ethical and stand up to scrutiny.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services


Process serving is not a 9 to 5 occupation. A high-performing process server will be diligent and willing to put in long hours or work odd schedules as a matter of course. This is especially helpful when defendants are unlikely to be at a particular location at a specific time.

In this case, the process server overcomes an evasive defendant simply by putting in the time, travel, and effort to meet the party when and where that person becomes available.


A process server who is crafty may combine resourcefulness, industriousness, and patience to successfully serve court documents. Leveraging these qualities to identify a good address for service is one of the most productive things a process server can do.

To establish a good address the process server may ask neighbors or other locals about information that can help determine where a party lives, when the party may be at a residence, and where the party may go when he or she leaves the residence. Following is an example of how a crafty process server may execute this:

Package delivery: In this scenario, the process server carries a package marked for delivery to the defendant. Instead of going to the defendant’s address the process server approaches a neighbor’s door and says, “Hello, I have a delivery for John Doe.”

The neighbor may respond with, “John Doe doesn’t live here, he lives in the house across the street. You have the wrong address.”

Another response may be, “John Doe used to live here but he moved across the street 5 years ago.”

As the process server leaves, he may ask, “Do you know whether John Doe is home right now so I can deliver this?” The neighbor may respond: “Yes, he is,” or, “No, John usually doesn’t arrive home until about 7 p.m.”

Now the process server has actionable information that can be used to pinpoint a good address or guide further investigation to ascertain the correct address.

The time and effort spent validating that address oftentimes will be less costly than making multiple attempts at a bad address. That is important because it typically costs money each time service is attempted.

Research and technology

A crafty process server will also be a skilled researcher and an expert in making serves as efficient as possible. Again, this is vital for dealing with hard-to-serve parties, and one way a crafty server will tackle such assignments is to use technology that performs skip tracing. Parties associated with debt-collection cases oftentimes may avoid service by moving out of town or out of state. Skip tracing can help locate these individuals so that papers can be served.

Another tactic a good process server may use is to simply leave papers with a party being served. This can be an effective tactic should the party refuse to take the documents in hand.

Success indicators

Success indicators

A process server worth having is one that is experienced and has statistics to back up any claims about performance. One good way to judge a service of process provider is to ask about that provider’s serve success rate.

A high serve success rate indicates that a process server is consistently successful in serving case participants. Anything above 90% is good.

Additionally, a good process server will have a reputation for serving parties quickly and promptly delivering proof of service. A desirable process server will also be a capable researcher who uses online resources to maximize the effectiveness of in-person work.

Speed of Service

Gaging a process server’s speed of service means looking at how quickly the provider can successfully complete a serve as well as how quickly the Proof of Service is delivered back to the law firm. For example, a process server may require 10 days to get someone served, and an additional 3 days to complete and provide the Proof of Service to the firm. It is important to understand the average amount of time required for both of those processes in order to accurately estimate speed of service.

Customer Service

Law firms should also be sure to ask a process serving company how serious it is about customer satisfaction. It’s important to ask the provider how it tracks customer satisfaction and whether it can show proof of satisfaction scores or reports. And it is vitally important to ask what the provider does when customers are not satisfied.

Do you think you know a good service of process provider when you see one? Test your knowledge here:

What to Look for When Hiring a Process Serving Company.

California Process Server Requirements

In California, a person who wants to become a registered process server will have to go through several steps to achieve registration. According to the California Association of Legal Support Professionals (CALSPro), becoming a registered process server in the state requires the following:

  • Complete a registration form.
  • Be fingerprinted (to verify the applicant has not been convicted of a felony.
  • Complete a background check.
  • Obtain a bond (valid for the 2-year term of registration).
  • Two passport-size photos.
  • Pay fees (base fee to register as of November 2021 is $134).

In California process servers are not required to be licensed, according to the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS). The association points out, however, that any individual who serves more than 10 papers annually must be registered either in the county in which they live or have their primary place of business.

Process Server

The Process Server’s Bread and Butter:

Service of Process

Process servers handle a variety of court documents ranging from subpoenas and complaints to eviction notices and summonses. Those documents all have important functions that operationalize once handed over by a process server, but the one document a process server carries that confers possibly the most gravitas of all is service of process.

Following is a brief examination of what service of process is, how it is carried out, and what distinguishes it from other terms that sound similar but are quite different.

Service of process methods

For the most part, service of process must be done in person. But is that the only way?

Not always.

Personal service and substituted service are two common types of service of process used in the United States, with personal service being the one most difficult for a defendant to attack for its legality.

Another method used to perform service of process is publication. For example, publication in a newspaper.

Publication as a process serving method may be useful if a defendant cannot be located. This method provides constructive notice as opposed to actual notice. It is also considered the lowest constitutionally acceptable form of service. In the state of California service via publication is authorized by Code of Civil Procedure 415.50.

Service of process may also be conducted via public posting. This method is sometimes used when a defendant cannot be located. As the name suggests, public posting is performed by posting a notice in a place the defendant is known to frequent.

While Public posting is used to perform service of process it sometimes may be problematic. For example, using the public posting method may imply that the plaintiff knows where the defendant frequents but was possibly lax in efforts to find the defendant. Public posting may also suggest the plaintiff only guessed at places the defendant may frequent.

Details governing the use of public posting in California

appear in Code of Civil Procedure 415.45.

In some cases, service of process may even be performed using social media such as Facebook. This service of process method is rare, however, and still in its infancy.

Service of Process vs. Giving Notice

There is a difference between documents that can—or must—be served personally (service of process) and documents that can be eServed, mailed, or handled by other means (eService). The difference between these two types of documents lies in the results they create, and here are the critical distinctions you should know.

eService: Giving notice

The role of eService in civil litigation is straightforward: eService is an electronic substitute for service on opposing counsel. This aspect of civil litigation traditionally has been executed with paper documents such as printed facsimiles or the U.S. Mail.

In the 21st century, however, things are different. Now, online technology and email make it possible for document exchange to occur electronically. But not without a catch.

For example, in the state of California, papers can be served electronically only if a party or other person has expressly consented to receive electronic service in that specific action.

Another notable restriction on eService in California is that some documents simply are not allowed to be exchanged electronically. For example, a document required to be served by certified or registered mail is not authorized for electronic service.

Service of process: Getting jurisdiction

Service of process is performed when a party other than the plaintiff gives a copy of the court papers to the party the plaintiff is suing. Service advises the other party of three critical things:

    • What the plaintiff is asking for
    • Date and place of the trial
    • What the party can choose to do

Looking deeper at service of process we see that it gives the court the power to adjudicate a case or issue. We also see that it gives the court the “power” to command witnesses to appear: it confers jurisdiction.

Proof of service procedures

Proof of service procedures

Personal service vs. substituted service

Once you’ve decided on a provider for you service of process, you’ll need to determine which method of service will be used.

There are three primary methods for service of process: 1.) actual or personal service; 2.) substituted service, 3.) service by publication. The two methods that are most common are personal service and substituted service.

Personal service may be as simple as approaching the person to be served and saying, “These are court papers.” Then, present the person copies of all papers checked on the form, or leave the documents within close proximity. An easy speaking distance is a good rule of thumb for judging this distance. It isn’t always that simple, but rarely is it a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse carried out in dark alleys.

Substituted service is a method that can be used when the plaintiff doesn’t want to use personal service or may not be able to locate the party to be served. To perform substituted service the person performing service must be at least 18 years of age and not listed in the case. Substituted service also requires the additional step of mailing another copy of the papers by first class mail to the party being sued at the same address where the papers were left.

For substituted service, state law may require that documents be mailed to the party being served in addition to standard substituted service requirements. This is currently the case in California, New York, and Illinois, so it is important to find out whether your state requires this additional task.

Process server: a law firm’s strategic partner

Process server: a law firm’s strategic partner

At the highest level of process servers are those who have the right stuff to become a strategic partner. A vendor that is qualified to fill this role may be affiliated with a larger litigation support service provider and, thus, invisible to the law firm itself. The litigation support service provider brings value to the law firm, however, with deep industry experience, a technology platform that delivers efficiency, and a provable history of high performance.

Technology for process serving

As a strategic partner, the litigation support service provider uses its technology platform to innovate a better way for the law firm to operate. One way it can do that is to make data about process service orders in the provider’s own system shareable with the law firm’s systems. This can be especially useful by making data instantly available about billing, court fees, vendor fees, and payments for process serving orders.

Interested in Learning Other Process Serving Technology Use Cases?

Read: Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using

Data is better than a crystal ball

If you’re unclear about how sharing this data positively impacts the bottom line, think of it this way: For each case, every transaction receipt and every document can be stored in a law firm’s own system. This means fees and payments can be easily accounted for and reimbursed when the case ends, dramatically collapsing the time needed to reconcile expenses.

A portal also allows the vendor to manage and efficiently track the performance of its affiliate network in executing the serve. This, in turn, builds an extremely high level of accountability felt all along the service of process supply chain.

The portal also creates two other important advantages to improve service of process efficiency: it eliminates paper controls and allows the server to eSign the proof of service.

Measure the results

Measure the results

Sharable data can also be used to create strategic reports. These reports provide detailed views of service of process orders and the vendor’s execution thereof, as well as other order types placed through the portal. At a glance, users can see which types of orders contribute positively to the firm’s bottom line and which types compromise it.

Most law firms lack the infrastructure and staff to collect business intelligence at this level easily. That’s why it’s important to have a vendor whose technology makes it simple to gather and share it. If your litigation support service provider isn’t able or willing to deliver this sort of value to help you grow, it’s probably time to find one that will.

4 ways you should be using sharable data in your firm’s business strategy:

  • Service level distribution
  • Orders by type
  • Service of process orders by pricing zone
  • Service of process performance

Read Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using and learn how these reports can save money for your law firm!

Expert advice

Expert advice is a click away

By reading this article, you’ve taken an important first step toward building your process serving expertise. The thing to remember about process serving—as the term implies—is that it is a process. It is a task filled with nuance that won’t be mastered overnight. So don’t be afraid to seek advice and expertise.

Rapid Legal possesses some of the industry’s deepest process serving expertise, thanks to staff members who have decades of hands-on, practical experience as professional process servers. That expertise is built into our technology platform to make it easy for you to fulfill your process serving needs from a single, simple-to-use source.

If you’d like to see for yourself how process serving can be done conveniently from our online portal, contact one of our account executives for a no-obligation demonstration.

Book a demo or schedule a call

with a Rapid Legal team member now.

Be part of your firm’s success story by choosing a litigation support service partner who has your back when it’s time to make critical decisions about this function. Ask us anything and don’t worry about being judged.

There is no judgement. At least not until the court papers are served.

Most commonly served documents


Most commonly served documents

A process server’s toolkit primarily consists of documents: paper or electronic. Each document performs a distinct function and some will significantly alter the course of business or relationships.

It’s critical to understand the legal action each document triggers, so we’ve defined them here in alphabetical order:

Complaint: The initial pleading in which an action is commenced and sets forth a claim for relief. The filing of the complaint is a charge against a defendant or several defendants and sets forth a cause or causes of actions against them.

Notice of Motion: A notice in writing stating that a certain day designated a motion will be made to the court for the purpose or object stated. The notice is served on opposing counsel and all parties and gives all parties a time and date for the court hearing.

Notice to Quit: This notice is given to tenants to terminate the tenancy of the premises. The notice states that at the end of the specified date, the tenancy is terminated and directs that the tenant must move out.

Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: A notice to a tenant of a rental property, informing him or her that the rent or a portion of the rent is due. Service on the tenant in writing that the rent is due usually in three days after the date of service, and if the rent is not paid, the tenant is requested to “quit” (leave) the premises.

Opposition: A pleading filed to oppose or state a reason a Motion should not be granted, otherwise known as a 1011.

Order for Appearance (ORAP): This is a court order that compels a personal appearance of the judgment debtor. Disobedience of this order by not appearing could subject the judgment debtor to a citation of contempt and ultimately lead to an arrest.

Order to Show Cause: An order to appear as directed, and presents to the court such reasons or considerations as one has to offer why a particular order should not be confirmed, take effect or to be executed.

Plaintiff’s Claim and Order to go to Small Claims Court: A claim of plaintiff is a small claims document filed by the plaintiff against the defendant of defendants. The claim must be for a monetary amount only. The claim is a 5 page document stating how the defendant or defendants damaged the plaintiff and in what amount.

Temporary Restraining Order: This is an order compelling compliance and failure to obey it could result in bringing the person restrained into contempt of court and possible arrest. A TRO is a case matter that might restrain the respondent from calling, harassing or bothering the petitioner. The order is to restrain the person served from doing any act specified in the order until the hearing takes place.

Summons: A writ of process [issued by the clerk of the court] the person named that an action has been commenced against him in the court from where the process issues and that he/she is required to appear.

Subpoena: A command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony as a witness.

It’s Time for Law Firms to Think Differently About How They Use Litigation Support Service Providers

It’s Time for Law Firms to Think Differently About How They Use Litigation Support Service Providers

It’s Time for Law Firms to Think Differently About How They Use Litigation Support Service Providers

Technology changes the strategic advantages litigation support service providers can offer. It’s time for law firms to think differently about how that relationship can elevate their position and stature with customers and peers. A key consideration is to select a strategic partner over a transactional vendor.

Don’t be Kodak. In 1990 the company was valued at approximately $30 billion and it was bankrupt by 2012. Why? Because the Kodak brain trust never thought differently about itself, its partners, or its customers. The company never considered digital photography a serious threat and continued to bet the farm on the status quo.

The decision to bet the farm led Kodak to buy the farm.

Think your way to success

Law firms can learn an important lesson from the Kodak story: Look closely at the technology and expertise your litigation support services provider brings to the table and think about how you can use those assets to achieve your business goals.

The first step is to stop thinking about litigation support services providers as vendors and begin thinking about them as strategic partners. It’s a big, competitive world out there, and you need expert partners you can count on to work in your corner.

What does “strategic” look like?

It can be confusing to understand what defines a strategic partner. Words like “strategy” and “strategic” get lost easily in buzzword bingo, and for this discussion, we need to clearly distinguish strategic partner thinking from transactional vendor thinking. So, here is a simple way we define each for litigation support service providers:

  • A strategic litigation support service partner does more for your business than just supply a service. A strategic partner focuses on providing you a complete solution by leveraging their expertise, experience, technology, and customer support resources to meet your needs. They are proactive with you and seek to add value to your firm. They inquire about your firm’s goals and objectives to understand their role and fit in helping you achieve them. They focus on strategic business outcomes like cost and process efficiencies as well as risk management. They are always thinking of new and different ways to do things. They care about each interaction with you because their focus is a long-term relationship and partnership with your firm. They provide you data and reports for transparency and accountability, plus much more.
  • A transactional litigation support service vendor, on the other hand, simply sells you a service. They tend to be reactive to your needs. They tend to think and act tactically by focusing on the what, not the why, focusing on the now, not the future, focusing on the status quo, not innovation. They will typically take care of your firm’s basic needs, but they will not have the capability nor mindset to solve new problems or seize new opportunities for your firm.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

The differences that legitimately separate strategic partners from the sprawling field of transactional vendors may not be readily apparent on the surface. To further illustrate, Table 1 notes key characteristics of a company that has strategy markers in its DNA versus one that does not.

Table 1.



Focuses on the law firm’s long-term success.

  • Provides services or products for which it is paid but is always looking at the bigger picture and how it can deliver maximum value to the law firm. Seeks to help the firm advance its business goals and unlock greater growth. Identifies and seizes opportunities or solves problems that improve strategic outcomes for the firm.
Focuses on the short-term.

  • Provides services or products for which it is paid. Unlikely to provide anything additional of strategic value or actively work to advance the law firm’s business goals. Is narrowly focused on delivering the original scope of services but does not look for new opportunities to exploit or problems to help solve for the firm.
Provides full accountability and proof of performance.

  • Demonstrates how it impacts its law firm clients by providing performance metrics such as: – eFiling Turnaround Times – Serve Success Rates – User Behavior and Order Data
  • Provides monthly/quarterly reports and client review meetings for greater transparency, performance accountability, and improvement.
  • Service performance is proven by the partner through metrics, reports, and review meetings with the client.
Offers minimal accountability and proof of performance.

  • Does not have the capability or desire to share data and reports with its customers.
  • Performance is what the vendor says it is.
Pursues innovative ways to advance how electronic documents, information and payments are exchanged in the legal community.

  • Is a certified eFiling Service Provider for all courts in California leveraging advanced, proprietary file + serve technology.
  • Vigorously challenges the status quo to raise the bar for its industry peers and clients. Always pushing to be faster and better by blending its expertise with legal technology to maximize law firm efficiency, productivity, risk mitigation.
  • Applies forward-thinking expertise by leveraging data, integrating systems, and automating legal processes for its law firm clients.
Prefers the status quo and uncomfortable with change.

  • May be a certified eFiling Service Provider for some counties, but not all.
  • Has minimal or no legal technology expertise. Focuses more on service delivery than technology and automation for its clients.
  • Has minimal or no capability to leverage data, integrate systems or automate legal processes for its clients.

Now that you see some of the tell-tale differences between strategic vendors and transactional vendors, it’s time for a look closer at how these differences affect a law firm’s business strategy. Let’s examine each dimension in a little more detail.

Relationship (long-term vs. short term)

This is the easiest of the strategic characteristics to understand. A long-term strategic partner will want to provide turnkey solutions that improve efficiencies and reduce costs. As one example, a strategic vendor can add value beyond everyday litigation support service delivery by integrating its portal with the law firm’s system to push service expense data that makes client/expense reconciliation far easier and more accurate.

If you can’t imagine the litigation support services provider you currently have bringing this kind of value to the table, be sure to read about how Rapid Legal worked with a large lemon law firm to make this type of synergy a reality in the case study near the end of this article.

Not every potential strategic partner may be able to orchestrate a system-to-system integration; and that scale of operation may not make sense for every strategic business relationship. But that should not keep you from thinking of your litigation support services provider as a partner who can offer strategic solutions like automated workflows or pulling/pushing data for report generation or expense reconciliation. In some cases, their strategic support may be as simple as providing an expert review service for your court filing to maximize court acceptance of your documents or helping you with an additional court service like document retrieval or courtesy copy delivery.

Do you want to test whether a litigation support services provider is strategic partner material? Ask yourself whether the vendor is consultative and seems willing to work for the mutual benefit of both sides. If the vendor seems focused only on order fulfillment, they’re probably not.

Accountability and Performance

There is no substitute for data when it comes to measuring performance, and few things keep business partners accountable to each other like objective data that both sides can compare. Whether it’s days and hours associated with turnaround time, dollars and cents in receivables and payables, or filing acceptance rates by the court, the most important measures of success or failure should be transparently shared between partners.

What sorts of data should law firms look for? Here are three that every firm can use as a barometer of performance for their provider and themselves from Table 1:

  • eFiling Turnaround Times
  • Serve Success Rates
  • User Behavior and Order Data

While those three measures can provide a high-level view of performance, there are more granular types of data that can elevate a law firm’s performance. Among the data sets a strategic partner can provide to help steer operational success are:

  • Type of orders placed
  • eFiling orders by county
  • Service of process orders by service level and pricing zone
  • Number of documents served (by days elapsed)
  • Proofs of service returned (by days elapsed)

Few law firms have the staff and resources to pull together data of this scale and type. Firms that do business without such data risk having an unclear picture of their own performance. Furthermore, a firm that operates without this information can only guess at the level of performance its litigation support services provider delivers.

That is why it is essential to have access to these data sets at regular intervals—monthly and/or quarterly. Doing so keeps the strategic partnership strong by proving the provider’s performance to the law firm and proving the value of the law firm to the provider.

But big picture accountability is about more than just hard data. It’s also about who has your back.

When things go wrong it’s critical to have access to someone inside the provider’s organization who can address your concerns. It’s never a good sign when a vendor responds to your problems with silence or indifference. Seeing first-hand how a potential partner responds to a problem is the best barometer to discover whether a provider will be responsive to your needs or let you twist in the wind.

Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for a bona fide crisis to find out whether your provider is strategic partner material. The simple solution is to “ask around.”

Actively reach out to other firms to investigate the vendor’s track record and find out what their experience has been. Reaching out to your personal and professional networks may also bring you important perspective from people who have worked hands-on with a provider.

Make this inquiry even more complete by asking the provider for their performance metric reports.


All law firms seek a competitive advantage. But it’s almost a sure bet that trying to gain that advantage from a vendor that follows the crowd will lead to disappointment. The best way to get that advantage, and to think differently about how a litigation support services provider can improve your strategic position, is to partner with one that is an innovator.

A partner that is an innovator will help provide a law firm first-to-market access that keeps you ahead of your competitors. Perhaps the best example of this is law firms that use court eFiling. It’s critical for these firms to have access to the greatest number of courts where eFiling is accepted–and not all litigation support service providers offer that.

Some providers will offer eFiling in just a few courts while others may offer it in many courts, or even most courts. However, a litigation support service provider that has the right stuff to be your strategic partner will provide electronic filing in every court where eFiling is allowed.

That may sound like a high bar, but it’s one that a true innovator meets by creating a proprietary file + serve technology platform that provides this level of access to its partners.

It is also the gold standard that other litigation support service providers continually chase.


Thinking Differently to Improve Cost Control and Gain Efficiencies

The good news for a Los Angeles-based, lemon law firm, was that the firm was experiencing record growth. The bad news was that hundreds of invoices suddenly washed in each day, choking the firm’s ability to accurately track, reconcile, and account for the fees and expenses that would be reimbursed at the conclusion of each case.

The overwhelming amount of manual effort required to manage these expenses also invited a significant risk of human error in tracking and reconciling them. And, without automated cost controls and visibility, the law firm was running the risk of not properly associating vendor expenses with fee motions in cases.

The solution: Think differently.

To cope with the situation the law firm looked to its litigation support services provider, Rapid Legal, as a strategic ally. It asked its provider to help find a way out and Rapid Legal welcomed the opportunity.

Drawing on its deep domain experience and industry expertise, Rapid Legal found common ground with the lemon law firm that was key to the solution: Both organizations used Salesforce.

Rapid Legal and the law firm quickly joined forces to implement a Salesforce-to-Salesforce integration. The scope of the operation entailed transferring Rapid Legal order and payment details daily from its Salesforce instance to the law firm’s own Salesforce system.

The law firm’s chief financial officer (CFO) explained the importance of Rapid Legal’s solution.

“It allowed the data and records to be automatically deposited into the firm’s system seamlessly,” the CFO says. He explains that the firm also set up a dashboard in Salesforce that provides the staff with insights into the various litigation services and related expenses.

“I used to have the equivalent of one full-time employee reconciling invoices and expenses for fee motions,” the CFO says. “Now, however, our law firm is nearly in a position to reallocate those resources to activities that will deliver greater value to the firm and its clients.”

Positive change from the inside

If what you and your litigation support services provider are doing right now isn’t strengthening your law firm’s competitive position, it’s time to start thinking differently about how to make that happen. Instead of trying to boost the bottom line by simply taking more cases, there are ways to strengthen your financial footing from within the firm.

This important change in mindset begins by questioning the status quo. Here are a few questions you can ask to get that process started, and help you change the way you see and use your litigation support services provider:

  • Can this vendor help me improve my cash flow?
  • How can this vendor help me track the firm’s performance?
  • Can this vendor show the firm where it’s losing money?
  • Can this vendor show the firm where it’s saving money?
  • What can this vendor do to help me manage change?

Perception is everything

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” This statement from best-selling author, Wayne W. Dyer, EdD, challenges us to see the full potential in the tools, processes, and people around us. It is also instructive at a time when technology is driving transformation throughout the legal profession, and worth keeping in mind as you continue to look for a competitive edge.

Change is happening throughout the courts and legal profession, but change creates an ideal environment in which to think differently about how law firms and their litigation support providers influence each other’s growth. Make sure you’re prepared to thrive in that environment with clarity about your partners, your technology, and your firm’s position in the market.

And, whatever you do, don’t be Kodak.

A consultation with a Rapid Legal account executive will change the way you look at litigation support service providers today. Book a demo or schedule a call now.

A Complete Checklist for Selecting a Certified eFiling Service Provider

A Complete Checklist for Selecting a Certified eFiling Service Provider

A Complete Checklist for Selecting a Certified eFiling Service Provider

When interviewing a new electronic filing service provider (EFSP) you want to cut through the hype, collect credible information, and find the best match for your firm. These questions will help in your decision-making process to evaluate any organization that wants to be a preferred vendor for your eFiling services.

Free Download: [Access Checklist Now]

#1: Scope of service

  • How many California counties and courts does the EFSP serve with its court eFiling solution? It is far more productive and cost-effective to use an EFSP that eFiles into all California eFiling courts, not just some.
  • Does the provider offer additional litigation services such as courtesy copy delivery and service of process?
  • Does the EFSP have a well-documented performance and acceptance rate with the courts?


#2: Performance and productivity

  • How many ways does the vendor deploy its eFiling and other litigation support services; through a portal, application programming interface (API) or both?
  • If using the EFSP’s portal, is it user friendly and does it provide instant access to all the eFiling courts?
  • Are court-stamped documents returned quickly and reliably? What about custom reports and analytics?
  • Can the EFSP’s eFiling platform integrate with a law firm’s practice management system? Can the vendor provide interoperability with a law firm’s accounting systems to automate eFiling spend and reconciliation, and reduce manual record keeping?

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

#3: Domain knowledge and court filing expertise

  • How much experience does the EFSP have in the California court system with eFiling and physical court services?
  • What is the provider’s level of expertise and service offerings through its portal with courtesy copy delivery, document retrieval, service of process, and other related services?
  • What customer support options does the provider offer? Is phone, chatbot, and other online options available?


#4: Performance metrics

  • Does the EFSP provide performance metrics such as eFiling turnaround times for the various courts? Other important metrics include eFiling success rates, user behavior, and order data. Ask if they are available for review.
  • Can the provider benchmark its acceptance rates and rejection rates against the rest of the industry?
  • Your staff will perform routine work in submitting each eFiling order. Can the provider explain how that work is distributed across your law firm so you can assess efficiencies and productivity?


#5: References

  • What is the eFiling service provider’s track record and history working with the courts?
  • What do the courts say about this provider? Does it have references from the courts they work with?
  • Does the EFSP have references from any of the courts’ electronic filing managers (EFM) vendors that integrate with the EFSP’s offering? These are companies that provide the actual efiling systems and court case management systems to the courts, so the vendor you select should have excellent relationships with them.


Let’s get started.

Rapid Legal has high marks in all these areas. Interested in evaluating us? Book a demo or create an account today.

Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using

Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using

Technology Your Process Server Should Be Using

When you get right down to it prime rib and pomme fondant are just high-performing meat and potatoes that use technology to live up to their potential. Within the legal profession few things say “meat and potatoes” more than service of process. It may not be sexy but if you wrap service of process around an innovative technology platform it becomes a cost-cutting engine that improves performance on every single order.

If you want this kind of power in your service of process but don’t know where to begin, this article will help you reach your destination.

This is your starting point.

Black’s Law Dictionary offers a colorless definition of service of process that somehow overlooks the utterly ripped engineering muscle behind technology-enabled service of process:

The term for the delivery of a summons, writ or subpoena to the opposing party in a lawsuit.

That definition misses two critical factors that differentiate technology-enabled service of process orders in the present day: Online execution and sharable data.

Online execution singlehandedly pulled service of process into the 21st century for many law firms. This happened when software engineers developed an electronic portal that allows many types of litigation support services to be performed from a single access point.

The portal made service of process more convenient to order and more efficient to track and complete, while extending those same advantages to eFiling, physical court filings, courtesy copy retrieval, document retrieval, skip tracing and more. The portal allows the user to submit, manage, track, and execute each order right from the desktop. It doesn’t change the fact that service of process still has to be effected physically but that’s a story for another day, or article.

5% growth in 3 years

Technology spreads financial optimism. A majority of corporate CIOs surveyed believe digitally empowered employees can drive a revenue increase of 5% over 3 years, according to Forbes Insights.

What are you waiting for?

The technology behind electronically submitted service of process orders is also a boon to long-term law firm strategy because it makes data about process service orders in your vendor’s system shareable with your own systems. As a result, information about billing, court fees, vendor fees, and payments, is available at your fingertips.

If you’re unclear about how sharing this data positively impacts the bottom line, think of it this way: For each case, every transaction receipt and every document can be stored in a law firm’s own system. This means fees and payments can be easily accounted for and reimbursed when the case ends, dramatically collapsing the time needed to reconcile expenses.

A portal also allows the vendor to manage and efficiently track the performance of its affiliate network in executing the serve. This, in turn, builds an extremely high level of accountability felt all along the service of process supply chain.

The portal also creates two other important advantages to improve SOP efficiency: it eliminates paper controls and allows the server to eSign the proof of service.

From a high-level view, vendors that have this portal/technology are typically able to provide superior service because they can further leverage their internal expertise, reduce errors, provide more timely updates, and better prioritize each order. Though the technology behind the portal may be invisible to the law firm, the positive effect it has on the vendor’s performance will be easy to spot in orders that are cost-efficient and have lower rejection rates.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

An early warning system

Sharable data can also be used to create strategic reports. These reports provide detailed views of service of process orders and the vendor’s execution thereof, as well as other order types placed through the portal. At a glance, users can see which types of orders contribute positively to the firm’s bottom line and which types compromise it.

This data allows you to course-correct by setting up cost control measures if needed. Likewise, you can use them to monitor throughput, detect trends, and analyze your firm’s and the vendor’s performance.

Most law firms aren’t equipped to gather this type of business intelligence easily on their own. However, gathering this data from a vendor whose technology allows them to share it is simple, and takes only a fraction of the time and money required for a staff member to develop the same reports in-house.

Here are four examples of how you can use sharable data in your firm’s business strategy:

Service level distribution: Are you paying for the most expensive level of service when the least expensive service meets your needs? Data in this report track process serving orders by service level, so you can analyze the service you’re buying and make sure it’s the service you actually need.

Orders by type: Stop guessing. Find out for certain how and where the greatest volume of your work lies. Is it eFiling, service of process, or something else? Review the data and then decide whether to make adjustments to your firm’s resources or reset customer expectations.

Service of process orders by pricing zone: An easy-to-read pie chart identifies the areas where your service of process orders are being delivered. Use this data to determine how much you’re spending on costly deliveries to remote areas compared to less expensive urban areas. The answer can keep you from losing money on serves done in those outlying areas.

Service of process performance: Clients care about your scoreboard. If you use your success rate with documents served and proofs of service to help sell your firm, these numbers will back you up nicely.


Next-level productivity? Just push play

Most industries adopt technology to improve accuracy or increase efficiency. Law firms can use technology to improve both of those dimensions by managing their online service of process orders with the same ease as orders that require boots on the ground.

It happens like this:

  • A law firm staff member uses the portal to do the physical filing, and in the same workflow creates the service of process. The vendor’s staff—not the law firm staff—manages the dependencies.
  • The vendor staff waits until the conformed copy is returned by the court before dispatching the serve order.
  • The vendor receives the proof, files it, and the SOP is then really complete.

A significant portion of this entire process is shifted to the vendor, which frees up more billable hours among law firm staff. If your firm does a significant volume of work, the amount of time this approach will save tallies up quickly.


Saving time is a common aim for most law firms. The time employees spend on manual processes drops by 17% among firms that make business software available and accessible to its workers.

Technology boosts efficiency.

What you want in a vendor

Using a litigation support services vendor with a great tech stack is an excellent way for law firms to strengthen their performance. To help you start your search on the right foot we’ve put together a few helpful tips.

First, look for a vendor that provides an online portal from which you can manage and measure every litigation support service order you place.

Not just service of process, but eFiling, physical court filing, expert document review, skip tracing, and others.

Second, you’ll want to know your firm’s rejection rate. A good benchmark to measure their performance is to look for a court filing success rate approaching 90%. When you find a vendor that has one or more clients doing more than 1,000 filings a month and a 95% acceptance rate, you’re wise to sit down and have a serious conversation about service of process too.

Get to know eService

When vendors begin to jockey for a coveted position as your preferred vendor, the third thing you should ask about is eService. Not to be confused with the similar term, “electronic service of process,” eService refers to a method of electronically notifying parties about a document that has been filed or submitted.

Here’s an easy way to understand how eService works and the benefits it provides.

Once the primary papers of a case have been served, eService allows all the documents that need to move back and forth between the parties or their counsel to flow electronically. No more couriers or loose papers. Once litigation gets underway, the court simply provides email addresses where documents can be sent, then—using eService notification—a notice is sent to the other party or their counsel.

More law firms are demanding eService because it fits seamlessly with electronic workflows that execute court filings, perform order tracking, provide SOP, and proofs of service from one portal. The automated email notices help make sure critical notifications don’t fall between the cracks. Also, where eFiling is mandatory, eService is also. Parties can agree to use eService in other circumstances.

If you’re still unclear about how to differentiate the crowded field of services that begin with “e,” you can lift the fog by reading Did You Know? eFiling vs. eDelivery and eSubmit are NOT the Same! in only 5 short minutes.

Start your vendor search now.

Build out your interview questions with this article written specifically for legal professionals:

What to Look for When Hiring a Process Serving Company


Partnership + Platform = Possibilities

By default, your vendor’s innovation becomes your innovation, so it’s in your best interest to find a company that uses a best-of-breed technology platform. When you’re interviewing vendors be sure to ask about the platform they use for service of process, and be specific.

For example, you may want a portal that allows you to handle the full spectrum of physical and electronic services, in addition to expert document review and document retrieval. If more than one vendor appears to offer this service, focus on the one that has an established track record of providing timely and accurate services, and has a platform that can integrate with law firm systems to easily enable data sharing.

It’s also in your best interest to use a vendor whose portal is protected by bank grade security and whose technology platform is accepted by the greatest number of courts in California.

If your selection process begins to bog down, narrow your search only to vendors that can create synergies that give both sides a win. To see an example of these synergies in action check out this article on our blog. You’ll discover how a leading law firm and litigation support services vendor lift each to higher levels of performance, simply by taking advantage of a technology platform and thinking creatively. If a vendor can’t provide this type of responsiveness, find one that can.

Set yourself up for service of process success with careful preparation. Understand your own needs, qualify a vendor whose technology meets those needs, and keep in mind that the point of a strategic partnership is not to do all the work yourself, but to know how to get the work done.

Service of process isn’t rocket science, but it is meat and potatoes that the court system can’t live without. Make sure yours is cooked? Prepared? to perfection.

Wheels Still Turning?

Our sales team can help you find more ways to make service of process an efficiency engine for your law firm. Book a demo or schedule a call with a Rapid Legal team member to learn how the full scope of Rapid Legal’s portal capabilities can work for you.