7 Key Questions
Growing organizations need to scale their tools and methods for handling service of process (SOP). A staggering number of organizations don’t learn this lesson until it’s too late, and they usually learn in one of the most expensive ways possible—default judgments.
In this recorded webinar, CSC® will share best practices and what you should be thinking about when evaluating whether your processes are built to last or primed for failure.
CSC has been in the registered agent business for more than 120 years, and we have seen what it takes for organizations of all sizes to mature their processes to meet the increasing service of process volumes and complexities that come along with running a thriving company.
In this presentation, we’ll discuss how CSC can help you:
- Identify critical resources and tools
- Streamline and unify your intake processes
- Develop a solution that includes sufficient controls and oversight
- Provide a better return on investment if you currently pay fees for excess SOP
Disclaimer: Please be advised that this recorded webinar has been edited from its original format, which may have included a product demo. To set up a live demo or to request more information, please complete the form to the right, or if you are currently not on CSC Global, there is a link to the website in the description of this video. Thank you.
James: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Service of Process Health Check, 7 Key Questions." My name is James Weir, and I will be your moderator. Joining us today, are Paul Mathews and David Jefferis. Paul is a senior service manager at CSC. In this role, he leads CSC's litigation management operations team, the team responsible for handling all service of process received by CSC. David is a market manager and senior sales engineer for compliance and governance services. At CSC, with over 12 years, he has significant experience providing training, implementation, and consultative services. And with that, let's welcome Paul and David.
David: Great. Thank you, James.
Paul: Thank you.
David: We're very excited to be here, and we thank our audience for joining us for today's webinar. So we have a full hour, but we probably have at least that much worth of content. So we want to kind of jump right in, and we'll start with our agenda. This is what we intend to cover as a part of the webinar. Certainly, as James mentioned, you can ask questions along the way using the Q&A feature of the web conferencing platform. We'll try to maybe address some of those as we go, but might need to sort of save some of those for the tail end of today's presentation.
So we're going to start with what we're calling the basics. We want to define service and process. You're going to hear the term SOP quite a lot today. So we want to make sure that we're all on the same page. Describe the role of a registered agent in terms of their relationship to SOP.
We'll talk about some of the common problems that many organizations face as they deal with a high volume of SOP. And then really the core or the meat of the presentation or what we're calling these seven key questions that we want you to effectively ask yourself as you take a look at your current methodology and process for handling SOP.
We'll then talk about what we call our complexity continuum. And then towards the very tail end, we'll make sure that we have some time for a demonstration of CSC's SOP manager application. And then again, as I noted, a little bit of Q&A at the tail end. So that's what we, again, intend to cover as a part of today's presentation.
So at this point, I'm going to turn things over to my esteemed colleague, Paul, who's going to walk us through some of the basics, just kind of lay the framework for our webinar today.
Paul: Thank you, David. So, as David described, we do want to just kind of set some baseline parameters in terms of what we're referring to when we use certain terms today. So we'll start with service of process. So you'll also hear us refer to that as SOP. So there's a very strict textbook definition of this where it's a notice to a party of a commencement of a legal action. And certainly, that applies everything we're saying today, but we're also going to be thinking of it in a broader sense, a more practical sense.
As likely, all of our audience members today are aware, service of process also includes things such as garnishment, subpoenas, bankruptcies, foreclosure filings, a whole range of other legal notices that come through the court system and agencies where our customers either are a party to those actions or have a responsibility to provide some information or response.
And then the other term that you'll hear a lot today is a registered agent. And, you know, what we refer to there is basically a third party that you've designated in jurisdictions where you do business that maybe don't have a physical presence, or you do have a physical presence but you want to concentrate all of your services of process receipts through a single delivery point so that registered agent can access that in that capacity, and in that capacity they'll also receive other critical notifications from the jurisdiction for compliance and annual reports and things along those lines.
Now that we've got some of those basic elements identified and defined, we're going to talk about some of the common problems. So as we go through the health check today, this is really the backdrop for that. These are the types of issues that organizations are dealing with, and these are the things that basically create the reason why you need to be thoughtful about your processes.
So we'll start with organizational changes. So this can be anything from consolidation to mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, redefining business units within your organization with any or all of those. There is an impact on how you handle service of process, who's responsible for which pieces of it. So, again, as those changes happen, you have to constantly evaluate whether your current practices still fit based on your present day needs or your future state needs.
In addition to that, we'll talk about the impact of manual processes. So, a lot of times manual processes has a negative connotation to it. And what I would, I guess, add on to that is manual processes are bad when they're unnecessary. And in some cases, manual processes have real value to them. There's a nuance that really needs to be evaluated by a person with a specific set of knowledge. Where you have manual processes that are not necessary, where they're just sort of the way you've always done things, that to me is where there's an opportunity for reviewing those practices and seeing if there's efficiencies you can get to either through just streamlining those processes, finding opportunities for automation, and things along those lines.
Another thing that a lot of legal teams have to deal with is that they are sort of in the unenviable position of increasing costs because of the expansion of different risk profiles and things like that, sometimes caused by those organizational changes, but they're also under budget scrutiny. So with limited budgets, legal teams are expected to do everything they've always done plus a whole slate of new things. And so one of the things that you should always be thinking about is how do you spend your money most effectively to deliver across all of those various needs.
The next thing we'll look at are, you know, just sort of the . . . in the context of what a legal team is faced with every day, they are, you know, they're getting questions from people inside their organization, they're dealing with documents coming from outside the organization, they're doing 100 different things, and having the ability to kind of focus on what's most important is often a real challenge for organizations. And so, again, having tools and practices that help raise that most important stuff up above that noise, that's another critical thing we'll talk about today.
The next item we have on there is, you know, the notion of having a single source of truth. So being able to consolidate all of your data and documents into a single system of record where everything you are trying to do and manage can be found in one place, can be found easily so that you're not spending a lot of time just sifting through things, trying to find what's most important.
And then the natural sort of impact of potentially not handling some of these other things well is the inherent risk of things just falling through the cracks. So while you're trying to deal with those changes, while you're trying to find the most critical things, are there other things that are just, you know, below the surface that you don't have a set of eyes on, you don't have ownership on. And as a result, you're dealing with some of the negative consequences. So the most substantial of those would be things like default judgements or other avoidable unnecessary risks. So, again, these are the kind of set of problems that you should have in mind as you evaluate the seven questions that we'll walk through today.
David: And I think what we commonly hear, Paul, is that a lot of organizations have some, or in some cases, all of these challenges. And so, with that, let's actually jump into the first of our health check questions. And this is one that I'll take. And Paul and I will sort of go back and forth on some of these. So the first one deals with this concept of excess service of process. And so I imagine there are folks in the audience that are familiar with this term, although they'd rather not be, but there could certainly be individuals in the audience that maybe are not as familiar with this terminology. So this requires a little bit of education. So I'm happy to play the role of teacher here and explain, you know, what this term really means.
So in the registered agent world, in our space, there's this concept of what's called a unit of representation. And that really is best described as an entity doing business in a state. So if you had one entity in 10 states, we would say, "That's 10 units of representation." If you had two companies, both in 10 states, we'd say, "Well, that's 20 units of representation." And so the idea here is that commonly, and certainly there's different arrangements, but commonly an organization has what's known as an allotment of SOP, the maximum that they are able to receive under their sort of standard pricing agreement of two times their number of units. So, again, going back to a simple example of an organization with a single entity in 10 states, that'd be 10 units, their allotment would likely be 20 SOP within that calendar year. And if they were to hit SOP number 21 and beyond, they would likely start incurring some sort of a penalty, which is often called excess SOP.
So for those in the audience that are familiar with this, that experienced this or maybe are trending towards falling into an excess situation, really one of the key questions is what are you getting for that spend? Is the registered agent providing any sort of value, any sort of technology to help you manage the high volume of SOP and litigation that you're dealing with, or is it simply nothing more than a financial penalty? So really something to think through.
The second question deals with really the manual process challenge that a lot of our audience had sort of shared and have copped to and said, "Yes, this is something that we're dealing with." And so it is very common when we speak with perspective clients that they tell us that their SOP process is very manual, where they often have a traffic cop, sort of a gatekeeper that is responsible at the front end for receiving SOP documents, and then making decisions ultimately on where do these documents need to go, and that might be getting in the hands of other individuals. Classic examples would be getting a garnishment to an HR payroll colleague, or maybe a subpoena goes to a different team within the organization that deals with that type of SOP, but again, doing this in a very manual fashion.
It's also quite possible that those documents not only need to go to other people within or outside of your organization, but maybe they need to go into different systems. And I'm not going to steal Paul's thunder because this is a question that we'll talk about a little bit later on in the webinar. But certainly, you want to think about not only potentially automating the distribution of SOP notifications and documents to colleagues when they come in automatically, which can be done on a number of criteria, but you also want to put some thought to maybe feeding SOP documents into other platforms and other systems as well. So with that, we're going to segue on into question number three, which Paul is going to take us through.
Paul: Yeah, so what we're going to talk about next is the notion of, do you have the proper controls in place to make sure you're getting all your documents and that all those documents are being handled? So, for me, this always starts right at the outset is, you know, how are you finding out about service of process. Are you getting, you know, automated notifications that are close to time with the receipt of those documents? So, again, giving you the earliest possible warning that the document's coming. Ideally, those notifications also include some baseline information about the documents. You can assess, is this a high priority or low priority, do I need to take immediate action, or can this kind of fall into sort of the normal, you know, first in, first out kind of process? Within that notification, ideally, you're also able to go directly to the underlying documents, so, you know, being able to go from the summary baseline data into the full contents of the documents so that you can take action as quickly as you need to.
Once you've got that notification, you know, it gets into some of what David was just talking about that you're making sure things are routed, you know, automatically to the people who need to take action on them, making sure they have access to those documents. And then once they're in that process and out there being handled by different people within your legal team or your organization at large, do you still have line of sight to them? Can you tell, you know, who has control of that specific document, who's taking action on it and whether that action has been taken and whether it's been taken timely? So really, a little bit of policing of your process as well.
And then, you know, being able to make sure that you have accountability. So, again, having that line of sight, but also being able to have some basic features like, you know, being able to acknowledge receipt of documents. So, again, there's some record of who's taken responsibility there and then, you know, who you can follow up with, you know, relative to the outcomes for that document. That's usually the sort of baseline requirement for any organization is that they've got at least that basic accountability and traceability.
For more complex organizations, that may actually extend into something a little deeper. It's more of a task-driven workflow where it's, you know, it's not binary, where either it's documents handled or not, but I want to be able to see the individual stages of the handling of that document. So if there's many things that have to happen, what things have happened, which things have not happened. So, again, having line of sight to that thing and ideally being able to surface that up, not by going document by document, but being able to pull that up into reporting and other aggregation tools.
David: Now, you're going to steal my thunder, Paul, because I'm going to talk about reporting a little bit, but I'll let that slide.
Paul: Thanks, David.
David: And have you talk about question number four.
Paul: Thank you for letting me slide there. So, again, what we're going to talk about next is what we talked about is one of the core problems that some organizations have, which is whether they have a single system of record. So, again, it's one thing to kind of have a defined workflow and that's important, but being able to refer back to things and knowing that you've got everything in one place so that you can do that quickly and easily. You know, that usually means you need to have some sort of shared tool or technology.
You know, within that tool or technology, you want to, again, I referenced it to the notion of a baseline set of data. You want to have some common data points that you capture for every document so that if you want to do searching and reporting, you at least know, you know, some of the attributes that you can expect to find. And that's really critical to being able to locate those documents, you know, when you need to.
And then, you know, once you start to get everything into a single system, the next critical need is making sure that people only have access to as much as they need to have access to, that kind of cuts two ways. On the one hand, you want to give each person the most focused set of information as possible so that they're not having to sort through things that are irrelevant to them. But the other thing is, you know, in a legal context, often documents have some sensitivity to them. You don't necessarily want everyone who can see any part of your service of process catalog to be able to see every piece of service of process. So looking for tools that allow you to customize those access controls and make sure that people only see as much as they should or need to, those are typically critical things to layer in once you've got that, you know, everything in one place.
David: So, Paul, I got a couple of questions for you on this topic of that single repository or a single source of truth. So at the outset of the demonstration, we were talking about the foundation, the basics of, you know, what does a registered agent do? And they're that address of record for the organization for the receipt of service of process. Yet, it doesn't seem like all SOP is always flowing through the registered agent. Can you kind of talk us through kind of the reality of the fact that there could be multiple channels in terms of how things come in?
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. You know, so the CSC acts as a registered agent, and so in a perfect world, we'd like to be able to tell our customers that [name is the 00:16:00] agent and everything is solved and everything comes through one place, nice and cleanly. But the reality is much different than that. Almost every jurisdiction allows for service of process, both through the registered agent and by other methods, whether that's through officers and directors, through the corporate office, you know, through other representatives and agents of the company. So there are always going to be some documents that fall outside of that workflow that you've tried to establish. And while you can get your organization to get in line with a workflow, it's hard to get the outside world to always go along with that.
So what you want to have in that case is the ability to work with your registered agent provider to establish some practices that you can kind of get out to your, you know, people out in the field, whether that's in retail spaces or branch offices. You know, they're not going to receive service of process every day, but if and when those documents show up at their office, you want to have already primed them with the information they need to identify, "Hey, this is service of process, and this is what I need to do when I received this." That way, they don't have to try to get that answer in real time.
Some of the most substantial delays that any of our customers deal with are when, you know, things show up at a place that wasn't prepared to receive it, and they've got to, you know, at best, try to make sure that that eventually gets to the legal team. You know, when you've kind of prepared for that ahead of time, not only would that get to the legal team, but it'll come in in the same fashion you planned for everything else, and you can, again, have much more confidence that there are . . . again, you're not falling into that trap of things that are just falling through the cracks.
David: And that's helpful. And then the other thing that you touched on here is, like, the concept of access controls, being able to limit individuals to certain types of documents. You've also certainly talked, I think, about the concept of, you know, the all-powerful user, they can log in and see everything. Have you had clients that have said, "Well, you know, I'm somewhere in the middle where, you know, I want to be able to see everything, but please don't notify me when there's a garnishment because I don't deal with it, and I want to be able to kind of filter that stuff out of my view," that sort of thing?
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. The way we handle that in our solutions is to make sure that users can configure those types of things so they can figure out what level of access is necessary for each user, what subset of documents are critical to them and their workflow, which ones shouldn't show up in front of them ever. And our tools allow you to kind of set rules and automated routing and permissioning so that that stuff happens, just as documents come through, those permissions are set up, those rules are in place. And again, it's really about making sure everyone has just enough access to do the job they need to do.
David: Perfect. So we're going to move on into question number five, which really, pardon me, is all about searching. And so a good registered agent when they receive the physical documents on behalf of your organization is going to scan those documents that they're made searchable. So that not only would you be able to open up an individual SOP document and plug in, let's say a name or a word or phrase and see if that information is present in the document, but really you would want to have that capability across all of your documents, which could be over time hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands theoretically over time, you want to make sure that you can quickly pop in, plug in some sort of a key word and find that information within the document.
Additionally, what you may also prefer is not just the opportunity to search for content within the documents, but maybe having the ability to tag documents to sort of create your own fields. People like the term metadata, where you're associating some additional information with documents. Ultimately, if you're able to do something of that nature, you'd want that content to be searchable as well.
Again, we're coming back to this concept of controlled access, but really think about it as a sort of filtering, again, not only controlling who sees what documents, but just as we just described, the ability to quickly get in and have views of your SOP that is meaningful to you. So if you're someone that deals with the subpoenas, if I'm not already limited exclusively to subpoenas, let me click a button and see that subset of documents within the vendor's technology. So these are all critical things. When I think about searching, I really think about it in the context of trying to find sort of a single thing, maybe a single document.
When we talk about question number 6, really, now we're talking about reporting, which in my mind is sort of the aggregation of information. And so a couple of things that you should think through, which may be you have these tools in your toolbelt. Today, maybe you don't from your current provider, but really the ability to, on the fly, create reports. So to find a query and then have the system in real time search for information that matches that criteria so that you can get some understanding of maybe some trends and just some basic oversight of litigation and SOP within your technology. Not only might you want the ability to create those queries on the fly, but perhaps you would want to be able to schedule reports as well. So maybe on a weekly basis or monthly or quarterly interval, you can have reports that are coming to you and colleagues that, again, provide that oversight in a more automated fashion.
And then we have this is the third bullet point, but it could easily be the first bullet point, making sure that all of the information within your SOP technology is reportable. If you can't report against all of the document information, that perhaps matter level information, then the reporting module starts to fall apart very quickly in terms of its value. So you'd want to make sure that, again, all of the information within the technology, which can include fields that are populated by your registered agent, maybe you would have the authority as an admin to capture some of your own data points as well in a collaborative platform. Again, making sure that all that information is reportable.
Paul: David, before we jump ahead to the next question, I think it would be helpful to talk a little bit about, you know, not just the ability to do those kind of searching and reporting things, but also having sort of multiple types of searches available within the application. So I know that some of our customers have, you know, a familiarity with using very advanced search tools and so, you know, they want to be able to search using really complex queries and things like that. But I think the more average experience for users, they want it to be simple, they want it to be like going to Google and just, you know, doing kind of basic keyword searches. So can you talk a little bit about sort of how we blend those kinds of features into our applications?
David: Sure. I can talk about it, and I think you probably know it very well also. So, certainly, there's the ability as Paul described to do that sort of basic Google searching, where I want to plug in a word, a name, or phrase, just a couple of words and just have the application look within my SOP documents to see if there's any matches for the word or phrase that I'm looking for. But certainly, we do give folks the ability to do things that are a little bit more advanced, where you can instead of maybe just searching within documents, you can sort of point the search to other parts of the database, maybe you're interested in looking at matter level information or notes that you've captured within the solution. And so we do give our clients some tools to be able to either keep things simple or gets this sort of that next level of sophistication with their searches as needed.
Paul: Yeah, and I think that's what I was hoping we would kind of get to is just that notion that we want to kind of have tools and features that work kind of regardless of the level of sophistication for an individual user, like, no one should be kept out of information just because they don't know how to use a tool or a tool is not intuitive enough for them to use. So with that we're going to jump over to the last of our health check questions. And this is something that David alluded to a little bit earlier, and it's really the notion of how do you connect the data in documents from your service of process solution with other sources of data or other workspaces within your organization. So this is really a question about, you know, the capabilities of integration.
So, you know, we talk a lot about, you know, instances where you've got multiple types of teams that are potentially on the receiving end of service of process. So one of the most common examples we run into are situations where we're talking about, you know, an organization that received lots of garnishments and those get handled either by the payroll team or maybe even a third-party payroll vendor. And, you know, that can create a lot of noise for the legal team that's just trying to find, you know, in that haystack, the handful of things that are, you know, critical litigation that needs their immediate attention. So, obviously, we can do things to route and separate those things within our solution.
But the other part of that is not everyone necessarily needs to or wants to work within a service of process solution. They may already have a lot of other data and processes available to them in some downstream applications. And so what's critical is being able to kind of take that information that's funneled through service of process and get that into those other downstream systems.
So, again, if I'm working on a payroll team, I've got all this information about, you know, our employees and their payroll and other things that are happening with that employee, but that's not sitting in my service of process solution. So I don't want to have to go there to handle those documents. So one of the things, and this is where I'm going to just go into full plugging our technology mode, one of the things that we've built in the last couple of years is a really powerful integration tool. And we built it so that it can integrate with really any downstream application. You know, and the idea there is we want to be able to place documents as far into our customer's workflows as it's possible to do and as far as into their workloads as it makes sense to do. And we want to do that in a way that doesn't require them to spend a lot of time, capital, and technology resources that often legal teams don't have at their, you know, at their command.
We want to make sure that they don't need to kind of spend a lot there in order to be able to take advantage of that. So we built our solution so that it's very agnostic to what the downstream tools are and also in a way that it's very easy to connect the data and documents from our system with those downstream tools. So, again, it's important to kind of think about where in your organization you could be taking advantage of those things, or where in your organization you haven't been able to because either our current provider doesn't allow for that or it's just never been a topic of discussion.
David: Before we get into the demo, which we're excited to do kind of an abbreviated demo of our SOP manager application, I think it's really helpful for Paul to take us through what we call our complexity continuum. And maybe as Paul's describing this, you can kind of think through maybe where you sit in the spectrum.
Paul: Yeah, so, you know, as we kind of framed up the questions in our health check, you know, we frame those around the types of questions we ask if we're sort of onboarding new customers to get an understanding of kind of where they sit. And generally, we're trying to place them along this specific continuum. So as we kind of look at this from left to right, what it starts with is really building a foundation from which you can kind of evolve and refine your process.
So things that are important early on as you're sort of establishing that, again, picking a system of record, making sure that you're not placing your information and, you know, sometimes dozens of applications or some things that don't quite make it up to the level of applications, a lot of spreadsheets being used to manage some very important information out there in the world. And that's almost never the right choice to do that.
You know, making sure that your system of record can hold not only the data but also the information. So right there, that's where the spreadsheet falls apart, not a very good document repository.
Making sure that, again, as we talked about it earlier, you kind of understand what your baseline data is. What are the four or five things you want to be able to know about every document that you handle or every matter that you're handling?
And then, you know, establishing some high level routing and getting away from that notion of using a traffic cop. You know, again, as we talked about, there's nothing wrong with someone manually routing things where that person has some unique perspective or experience that lets them do that. But if every time a document from a certain state comes in and goes to the same place or every time a garnishment comes in and goes to the same place, you don't need a person to do that. So let your toolings and your solution, you know, work for you in those cases.
And then just some basic high level workflow elements like notification when new documents come in and then an acknowledgement processes keeping track of who's handling each thing.
So if we move right on this, now that you've got a sort of a foundational piece in place, you can really start to do a little bit more. So maybe you look at your routing and say, "You know, right now, we're just separating garnishments and everything else, we can go deeper than that." You know, we know that, you know, either within our garnishment team, you know, they work a certain way, so maybe they handle certain jurisdictions, certain entities, start routing your documents according to that.
Within the litigation space, you know, that's not a one size fits all world either, so maybe you've got people who are focused on breach of warranty cases. Maybe there's a certain subset of documents that you know are going to get put in the hands of outside counsel, and you kind of have well-established patterns there. Use your tooling to do that, make sure that you're not, you know, leaving a manual step in place that doesn't need to be there. If everything of a certain type always goes the same direction, there's no reason you can't build rules and automation around that.
Now, beyond that, now that we've got everything in one place, you can start to leverage that as an opportunity for oversight. So, again, making sure you don't have things falling through the cracks, making sure you've got everything accounted for and, you know, and that your team understands that they've got accountability once they take a document, and that you have visibility to who did that and when they've done that. And then you can really start to make sure your processes are not only well defined and established, but followed consistently. Now that you've got everything in the same place, you really have opened up the world of searching and reporting. So everything's at your fingertips, it's just a matter of figuring out how best to access that.
As we move into the third section here, again, we continue to build on those things. And you know, one thing I'll kind of pause for a second, it's important to understand that you shouldn't try to run right at the right side of this continuum. There's a reason that we present this in sort of stages and, you know, you want to find the right balance of improvement and refinements, but not so much change that you introduce chaos into your process.
When you try to change too much, too fast, but almost always make things worse. So it's sort of a controlled, consumable amount of change. And that's not the same for every organization. You've got to sort of assess at what pace your organization can handle change. And sometimes you have to change things because, you know, something's on fire, but most times you have the ability to kind of plan and do that in a way that's controlled and, you know, likely to give you the results you're looking for.
So jumping back in, you know, the third stage, you've got a good foundation, you're starting to be able to use and access your information better, you've got good controls in place to make sure people are handling things. Now, you can look at, you know, sort of how can we refine this, you know, what other information might we want to combine with what's coming across from our registered agent provider with, you know, what's already sitting in our service of process systems?
So maybe you add some custom data that helps you, you know, further categorize or define certain types of documents. And you know, the more you do that in the right ways, the more you can kind of find new realizations about where you have risks that you weren't previously aware.
We've worked with one customer who as they started to kind of like getting to this stage of the process, they started just capturing some basic information about region, you know, that's sort of the process related to. And what they were able to identify is that they had a statistical anomaly, should have tried that word, anomaly, where they were seeing far more cases of employment discrimination claims in one location than anywhere else in their network. And so what they realized is that there is probably a foundational problem with some of the leadership and the training in those offices. And so they were able to kind of identify that and from there, you know, put together a strategy to try to address it. And I think that's all any legal team really wants to do is be able to find those sort of flashpoints for risk and be able to address them and move on from them.
So as we get into the very last stage, this is really, again, have it listed up there. It's a finely tuned engine. This is where you're doing all the right things. Now, you're trying to see what opportunity you have to, you know, really refine these processes just to the, you know, the finest points. So you're looking at, you know, where are your opportunities to take the information and processes that you're using within your legal team and use those as collaboration points with either outside counsel or your business partners throughout your organization, and you're also looking to do that through integration opportunities. Again, as we talked about before, you know, where else could this data be useful? Where else do people need access to these documents? You know, maybe you don't want all of those people in your service of process system, but that doesn't mean you can't share that information and work with them, you know, through those integration possibilities that we've talked about.
David: And as we start to segue into the full on plug for our SOP manager application, which we're going to dive into, I mean, we really do feel that it can meet the needs of folks on real in any part of the continuum that Paul just walked us through it. And it's kind of interesting, Paul, to hear you talk about that change management example. And I recently attended a legal operations conference and really part and parcel to adopting technology is doing it at a pace that your organization can sort of absorb and benefit from. And so I think it's insightful to hear you mentioned that as well.
Paul: Yeah, and again, it's very specific to an organization. You've got to kind of know your people, know your culture and then, you know, based on that, make the right choices as far as how much you change, how quickly.
Yeah, so we've talked a lot about process and we've talked a lot about, you know, technology solutions and kind of how you partner those things together, but the other partner that, again, we really feel is critical to this is, you know, who are you putting on the front lines? You know, who is your sort of conduit to the people who are sending the documents in? And so for most organizations that are doing business in multiple jurisdictions, that's going to be a registered agent service provider, like the commercial agents that can kind of service their needs across the country.
And so it's a really important choice. It's really easy to kind of think of, you know, registered agent as almost a commodity where, you know, let's just figure out how inexpensively we can, you know, service this need. But I think what we see time and time again is when people make the wrong choices here, or they don't make careful choices here, they end up with providers that in some way disadvantage them.
And so what you want to really look for in a service provider at the registered agent level is you want someone who has, you know, the things they have up on screen here, you want someone who's been doing this for a while, you want someone who kind of knows the terrain and has encountered most of the problems, has worked through and solved problems with a range of customers of different sizes, different industries, you want someone who's been able to deliver quality over a long period of time. So, you know, looking for that notion of consistency.
And again, you're putting this provider on the front lines. They're the ones who are basically your, you know, your hand out to the world. So it's important for this to be someone that will handle your information securely, who you can trust, both understands your needs and the importance of the documents you're handling, but also someone you can trust with the data that they're collecting through this process. So I think it's important to make sure that all of those things are considerations as you're kind of assessing that need.
David: And those are all great points. And I want to hone in on that example or that bullet point of experience. And so, Paul, I mentioned recently that
I was at a conference just this past week, and on a panel talking really about subsidiary governance. But one of the providers made note of the fact that in their words, they have built a registered agent business from the ground up three years ago. And so in my mind, I wonder if they're kind of learning on the fly. And, Paul, maybe if you could talk a little bit about this, I find this quite interesting, sort of our decades and centuries of experience in this realm and how we have sort of forecasting to know the different types of years that are going to be more heavy for volume of SOP and then make sure we're staffed accordingly.
Paul: Yeah. So I think there's, you know, kind of thinking back to that same notion of a complexity continuum, you know, I think there's one for registered agent too. So I think, you know, when you talk about a provider who's only three years into this, they're just getting started. They're still building their foundation. They certainly don't know all of the potential challenges that they're going to encounter. They've never had to deal with, you know, volumes growing quickly and unexpectedly, and like you said, being able to scale to meet that need.
And, you know, there's a lot of ways to treat this process very casually and those all end badly. So you want someone who's been very thoughtful about their processes, who put all the right controls in at every level, who is not just a sort of loosely affiliated set of, you know, providers throughout the network.
You know, I can speak to our network. We've worked with, you know, where we don't have CSC offices specifically, we've worked with the same providers for years and we make sure that they understand all of the same . . . they use all the same processes, the same software, the same equipment. No matter where documents come into our process, they're going through the same steps, going through the same equipment. You know, so we have a uniform process that happens. So what you get at the other end of that is you get a consistent, predictable product. And I think that's probably more than anything what you need in a registered agent.