Interview with Eric Voogt, Executive Director of PROOF
Eric Voogt is founder and executive director of Process Server Technology, LLC dba PROOF as well as a shareholder at Glade Voogt Lord Smith, PC. With more than two decades of legal experience, his expertise includes commercial and business litigation, environmental litigation, construction litigation, insurance coverage litigation, real estate litigation, environmental compliance counseling, toxic torts and water pollution, and property damage cases.
Voogt is a graduate of Kansas State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering. He attended law school at the University of Kansas where he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class and served on the Kansas Law Review.
As a partner at a successful law practice and an early adopter of technology throughout his career, for many years Voogt thought about how service-of-process could be streamlined using technology. Frustrated by an outdated and inefficient system that meant paralegals calling, faxing and waiting to confirm whether or not documents were delivered, Voogt combined his legal expertise with technological savvy to create the “Uber of process serve technology.” Together with 303 Software, a leading Denver-based software development company, PROOF was born as the world's first on-demand service-of-process platform.
Q: What is the primary mission of PROOF?
A: Let’s start with some background and a few key points about the market. Constitutional due process requires the handing or “serving” of documents to each defendant prior to the start of a lawsuit; the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the serving of such legal papers is the level of notice required to meet due process and provide defendants the opportunity to defend a subpoena.
- Nationwide, close to 20 million civil lawsuits are filed each year, ranging from courts covering small claims, county, district, administrative, and federal levels.
- With an average of 2 serves per defendant, those cases alone generate at least 40 million subpoenas needing to be served. That makes process serving a growing $3.6 billion a year industry nationally.
- Local numbers suggest $34 million is spent annually on serving papers in the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs and north to Fort Collins.
PROOF’s mission is to disrupt the service of process industry with our technology by providing an on-demand service of process platform that enables legal professionals to create serve requests 24/7, receive alerts that track the progress of their serves, allow them to communicate with the server and electronically receive completed /notarized affidavits verified with geolocation and photographs.
Our vision is to revolutionize this industry using our cutting-edge technology for all legal professionals so that connecting with a process server is as easy as requesting a car from Uber.
Q: What makes PROOF unique?
A: Several elements are at play. First, PROOF empowers legal professionals to provide a higher level of service to their clients by infusing speed, transparency and verification into the process of serving legal documents. Our platform changes the status quo where a law firm calls a middle man who then calls a process server, waits for a call back and gets little to no updates on the status of their serve. PROOF instantly connects law firms with a trained, qualified process server, provides live updates on each serve attempt, direct contact with the server and verifies each attempt with GEO location technology. Having direct communication between the legal professional and PROOF server increases the chances for a successful serve and the speed at which job is done. Upon completion, the server provides a geo- located and date/time stamped affidavit back to the law firm via our web platform.
Secondly, as a result of our verified affidavits with geolocation of each serve attempt, there is much less chance of a serve being challenged in court, which expedites cases through the judicial system more efficiently, saving both time and money for clients and the firms who represent them. Lawsuits are extremely expensive, and this solution helps keep those costs from escalating.
Thirdly, PROOF’s pay structure is designed to motivate servers for success. We offer a solid base pay and a generous “bounty” earned for the successful completion of a serve. This is a pay structure not seen in the service of process industry that helps ensure best efforts are made on each serve.
Lastly, we’re using technology to enhance jobs for people currently working in the gig economy and those who want to be a part of it. One third of workers are now employed in the gig economy and that number is growing. Process servers are engaged as contractors via this platform, which offers them the freedom of working on their own schedule –with accountability and performance incentives built in.
Q: Why hasn't this been done before?
A: Although there are between 4,000-5,000 process serving companies in the market, none of them has spent the time, energy or money needed to develop a technology that has elevated this industry like PROOF has. Of the 30,000 servers in the industry nationwide, there is no national brand and the majority of servers currently work through an intermediary to obtain jobs. Building this technology is a complicated and huge undertaking, which is why there are no platforms like this – users can create serve requests and upload documents via a web platform, get real-time updates, see GPS tracking of each serve attempt and then electronically receive a notarized affidavit upon completion of the serve.
As technology continues to change the world around us, we saw the legal profession as an industry ripe for disruption and we were the first to design a better way.
Q: What are the biggest benefits of using PROOF?
A: PROOF empowers the legal professional to create a serve request on-demand. Our technology eliminates waiting for the middle man, and offers total transparency throughout the serve with updates/notifications, GPS location and pictures of each serve. Ultimately, PROOF provides a stronger more verifiable affidavit for the law firm to take to court.
Additionally, there are benefits for servers to work as a contractor with PROOF, we incentivize our servers to be successful with a large “bounty” payment upon successful completion of each job.
Q: Are you planning to take PROOF beyond Colorado?
A: Yes. During our Colorado launch, we have established client relationships with 30+ law firms throughout the state and have on-boarded a large pool of experienced servers. We have recently expanded into Wyoming and will continue expanding into other western U.S. markets by the end of this year with the plan to build a national brand.
PROOF FEATURED ON FRONT PAGE OF DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL: http://bizj.us/1pmkr5
PROOF Launches World’s First On-Demand Process Service Platform for Legal Professionals
APRIL 5, 2018, DENVER, CO – Process Server Technology, LLC (www.proofserve.com) recently launched PROOF, a web-based dashboard and mobile app that instantly connects law firms with independent process servers. PROOF’s platform provides expedited service of process delivery for law firms and pro se plaintiffs through a web-based dashboard and smartphone app.
PROOF is the brainchild of co-founder and attorney Eric Voogt. As a partner at a successful law practice and an early adopter of technology, for many years he thought about how service-of-process could be streamlined. Voogt knew there had to be a way to connect with trained process servers without going through an intermediary, in the same way he could promptly request a pickup from an Uber driver. So together with 303 Software, a leading software development company, PROOF was born.
“We are excited to be the world's first on-demand service-of-process platform with real-time tracking. Our vision is to revolutionize the process service industry using this cutting-edge technology for law firms, legal assistants and paralegals,” says Voogt.
Among the many innovative features are electronic time and date stamped verification that a “serve” was completed successfully, email notification upon each serve attempt, direct contact with a server throughout the process, and a notarized affidavit from the server. In addition, delivery can be tracked in real-time from a desktop computer to know exactly when and where service was completed. There are no up-front costs, and the first serve for law firms is free. In addition, paralegals and others using process servers through PROOF will be able to rate the service and provide feedback.
Clients using the service are able to upload documents, including case information and a description of the person being served, into a web based dashboard (there is no software to install) and instantly connect to an experienced process server. Process servers can then accept serve assignments through the app and pick up documents at any FedEx Office in the US. Serves are tracked in real time using Geo-location technology and the server’s affidavit is populated with data from each attempt.
Servers participating on the platform will use the PROOF app to easily locate and secure jobs. They will be pre-screened by PROOF to ensure they meet minimum requirements, which include a background and driving record check, and will also be required to complete a mandatory training session. Once they begin working with the PROOF app, process servers will be able to select jobs based on proximity and request printing of document to be served from the closest FedEx at no cost to the server.
Proof has also brought innovation to the current pay structure of the service of process industry by offering its servers a base pay and then the opportunity to earn a large bounty or bonus paid upon successful delivery of the legal documents.
PROOF has already developed client relationships with several law firms up and down the front range of Colorado. PROOF has also onboarded a large pool of experienced servers. With the Company’s Colorado launch a success, the Company is planning launches in other Western US markets in the coming months.
More information about PROOF can be found at: https://www.proofserve.com
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