How an innovative law department recovers subpoena response costs
If you’ve ever processed third-party subpoenas, then you may have run across “Pizza Party Money.” That’s what some companies call the dollar bills that issuers staple to request documents (an amount so small that accounting often doesn’t know what to do with it). Needless to say, the gesture doesn’t begin to cover the cost of collecting and delivering the files being requested—but it does help pay for lunch from time to time.
No practical way to get reimbursed
Prior to Safari, ABC Supply was responding to hundreds of supoenas without getting reimbursed. Even a simple “Run, Fetch-n-Catch” required quite a bit of work. Once they reviewed the served documents and determined what was being requested, they had to track down responsive files either at corporate or one of their 800 branch locations. Next, they checked the content for redactions, and sometimes had to create an affidavit of authenticity or cover letter. That time and effort was rarely compensated—let alone the cost of sending the responsive documents on a flash drive by FedEx.
“I was spending hours responding to subpoenas that were so large—100 pages plus at times—that I had to write a cover letter explaining what’s inside, save them to a jump drive, and send them via FedEx. That’s when we decided something wasn’t right. We were offering all of this free of charge.”
ABC Supply Co. Inc.
ABC Supply Co., Inc. is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing in the United States and one of the nation’s largest distributors of siding, windows and other select exterior and interior building products, tools and related supplies. Since their start in 1982, they’ve grown to become a national organization with 811 locations and other facilities in 49 states.
Safari SOP How an innovative law department recovers subpoena response costs
THE SOLUTIONToday ABC Supply uses Safari to automate cost recovery. We spoke to Rebecca Logeman, a Paralegal at the company about her experience:
How was setting up cost recovery?
“In less than an hour we were up and running with invoice templates for each of our four entities. Our templates include a custom logo, a line-item description, and a pre-configured fee.”
Our accounting department was surprised at first that payments would be coming into our department. Once we explained that we’d be recovering for our time, everyone was excited.
What is billing like with Safari?
“We put a lot of work into responding to subpoenas, and Safari is the perfect tool for recovering our cost.”
Safari works really well. When it’s time to deliver a response, we select a template and it creates the invoice. We usually choose our standard $150 fee (to search up to three databases). If we think it’s going to be more complex, then we’ll negotiate and create a custom invoice. We can also offer a discount (for customers dealing with installers) or choose not to charge at all (for issuers like law enforcement that are going after the bad guys). Everything is simple because it’s pre-configured.
“If documents are not paid for and picked up within the delivery window, then Safari automatically shuts down the portal and alerts us.”
How have issuers reacted?
“Firms understand the work involved in responding and are willing to compensate us for our time. They pay without blinking an eye.”
I think firms appreciate that our responses are quick and easy to access. Safari sends an email notification indicating: “Your documents are ready, click here to pay and download them."
What do your colleagues think?
“We’ve had a very positive reaction in-house. All of the branches, departments, and accounting people that I work with think Safari is a great tool.”
The team sees all the blood, sweat, and tears that I put into my subpoena work. It’s nice to know that we’re being compensated now.
“With Safari’s cost recovery features, we’re collecting more in one month than we did in the past 16 years.”
Associate General Counsel,
Associate General Counsel,