Billy Joel released The Stranger album in 1977, just as I was starting the first grade. It wasn’t until I was in high school that this album truly became one of my favorites, and it remains so decades later. Not least because the varied tracks on it pop up in conversation so frequently.
The best thing a potential client could ever say to me– aside from “shut up and take my money”– is “yeah, we could probably figure this out on our own, but we’d rather get it right the first time.” Cue the soundtrack of my youth.
It’s applicable in Hague Service Convention usage because, even though you might get a second bite at the apple following a curable defect, you may not know there’s a problem until a year or two down the road. That makes for irate clients and grumpy judges.
Of course, it sometimes can’t be helped. Capricious foreign officials sometimes offer pretextual reasons for rejecting Hague Requests. Discrete little details may derail an effort to serve a defendant with no notice– problems that blindside lawyers seemingly out of nowhere.
But a little diligent effort goes a long way. Doing it yourself isn’t always a bad idea– but pretty frequently, you can be blindsided by a seemingly inconsequential detail. In short, get help. Hire somebody to help you.
But practical reality necessitates bringing in some added expertise in many cases. Just as a personal injury lawyer shouldn’t handle her own traffic ticket, or a tax attorney shouldn’t file his own contested divorce, plaintiffs’ counsel of all stripes should be wary of handling overseas service alone. If you don’t hire me, consult some other attorney who does this sort of thing regularly. Your client depends on your wisdom, and that might just mean bringing in some help with a nuanced area of practice.