What is “record retrieval” services in the litigation support industry?

What is “record retrieval” services in the litigation support industry?

Across the country, litigators carry on their tasks of gathering evidence for civil litigation in a wide variety of ways depending upon the states’ rules of civil procedure and the regional area customs regarding this very tedious task; record retrieval.

Record retrieval or records procurement as some may call it is the collection of records from a custodian, company, government agency, medical provider, etc. for the purpose of gathering evidence in civil litigation for trial purposes. During the discovery phase of a civil cause of action, the plaintiff and defense have the right as well as the duty to their client to ask for certain documents or what we are calling “records” for the case they are either defending or pursuing for their client.

Litigation is truly a compiling of a great wealth of information in order for any prudent firm and/or attorney to properly represent their client. Every claimant and every defendant feel they are either being wronged or pursuing justice in their own eyes. The litigators have the duty to follow every possible lead and leave no stone unturned in regards to representing their client. Hence, collecting records is and has been a crucial piece of the evidence gathering process for years and years.

Different states have different civil practices regarding record retrieval during the discovery process. Some states require the attorneys to gather documents from one another and the burden falls squarely upon the requestor to deliver. Other states require the individual sides, so to speak, to seek their own means of procuring evidence by and through custodians (legal guardians), companies, government agencies, etc. Here is where record retrieval companies have made their mark. Record retrieval companies relieve the litigators and their staff the burden of collecting the necessary records from the custodians. If the job of collecting records was easy, litigators and staff personnel would not need independent companies.

Custodians do not quickly comply with requests for records because it is a burden no one desires to perform especially if their own company is involved in the cause of action. This becomes a huge tug of war when it comes to finally retrieving the necessary records to facilitate the case properly and to disseminate the evidence to ultimately present to the court in an understandable and easily comprehendible manner. Litigators are experts in disseminating evidence or records. This is their job and the good ones make a lot of money being good at their job. Representing your client is not an easy task. The litigators that make their mark are the ones who work many hours where a lot weekends are busy at the office instead of being home with the family.

Record retrieval companies assist litigators and their staff by taking the burden off of the litigators’ staff and retrieving the documents/records themselves in which are needed for the cause of action to be presented thoroughly and correctly with the documents and/or records that are required for the case to be discovered completely.

Completely is a key word in record retrieval. Many times companies, government agencies and the like do not send a “complete” document request. Here is where litigators truly save precious time and money by hiring an independent company to obtain a complete set of records. The record retrieval company must make sure the records obtained are complete and all the necessary legal documents are signed and notarized, when necessary, and all paper work is done according to the laws of the state in which the cause of action has been filed. Not anyone can handle the daunting task of obtaining everything requested, signed and delivered and of course, when the litigators need or have requested the records to be obtained. Custodians are notorious for stalling for time or sending incorrect information requested along with improperly filled out Affidavits and un-notarized documents. The record retrieval company’s task is to go back to the custodian and reopen the request for the documents. Once again, they find themselves being put on the back burner with the custodian in regards to the custodian complying with the legal request of documents the plaintiff and/or defense are duty bound to obtain. The cat and mouse game starts again and the record retrieval company must pursue the request, everyday if possible, to obtain a correct and complete record.

Record retrieval companies, only a handful in the country, earn their keep and their usefulness in the litigation support industry. Their job of collecting records from people, companies, agencies, medical providers and many more venues is not easy to say the least. They must have knowledge of civil rules and procedures and have the effectiveness and many times salesmanship qualities in gathering evidence in the form of records retrieval.

Our company has been successfully procuring documents and records for litigators for over 25 years.


Tim McCarble is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced court reporting providers in the state of Texas. His home office is based in Houston with satellite offices all over texas in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, and everywhere inbetween.

For more information regarding record retrieval services, the process, or the industry in itself, contact Tim directly at his website or by phone at 866-650-1800.

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