Company subpeonas records from across state

By Frank Weir

Legal News

It's been an interesting journey from a fishing boat on the Wisconsin shoreline to company ownership in the somewhat dryer landscape of Jackson, Mich.

But Jodi Snyder wouldn't have it any other way.

Snyder has been sole owner of ACRO Legal Copy Service since January of 2010 after acquiring the business from Roger and Mary Sue Thome.

The Thomes remain proprietors of ACRO Legal Support Services providing court reporting services while Snyder's firm specializes in subpoena, copy and distribution of records services.

But let's get back to Algoma, Wisconsin for a minute shall we?

Snyder's father owned a charter fishing boat business in Algoma, owning three boats at one time, and she grew up with bait and tackle in her hands long before computers and phones, her current tools.

And eventually there was love in the air in addition to 50-pound line.

"There was an annual fishing tournament in Algoma which kept my dad's charter boats busy," Snyder said.

"His clients would fly in for the tournament and my future husband, Mark, traveled from Ludington to fish in one of the tournaments and that's how we met."

The pair stayed in touch after that initial meeting and eventually were married on one of Snyder's dad's boats.

The weather even cooperated providing a typical fishing day for Algoma: rainy, cold, and foggy.

But the pair were happy nonetheless and made their way to Jackson in 1993 given that Mark was a Michigan Center native and was teaching for the Vandercook Lake School District.

After graduating from college, Snyder earned a paralegal certificate and had worked for a Milwaukee law firm so she naturally looked toward the law upon her arrival in Jackson.

"I came to Jackson with no job," Snyder noted.

"I started out as a business temp but eventually found a job with the law firm of Parker and Adams PC here as a receptionist and doing their billing.

"My position with Parker and Adams was wonderful."

After three years, Snyder joined the Thomes as they began their records business and shortly thereafter, they approached her about acquiring the records portion of the company via a 10-year buyout plan.

Snyder knew business ownership is never a guarantee but jumped at the chance.

"It was a gamble especially with such a long-term purchase plan and I knew that. A lot of things could have happened and I figured it was a coin flip whether I'd make it or not but I felt strong enough about myself and my capabilities that if it hadn't succeeded, I was a marketable employee."

And she admits the first few months of owning the company were an eye-opener.

"I went from being a records coordinator for Roger and Mary Sue to taking over payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, handling the company finances.

"I had never done anything like that before so there was a lot of learning when I first took over. But it has become smoother as time has gone on and now, starting my second year, it's a breeze compared to those first months."

Snyder has been able to add an employee and the company now consists of her along with Laure Cleeves, records coordinator, and Kylee Snyder, Jodi's niece, as order processor.

So exactly what does the company offer?

"We subpoena different records for attorneys from all over the state but primarily from the east side of Michigan," Snyder said. "That's mainly what we do. Our clients are, for the most part, litigation and personal injury lawyers.

"We take in the request and either prepare a subpoena or a release to get records, mostly medical records, from hospitals, doctor's offices, and insurance companies. When the records come in, we apply what is called 'bates numbering' and then distribute them to whichever interested parties need them. We keep track to make sure they are coming in and if they aren't, we follow up with phone calls."

The company also deals with other types of records involving police departments and different employment related agencies, she added.

"Typically, we handle cases from litigators dealing with car accidents and the resulting law suits. Their legal staff have enough to do and it's easier for them to utilize us to issue subpoenas for records and to track them until they arrive.

"Most law offices are not equipped with enough staff to do that when you are handling hundreds of cases requiring obtaining and tracking the records they need."

Snyder added that Roger Thome originally realized that there were very few companies in the state offering such a service and none in the south central area of Michigan.

"I love the law and that's why I wanted to pursue the offer to acquire this portion of the company when the Thomes offered it," she said.

"The law is exciting and no two cases are ever the same. There are different doctors, hospitals, insurance companies. It's always diverse. And I have made really good friends through the company just over the phone. I've never seen them face to face but I've known people for five or 10 years who I deal with regularly."

But Snyder saves energy for community activities which have always been very important to her.

She is a committee member of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a member of a relay for life team for over 15 years, and ACRO Legal is a sponsor of a relay for life team.

In addition, she is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and served as the chair of its annual dinner held in April of this year; a treasurer of United Way of Jackson County Women's Leadership Council; outgoing president of Jackson BPW; vice president of NALS of Jackson County; secretary of the Midtown Association of Jackson; and Sunday school teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Snyder received the Susan B. Anthony Award in 2010 and 2008 was awarded the Legal Support Professional of the Year by NALS of Jackson County.

Husband Mark still teaches with the Vandercook Lake School District and the couple have one 13-year old son, Gunnar.

One more thing.

She still loves to fish, a carryover from those days on the scenic Algoma lakeshore.

Published: Fri, Jul 29, 2011