Process Server Jobs
Jobs in the legal system have a certain appeal to them. Most of them take place inside courthouses and office buildings. If you want to get into the legal world and still be outside, try working as a process server.
Process servers deliver, or serve, legal papers to people who are required to appear in civil court, usually for personal injury or divorce cases.
The process server is employed by the court, sheriff, law firms, private investigator, process server company, or may even work freelance. Every workday is different, but every day legal documents must be delivered to people in person.
Papers must be delivered in a timely fashion or deadlines are broken resulting in court delays, fees, and sometimes court cases are ruined. Process servers need to perform their work quickly, which is sometimes difficult because many people, like unenthusiastic divorcees, slimy slumlords, or negligent drivers, don’t want to be found.
Process servers are expert skip tracers, just like bounty hunters. They have to locate people wherever they might be. Next they must access the person in a public place like the front steps of a home or outside a place of business. The person must acknowledge who the process server is and then sign for the papers, which provides proof that the documents were delivered. It can be a challenging process.
While serving most people is easy, there are often complications. Process servers need to have a description of the person and know where the person might be. Sometimes they can’t find the person then they have to investigate by talking with neighbors, digging through trash, or sitting in a car for a stakeout.
Understanding the laws and legal system protects process servers and ensures they do their job correctly. Process servers can sometimes sub-serve, or leave papers with co-workers or family members. Other times they must serve by refusal by describing the papers and leaving them in an obvious place for people who won’t open the door. Process servers also must be able to protect themselves from angry people after they are served.
Process servers only deliver papers for civil courts. It is unsafe for them to work on criminal cases – sheriffs and law enforcement agents do that. But they still see their fair share of the action. It can be challenging because every person deals with bad news differently. Some people thank you and shake your hand. Other people throw punches, run away, have temper tantrums, or toss cinderblocks in your general direction. Be ready for verbal abuse. This job definitely has its risks. Even the most courteous, and professional process server can have a rough day.
Every state has different requirements for process servers. Be sure to check with your local court system to find out about your area. Usually, process servers must be 18 years old. Many obtain the National Association of Investigative Specialists certification. Others have some interest or training in the legal system. Some states require process servers to be bonded. State organizations, colleges, and some private firms offer process server training that can help a rookie find work.
Most process servers are paid between $30 and $250 per document served. They can make $25,000 to $70,000 per year, but it isn’t always smooth sailing. Before you sign up, watch All Worked Up on truTV to watch a process server in action.
As a process server, every day will be different. It can be rewarding to know that you are keeping the court system running. But the reality is that you are constantly delivering bad news.
Quick Facts About Process Server Work
Job Title: Process Server
Office: Wherever legal papers need to be delivered
Description: Deliver, or serve, legal papers like summons, subpoenas, or warrants
Certifications/Education: State License, Bonded
Necessary Skills: Investigative skills, Ready for Anything
Potential Employers: Courts, Attorneys, Private Investigators, Sheriffs, Process Server Companies
Pay: $25,000 to $70,000 per year