Many people might be misinformed by the role of a process server. Movies such as the 2002 “Serving Sara” give an unrealistic view of what a process server is. In the movie, a process server goes to great lengths to serve a woman her divorce papers, but she out-right runs from him. This is not grounded in reality. Like most professions, Hollywood has over dramatized process servers for the use in films.
A process server is a normal and needed job in the legal field. The website for the National Process Servers Association (NPSA) defines a process server as someone who serves legal documents on behalf of attorneys. Serving someone is delivering legal documents that is then documented and then process must adhere to the laws of the state that has jurisdiction over the matter.
The guidelines for becoming a process server depend on the laws of the state in which you wish to practice in. A resource to find a list of these laws is on the NPSA website. However, before making any decision you should check your state’s specific website or local authority to verify this information.
Most states require an individual to have a clean record of varying degrees. Some states require the completion of a course or some other form of certification. There are also laws in many states about the process server not being connected to any of the parties involved in the legal matter.
No matter the laws in your area, a process server should be reputable and organized. The action in a case is normally started by the service of documents from one party to the other. If the service is not done correctly or not documented correctly, there could be issues with the case later on. Attorneys are more likely to approach a known process server for this task. The NPSA suggests starting out at an agency to gain experience. However, this is not the only route you can go.
Process servers can work for agencies or independently. Such a position is needed for the legal system to function under current guidelines. If you are looking for a unique career, you may wish to research becoming a process server in your state. It can be a wonderful profession for people looking to have more control over their schedule and not be locked in an office from 9 to 5. However, if you’re expecting it be like the movies, you might be a little bored.