law firm

What to Expect from a Process Server

If you meet a process server in Brooklyn, for instance, you would probably know that they are looking for someone. You would view them as a messenger of the court. In essence, yes, but there is more to their job that needs to be known. It is a job that usually requires one to have a license.

Nature of Work

A process server is someone who is authorized by law, the court, a law firm, a sheriff, a process server company, or a private investigator to formally deliver legal documents to a defendant (or respondent). Documents can be a summon, subpoena, or complaint. To deliver these documents, the process server abides by rules or legislation in the area where they operate.

A process server can hand in documents personally. They can also sub-serve it to someone at the same location, preferably with coworkers or family members. They can also serve by refusal, adding a description of the documents and leaving them at the door. After delivery, they furnish a notarized Affidavit of Service (Proof of Service) as a proof that the document has reached the intended receiver. This document must be given to the one who asked for their service.

A license is often required to be a process server, but not all states do. However, states that require a license have different requirements. The certification is obtained through the National Association of Investigative Specialists. As regards training, process servers may have some training about the legal system or have studied through a state or private organization or a school. Ordinarily, an applicant must be at least 18 years old before they take their certification.

What They Do in a Day


A process server’s job is different every day since there are many types of documents to be delivered. They start with a list of people to locate for the day. They may use their own strategy in locating each of them, or the company or institution they work for may offer a way of finding them successfully.

If they find the person, they must meet them in a public location, like in front of the house or outside a business establishment. The receiver must acknowledge the process server before they sign the papers, which bear proof that they have been received. If the person cannot be found, they make an investigation by talking to neighbors or anyone who knows the person.

Delivering papers must be done within the time frame allotted by their employer. Delays in delivery can have a huge impact on the court process as there may be fees to be paid or court dates may be affected. If delivery is successful, they complete the Affidavit of Service.

Process serving is a job that requires patience and an investigative mind. It also asks for an understanding of the social and even emotional situation of the person being served with the process. The job is not simply dropping mail or parcel and making people sign; it is work that technically starts a legal proceeding.

The Author

Scroll to Top