In civil and even sometimes criminal litigation, lawyers or the court may require the presence of a person to testify or provide evidence in a case. In these situations, a process server is utilized to ensure that the person or entity whose presence is required is fully aware of that fact. The process server delivers documents and notifications, typically face-to-face, to meet obligations of the court for this notifications process.
While some process servers make work as self-employed individuals, most tend to be hired by specific agencies that perform this work. There are no formal education requirements for this work, and most private firms will train prospective process servers on the job. However, many employers look for experience in the law enforcement or legal fields.
This can be a fairly thankless job. Many people do not wish to be served with legal documents, for a variety of reasons. The process server may require a sheriff's deputy at times when serving papers. At other times, he or she may need to do extensive studies to determine the physical resemblance of the person they're serving and the best way to ensure personal delivery of documents and notifications. Most process servers spend time in this research process on computers in an office environment, while working the rest of the time in the field, serving individuals.
Process Server Tasks
Serve subpoenas regarding legal cases.
Maintain and complete subpoena logs and certificates of service.
Prepare related legal documents, correspondence, and status reports.
Contact clients and locate witnesses.
Conduct jail visits to perform initial defense advisements to persons charged with criminal charges.