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Job Description and Average Salary of a Process Server

Job Description and Average Salary of a Process Server
A process server primarily 'serves' legal papers to defendants or other people as and when required. The CareerStint article below explains the job description and average salary of a process server.
CareerStint Staff
Quick Tip
To become a good process server, you must be:
  • Well-organized
  • Persistent
  • Inquisitive
  • Sociable
When you encounter the words, 'process server', you are probably framing the question 'what is a process server?' in your mind. The question, however, should be 'who is a process server' because the term refers to a person, not a machine, as many of us would normally comprehend in the first instance. The term 'serving a process' is a procedure that is followed in the legal system of the United States. Thus, a person who mainly performs legal actions such as serving notices and other documents is a process server. He is also called a civil or court process server. Read the following paragraphs to know what a process server does.
Job Duties
  • A process server is responsible for a majority of legal tasks in the law firm.
  • One of his primary responsibilities, as already mentioned, is to serve legal notices and documents to the concerned party.
  • He serves summons and subpoenas to clients and defendants as well.
  • It is his duty to locate the person to be served and deliver the notice personally. Therefore, he finds out the address of the client by means of state records or telephone directories (as of today, the Internet is the most reliable place, and the records can be unleashed within no time), calls him, and then delivers the document to his house.
  • Sometimes, it may not be necessary to call. In case of really important notices, it would make more sense to directly serve the notice at the client's residence.
  • He has to keep track of the time and date of delivery. He also has to keep track of other information about the client and the notice to be served.
  • He has to serve the process in accordance with the state laws and rules.
  • He receives assignments from his employer and reviews the same.
  • He may constantly be in and out of court. He retrieves documents from the court for his employer, and submits whatever documents are necessary to the court.
  • He also delivers summons, complaints, restraining orders etc., to clients. These are submitted in real estate and mortgage deals.
  • He also mails or sends remainders to the concerned party about their court hearing.
  • While it is his duty to deliver documents, nothing in his job profile states that he has to convince the client to accept the documents. This is especially true in divorce cases. All he has to do is deliver the documents, note down the time and date, and then leave.
  • In many scenarios, clients try to disappear for fear of the law. The process server will have to place the client's residence under surveillance to locate him and serve the papers. He may also notify the client's friends, relatives, or neighbors to inform him as soon as they find out where the client is.
  • He provides detailed reports regarding his work. If a particular person has thrown a racket with regard to accepting the summons, he is expected to file a report of how he delivered the document and the problems he might have faced. This is also true in case the client's residence is very far off, and the server had to travel several miles to deliver the summons.
  • This job is equally tedious for a server who works in a law firm, or who is an independent contractor.
Requirements
  • Ideally, a high school diploma is sufficient to become a process server, as he is almost similar to a legal assistant.
  • However, it may help if you have work experience (part-time or summer) in law firms.
  • Many firms, however, would be less apprehensive if you complete a training program.
  • The program will teach you everything regarding the law - your state laws, national laws, subpoenas, notices, ethical and legal behavior, etc.
  • Besides, you need to possess good communication skills, tenacity, adaptability, and good problem-solving skills.
  • Depending on the state laws and rules, it may be important to obtain the necessary license.
Salary
  • How much a process server makes is an important concern for potential candidates.
  • Generally, they are paid by the job, and payment may be hourly (USD 30 to USD 40/hour) or monthly.
  • However, this may be the case for students who do not intend to carve out a legal career. For trained individuals, the salary of a process server varies, depending on several factors.
  • As per the latest reliable statistics, the salary range falls between USD 50,000 to USD 85,000 (established servers do earn a lot).
  • The average, annual, state-wise salary is enlisted below.
Alabama USD 83,000
Alaska USD 60,000
Arizona USD 67,000
Arkansas USD 83,000
California USD 88,000
Colorado USD 73,000
Connecticut USD 94,000
Delaware USD 72,000
Florida USD 76,000
Georgia USD 93,000
Hawaii USD 51,000
Idaho USD 54,000
Illinois USD 93,000
Indiana USD 79,000
Iowa USD 80,000
Kansas USD 75,000
Kentucky USD 71,000
Louisiana USD 73,000
Maine USD 72,000
Maryland USD 84,000
Massachusetts USD 99,000
Michigan USD 83,000
Minnesota USD 72,000
Mississippi USD 86,000
Missouri USD 80,000
Montana USD 68,000
Nebraska USD 60,000
Nevada USD 62,000
New Hampshire USD 81,000
New Jersey USD 88,000
New Mexico USD 71,000
New York USD 99,000
North Carolina USD 78,000
North Dakota USD 73,000
Ohio USD 78,000
Oklahoma USD 76,000
Oregon USD 79,000
Pennsylvania USD 79,000
Rhode Island USD 75,000
South Carolina USD 81,000
South Dakota USD 62,000
Tennessee USD 76,000
Texas USD 79,000
Utah USD 64,000
Vermont USD 72,000
Virginia USD 82,000
Washington USD 85,000
West Virginia USD 77,000
Wisconsin USD 73,000
Wyoming USD 68,000
Source: Indeed.com as of February 23, 2015. Figures are in US Dollars.
Work Environment
  • No surprises here as the job of a process server is hectic and stressful.
  • They do not necessarily work regular hours, from 9 to 5, and then return home. As legal assistants, they are expected to be on their toes 24 X 7.
  • They are required to travel a lot, knock on strangers' doors, serve notices, explain the legal procedures, and work in erratic climatic conditions.
  • They have to be very patient; they may have the door shut on their faces, shouted at, and even threatened.
  • The work schedule is never fixed; they have to serve notices as and when required.
  • In short, the job is very tiring, despite the good pay.
A process server is an important part of the judiciary. By serving papers and notices, he does understand a lot regarding the case, and may be required to be present or testify at court hearings as well.