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Service of process is the procedure where the legal documents like legal notices, complaints subpoenas, writs, summons, petitions and other court documents are personally delivered to the person (usually the defendant) to whom the court document is directed. This set of legal documents is known as the ‘processes. The recipient of the process is asked to respond to the legal proceedings at the court or the tribunal. The rules related to the service of process are different with every jurisdiction. Normally the legal document is delivered to the individual personally, but sometimes they can also be delivered to another person of suitable age at the individual’s residence or place of employment or business. Service of process can also be mailed to the individual in some cases. If the individual cannot be located then the court may order the publication of the service of process in a newspaper, for example, in such exceptional cases.

The Job of a Process Server

The person who personally delivers the legal documents to the individual to whom the document is directed is known as the process server. In most jurisdictions the process server cannot be a party to the case. It is the duty of the process server to deliver the legal documents according to the legislative body in the service area, says A. Harrison Barnes, an experienced attorney. They have to take care that the legal documents are delivered to the concerned person in person, or is handed over to some member of the family or business.

The duty of the process server doesn’t end here. He or she has to provide the proof that the documents have been delivered. It is done through a legal document called Affidavit of Service. This should be notarized and provided to the party who had requested for the service. Affidavit of Service is also known as Proof of Service. The process servers are also the ones who will file your legal papers with the court apart from recovering the documents. A. Harrison Barnes says that they also offer different kinds of investigation such as surveillance, skip trace, people locates and many others.

Process Server: Important Things to Know

If you decide to become a process server then you must gather all the knowledge that is needed to become one, says A. Harrison Barnes. You have to know what work a process server does daily. A process server’s daily work constitutes of giving out the legal documents or providing people with the legal papers that they want. You have to be very clear about every detail of the job. You have to gain some knowledge about the legal system and its workings. You can opt for a class in order to get familiar with the legal subpoenas and papers. You must to know all about legal papers to be able to explain their importance to their recipients. It is not much difficult to learn the details about the job of a process server, feels Barnes. The most challenging and bothering factor in the job of a process server, however, is that they are generally not received well by the persons to whom they have to deliver the legal documents. They are often treated harshly by the recipient. Sometimes they even have to look extensively for a person who cannot or does not want to be found.

The qualifications required to become a process server vary from state to state. In few of them you just require a license to perform the duties of a process server. But there are other states where you need to be court officials to perform the tasks of a process server. In some other jurisdictions even a private person or agency can act as a process server but they would need the authorization of the court. Several states offer courses that train candidates to be process servers, according to A. Harrison Barnes.

Income of a Process Server

The rates of process serving vary from state to state and case to case. The same day services are usually billed at A. Higher rate. A routine serve can cost anything from $20 to $100. But the national average payment rate for the process server is $45 and $75. The charges are on an hourly basis and also based on the experience of the process server.

According to A. Harrison Barnes, the best thing for a starter is to begin the career by working under an experienced process server. Though you will not be able to earn enough, the knowledge and the experience that you will gain along with practice will be very valuable for your legal career. This is the best thing to do as a fresher. The experienced process servers who are best at their work will be your best guides to perform better in your legal career.

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