From the outside, a process server’s job may seem fairly straightforward: someone who delivers paperwork and is no different than a messenger or courier with any deliverable item. However, that could not be further from the truth. The skills and qualities needed to be a successful server extend far beyond those of a traditional messenger or courier and the reason is simple. Process Servers are tasked with dealing with people at a potentially unsettled time in their life and they must be prepared to handle a wide range of personalities and reactions. Being able to handle this wide range of reactions requires a skill set that a general messenger is not called upon to have. Here are the top skills found in the most successful process servers:
Many times serves go smoothly and easily, but there are occasions where the person and circumstances are more complex and the process server must know how to handle the situation. The process server may need to wait and do surveillance, possibly observe the recipient, speak with people that know the recipient, and gather as much information as possible to plan the best way to approach. This doesn’t always happen quickly. Persistence and patience are key to successful serves. QUICK THINKING Being able to think quickly on one’s feet is certainly important, but also being able to scrap a plan and come up with a new one at a moment’s notice is equally as important. As we all know, life is not always predictable. A good process server stays nimble and can react in the moment. PREPARED A good process server understands how important it is to be fully prepared before attempting a serve. Being prepared means a server must try to learn everything they can about the recipient’s appearance, habits, routines and demeanor prior to attempting the serve and also plan and map the most efficient route to finding them. Apps such as PROOF help process servers to ID a recipient and keep track of identifiable attributes.
Last, but definitely not least, is the importance of a server being knowledgeable about the laws and procedures that govern process serving in their area. Although requirements vary from state to state, taking a service of process training class ensures that the server is familiar with their state’s laws and regulations regarding the legally correct ways to serve documents. If there is any doubt in court that the serve was not done according to the law, a defense attorney may attempt to challenge the serve as a strategy to get the case thrown out. This is why being knowledgeable about the serving laws is critical.
These are just a handful of the qualities that make for an effective and successful server, but as you can see there is MUCH more to being a process server than just delivering paperwork. A good process server is part messenger and detective, can read people and situations accurately, is knowledgeable of the law and can remain calm and focused under pressure.