Lawyers too often choose their process servers for the wrong
reasons, with price almost always being the foremost, despite the
fact that the client and not the attorney bears the cost. The
attorney may have the process served by a friend, client, family
member or an office staffer. None of these people are
professionals, and should they be made to testify on the service,
they may be deemed to be prejudicial.
Choosing an inexperienced, unbonded and uninsured process server
with no training in both the rules of court or statutes governing
the service of process is another mistake.
Most attorneys seem to regard the process server as a delivery
person. They fail to acknowledge that the process server is, in
fact, the bearer of bad news. Process servers do not get a "thank
you" from defendants or witnesses when they are served, nor do they
get a tip for delivering the unwanted documents. Process servers
are sometimes spat upon, cursed, threatened, chased, and have the
papers, or whatever object is handy, thrown at them. More
seriously, process servers have been maimed, hospitalized and even
killed while serving process.
The established, well-organized, long-term process servers
should be the easy choice. An established office,
technology-experienced inside and outside personnel are an
attorney's best bet. Here's a checklist: Does the company have a
Web site with an "about us" page along with an office tour? Is the
process server listed with the Better Business Bureau? Is the
person or company a member of the local chamber of commerce? Does
the process server have a listing with Dunn and Bradstreet? How
long has the process server been in business? What is the person or
company's background? Do other attorneys recommend the process
server? Is the process server an equal opportunity employer?
Training meetings should be a part of the operation of every
process serving company. Process servers should be familiar with
rules and laws. Appearance, demeanor and dress code should be
To succeed, a process server must be a good salesperson -
confident, self-assured and assertive. Process serving is not for
the meek and mild. It can be rewarding, profitable and one of the
best experiences in someone's work life. It builds character,
resulting in a better person.
Philip Geron is principal of Guaranteed
Subpoena Services Inc., based in Mountainside, New Jersey.