Table of Contents:
- How to Become a Process Server in New Jersey
- How to Become a Process Server in Maryland
- How to Become a Process Server in Utah
Make contact with a law firm. Call around to various law firms and ask if they are in need of a process server. A standard law firm will have dozens of important papers needing to be served at any given time, and it will always be on the look out for new, reliable people to get the job done. They may ask you to provide a resume or come in for an interview before trusting you with such an important task, but doing well can lead to more work with the same firm. Large cities in New Jersey like Newark and Bayonne will have over a hundred law firms listed in the local phone book. Even smaller cities like Eatontown will have dozens of law firms that are always in need of process servers.
Don't forget to ask around too. If you know anybody that works for a law firm, use that person as a contact and get them to ask their employer if they need any new process servers. Most process servers get their start because they have pre-existing contacts that they can use as references.
Make sure you have a reliable car. Process serving requires a lot of driving around to various locations which will be done using your own vehicle. Not only will a law firm not provide you with any kind of company car, but many do not reimburse their process servers for gas. If you don't have a reliable car of your own, the job is literally impossible.
Know what to charge. Process servers generally are able to charge what they'd like, based on the distance traveled and the difficulty of locating a person that needs to be served. Overcharging a law firm can be a fast way to make sure that a law firm never uses you again.
Generally if a person is in the same city where you live, you can charge between $15 and $20, as of 2009. The farther away you must drive and the harder it is to locate a person, the price increases.
Be prepared to wait. Often all a process server has to go on is an address where to find a person. This means that they don't have information like whether or not a person works, if they're on vacation or if they even live there anymore. This can require you to wait long periods of time to see if a person comes back to that address. It is important to note that New Jersey law prohibits a process server from leaving service documents in someone's mailbox. They must be physically handed to the individual named in the documents, or someone who has confirmed that they live at the same address who is over the age of eighteen.
Learn how long you have to serve someone. If a process server does not deliver documents to someone by a certain date, the documents must be re-filed with the New Jersey court system, which is a process that can be irritating for both the process server and the law firm. From the date service documents are issued, New Jersey District Court dictates you have 60 days to serve someone, while New Jersey Circuit Court dictates that you have 30 days. Which court your documents are being processed through will be listed on the top of the service documents themselves.
Call law firms and ask them directly whether they need process servers. You can find dozens of listings for local law firms in the phone book. At any given time a law firm may have dozens of subpoenas that need delivered by a specific date, and they are always on the lookout for more process servers to get the job done.
Talk to friends who work for law firms and see whether their employers need process servers. A law firm will never have a shortage of paperwork that needs delivered to defendants. Asking people who work at law firms whether you can deliver paperwork can be a good way to get your foot in the door and lead to long-term employment.
Have your own car. Process serving will require a lot of driving to and from the houses of people being served. If you don't have a reliable car, you will not be able to deliver the legal paperwork required of you.
Learn how to write affidavits. An affidavit will be required for every person you serve. It is a piece of paper describing exactly where and when a person was served; this paper is sent to the court. It is a document that will be used to verify service if a person fails to show up in court. For help with writing proper affidavits, consult the law clerks or paralegals at the law office that employs you.
Learn what to charge. The amount of money is dependent upon how far you must travel and the difficulty of locating a person that needs to be served. You can set your own price, but bear in mind that if you consistently overcharge, a company can stop using you. Companies may also have a flat rate that they are willing to pay regardless of difficulty, so be sure to ask.
Verify that you meet the minimum criteria for being a process server in Utah. The State of Utah requires that you be a minimum of eighteen years of age. Additionally, you may not be a party to or related to any of the parties named in the legal proceeding.
Learn as much as you can about the service of process and the rules of your local courts. You should read the Utah rules of civil procedure, at a minimum, so that you will have a clear understanding of waiting periods, service of process deadlines and proof of service filing requirements.
Join the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS). Membership with the NAPPS will enhance your credibility and give you access to educational opportunities that are available for process servers. Membership is optional, but is a great way to learn about acceptable practices and ethical standards to operate by.
Contact local attorneys and courts to let them know that you are available for hire as a process server. You should create flyers or business cards with your name and contact information so that they can be distributed easily.