Process Service: Serving Legal Subpoenas and Summons

Process Service: Serving Legal Subpoenas and Summons

What is Process Service?

Process Service, or Service of Process, is the act by which a party is given legal notice, by delivery of a summons, of a legal proceeding in which a person is concerned, and an action which a person is commanded to take or not to take.

Another definition of Process Services is:

Process service is the delivery of copies of legal documents such as court orders, summons, complaint, subpoena, order to show cause (order to appear and argue against a proposed order), writs, notice to quit the premises and certain other documents, usually by personal delivery to the defendant or other person to whom the documents are directed.

Process service is the act of providing an opposing party with notice of a pleading or action to assure that the opposing party is aware of the action and is given an opportunity to appear.

The person who completes process service, or service of process is referred to as a Process Server.

Many private investigators offer process serving to their clients. This is convenient for attorneys and lawyers because a private investigator can help track down the individual who needs to be serve, and serve them with the appropriate legal documents. If you would like to offer service of process to your clients, we recommend starting with a state process server association in your area. State process server associations are a great resource for getting started.

Dangers of Process Service

The act of delivering subpoenas can be a dangerous task these days. Quite often, the individual being served with the warrant or subpoena is afraid of going to jail. In extreme cases, the deputy or marshal who attempts to deliver the notice end up being physically attacked and sometimes even shot by the individual who is being served.

Process Server Websites

Following are websites that provide additional information on process servers.

  • Findlaw Directory of Process Servers – Nationwide directory of process servers and resources for service of process.
  • International Association of Process Servers – Association for process servers.  Includes resources for Process Servers and Private Investigators  and resources for service of process.
  • National Association of Professional Process Servers – The National Association of Process Servers is the largest nationwide process server association in the United States. Search for process servers, newsletters, conferences and training.
  • Process Server Institute – The Process Server Institute (PSI) is an educational organization in California, dedicated to the study and teaching of the art and business of process serving. PSI offers a series of entrepreneurial seminars  that teach the fundamentals of process serving, the laws that govern service of process and completing proof of service. The seminars include a skip tracing-investigation segment, and a discussion on marketing services to the legal community. The seminars cover service of process by special court order, publication, and by alternative means.
  • United States Process Serving – United States Process Serving Corp. is a professional association of retired peace officers, hailing from all different agencies, local, state and federal, which provide process serving duties to Attorneys and Government Agencies across the Country.  Provider of litigation support services.

To learn more about process serving, see our list of Process Service Books available from Amazon.com.


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