You are Wrong About Process Serving

You might think you understand what process serving is, but you’re probably wrong.

Most people, conditioned as they are by media representations of process servers, have little real clue about what the job actually entails. Hollywood, more often than not in its desire to over-dramatize process serving, usually misrepresents what is a basic service on behalf of our court system to deliver legal documents. (Without process servers, the legal system would grind to a halt. We provide various services to people in filing, researching, serving papers, surveillance, et al which keeps the legal system moving forward.) Not that there’s not a small percentage of actual dramatic moments, but an experienced process server learns how to minimize such occasions, although eliminating them entirely is impossible. Here are just some of the reasons why.




Serving legal papers can take the server from the most security-guarded, expensive properties to regions in dire poverty, such as areas called “projects.” In Los Angeles, one can go from Beverly Hills and within a half hour be in South-Central L.A. where projects like Nickerson Gardens (a 1,066-unit public housing apartment complex, which is the largest public housing complex West of the Mississippi, in Watts) and Jordan Downs (a 700-unit public housing apartment complex also in Watts), less than two miles away, exist. Not that good people don’t live in both places, they definitely do, but these facilities also house many competing street gangs you’ve heard of which would scare most people for their notoriety.

Not judging anyone for their gang associations, but from experience, it’s been generally safer to serve legal papers in such areas than in Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Bel Air, and Brentwood Park for example. Funny that, and just the opposite of what people generally expect. A knowledgeable, confident, no-chip-on-his/her-shoulder process server can walk into the projects as late as 10:00 PM on any night to serve legal papers, see a bunch of young guys milling about with obvious gang identification markers and be addressed regularly with a polite “good evening officer (I’m not one)” as I reply with “hey guys” while moving on to the unit where I’m attempting to serve papers.



But areas where people with wealth and power live are a completely different situation. There are definitely talented, smart, successful people living in such places. Sadly, though, too often such people have a sense of entitlement and self-privileging which contributes them to being outraged when anyone tries to serve them legal documents, whether it is a reasonable hour in the morning or after sunset. Again, not that this is the rule, but it’s definitely more common to be abused, insulted, sicced-on by the police, and more by wealthy people who seem frequently to imagine they are superior to others, including process servers. Any police officer around long enough to cover various areas of income distribution will concur with the above.

Most every region, including the wider San Francisco Bay Area, has richer and poorer communities, presenting various challenges, all with good people, but occasionally with troublesome personalities requiring a certain communication toolkit to minimize problems. It’s the process server’s job – the bearer of often-unexpected bad news - to navigate all that, with little idea of what’s going to be encountered beforehand, while courteously, professionally and respectfully getting legal papers delivered. Not everyone is suited for the job, though. More about that in blog posts to come.


To get your legal papers served by professional process servers, contact our firm at (888) 867-6788 or message us here.