June 10, 2014 Articles

Rule 45 and You: The Young Lawyers' Guide to Federal Subpoenas

By David L. Schwan

For years, lawyers who dealt with federal subpoenas were plagued by complex guidelines for their issuance and compliance. Rule 45 often required subpoenas to be issued by the court where compliance was made, not by the court handling the underlying litigation. Thus, when a party needed documents or testimony from multiple sources around the country, subpoenas were issued by many courts with differing rules on service and enforcement. This created substantial headaches for lawyers and inconsistent rulings for clients. Then, after years of studying the issue, the Rules Committee amended Rule 45, with the changes taking effect on December 1, 2013.

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