September 23, 2011 Articles

Successful Preparation and Service of Subpoenas in Federal Court

Guidance for the preparation and execution of subpoenas for civil cases pending in federal court.

By Erin E. Rhinehart

*** EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see this article for updates on Rule 45 subpoena practice.***

Discovery is typically a large part of litigation associates’ respective workloads. A majority of case strategy is evaluating what discovery should be conducted and when. For example, seeking out third-party discovery early in a case may be strategically beneficial because information may be obtained that can be used later against opposing parties. Therefore, early evaluation of which third parties may provide useful information, as well as how that information will best be conveyed (e.g., documents, testimony, or both), usually will prove fruitful for the case and demonstrate initiative and critical thinking to a supervising attorney.

Obtaining discovery from non-parties is often achieved by issuing a subpoena. This article—the first of two addressing third-party subpoenas—provides guidance for the preparation and execution of subpoenas served within the United States for civil cases pending in federal court. The second article discusses responding and objecting to federal civil subpoenas.

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