Legal Question in Business Law in Pennsylvania


Should I get a lawer when served with a subpoena?

Asked on 9/01/99, 10:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Gerry Elman Elman Technology Law, P.C.

Re: Subpoena

Maybe. But you didn't say what kind of subpoena it is.

If it's a Writ of Summons, then it means someone's filing a lawsuit against YOU. See a lawyer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

But a Subpoena means that someone is seeking either your testimony, or certain papers you have custody of. Maybe you witnessed an accident. Maybe you're being investigated by the government. Maybe you have certain papers that other people need to prove a certain fact in a lawsuit that doesn't involve you. So ... it depends.

The subpoena should state the parties to the proceeding and identify the lawyer who's seeking your testimony. If you don't think from this information that you're likely to be "at risk" from testifying, you may as well contact the lawyer and find out as much about the proceeding as you can.

If, based on the names in the Subpoena or the information you get when you call the lawyer, you DO think there's a possibility that you'd be at any risk by testifying or producing (that is "disclosing") any requested papers, then by all means seek appropriate advice from your own lawyer.

In certain circumstances, your interests might be aligned with the party in a case who is opposite to the one that subpoenaed you. In that event, you might contact the lawyer for that opposite party and hear what she says. But keep in mind that her duty is to her client, not to you.

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Answered on 9/02/99, 6:11 pm

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