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TRIAL TIP: SUBPOENA YOUR OWN WITNESSES TO TRIAL

Lawyers typically don’t subpoena their own witnesses to trial. There appears to be no need since friendly witnesses are going to appear of their own free will. It also saves money and effort in issuing and serving subpoenas. But what if your witness is prevented from attending trial due to something beyond their control? This happened to me recently. My own expert was supposed to attend trial on a certain day. We elected to subpoena her just for technical reasons. She was not only a critical witness, she was the only witness that could substantiate my case. She called me an hour and a half before the hearing was to begin and told me she was stuck in another emergency hearing and the Judge would not release her to come to our hearing. My first thought, was, “Thank God I subpoenaed her, or I might not be able to get a continuance.” I’m not one for engaging in needless formality, but many times in law, it is important to follow the technical details carefully in order to avoid disaster.