The Journal

I Received A Subpoena; Now What?

Posted by Chris C. Han | Dec 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you have recently received a subpoena, you may not fully understand what this means and how you need to fulfill the obligations that are a part of the process. The below information will provide you with everything you need to know in a simple, easy-to-understand style that cuts through legal jargon.

No.1 – Understand that type of subpoena you received

Under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), a subpoena is a governmental request or a request from a party (or the party's attorney) in a lawsuit, asking a person (typically a non-party) to appear to either testify (testimonial subpoenas) in a case or provide some sort of information or documents (document subpoenas). In truth, it's a demand with consequences.

Subpoenas need to be taken seriously because a failure to do as requested could result in fines, prison time or prompt the other side to move to compel the production of documents or testimony. The most common subpoena requests are for business or personal documents or communications such as text messages.

How do I respond to a subpoena?

Here are some tips to help you understand what to do to resolve this situation:

No.2 – Don't ignore the subpoena

Act promptly to make sure that you have ample time to fully address the situation.

Consider contacting an experienced attorney. An attorney understands the law and the legal procedures to comply with the subpoena and can ensure that the subpoena does not violate your rights, especially if the subpoena request involves disclosures of your personal, confidential information.

If you object to the subpoena, he can help you prepare a proper response. Even if there are many documents asked, specific documents can be protected from the subpoena.

No.3 – Comply or Object to the Subpoenas Accordingly

If you decide to object to the subpoena in New York, you will have 20 days from the date you receive the subpoena to submit your objection.

There is a return date you must meet if you choose to comply with the request. If it involves producing documents, you have a few options for delivery to the subpoena attorney or facility.

If there are only a few documents, you can hand-deliver, mail, or email a PDF copy of the materials.

For large quantities of papers, you can provide them via a CD or through a cloud-base document storage service such as Dropbox, but make sure the transmission of the files is secured.

If you receive a testimonial subpoena, you must appear for the oral examination, hearing, or trial on the date and time stated in the subpoena.

What else do I need to know?

Here are a few more key details. First, don't talk to anyone who does not “need to know” (your attorney) about the subpoena or its requests. Whether you agree with the subpoena or not, make sure to preserve all requested documents or even documents that could be a part of the request. Inform anyone who could destroy any of those materials so that they will not.


  • .Respond promptly, whether you intend to object or comply.
  • Ensure that you follow all proper procedures throughout the process.
  • Protect yourself and your rights by consulting an attorney and keeping confidentiality.

About the Author

Chris C. Han

Founding & Managing Partner


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