What to Expect if You’re Summoned to Court

There are many reasons why you would be summoned to court. It can be a scary and overwhelming ordeal if you have no idea what to expect.

Expert Witness

According to Cornell Law School: “experts may testify about their conclusions in a case so long as their analysis is scientifically sound.” This means that if you are being summoned as an expert witness, you have authority on a specific topic that can be scientifically backed up.

  • The court needs you to explain something and help the rest of the room to understand it. For example, a banking expert would help educate a court on bank policies.
  • When giving your statement, be as unbiased as possible. Try not to pan your opinion in one direction or the other. You are not there to convince anybody of anything. You are giving an honest testimony about your area of expertise.
  • Only give information that is relevant. In other words, stay on topic. If you are there to be an expert on the speed of tree growth, do not give a monologue about protecting the rainforest.

Jury Duty

As an American and a registered voter, it is your civic duty to serve as a member of a jury. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do this, but know what will happen if you are.

  • A jury summons will give you a time and date that require you to appear at a courthouse. Once you arrive there, fill out paperwork and expect to wait for several hours.
  • A judge may or may not speak to you and ask questions during your wait. Sometimes you’re there for only twenty minutes and told to leave. Other times you are divided into groups with your fellow jurors. In these groups, you will be taken and interviewed by lawyers to determine whether you are a good fit for the trial or not.

Having an understanding of the legal process can make a subpoena a little less frightening. Do research on why you are being subpoenaed and understand the role you are going to fill when you testify.