Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 17th, 2019, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Many lawyers and firms rely on the information provided by private investigators to put together their cases and represent their clients.
Considering the number of cases lawyers usually have to juggle with daily, hiring a private investigator helps them in many ways. A private investigator gets them access to information they wouldn’t have the time or resources to access. This also allows them to focus on the legal aspects of the cases and offer their clients the best representation.
Moreover, lawyers hire private investigators to be one step ahead of their opponents and to make informed decisions when it comes to their firm and business partners. Private investigators can also be hired to help criminal defense investigations. PI handles the professional investigation that can be crucial to the lawyers’ case.
Main reasons why lawyers work with private investigators
To gather evidence
Gathering evidence for cases is the obvious reason to collaborate with a professional private investigator. If anyone knows how to look at crime scene photos and discover the little things that can make or break a case is a PI.
Private investigators are indispensable for any criminal defense case, their attention to detail and investigating techniques can bring to light new evidence. They can interview witnesses after the lawyer has already talked to them. This strategy works to look for new details or to see if the witness is telling the truth and hasn’t changed their testimony.
They can find new witnesses that can help stir the case in favor of the lawyer they’re working with. When working for the defense team, a PI knows how not to be distracted by the big picture and focus on the materials received from the prosecution. Based on the reports, photographs, and statements, they can seek out inconsistencies and develop new theories.
In cases such as white-collar, the investigating skills of private investigators are crucial.
To find people
Locating missing people or someone that doesn’t want to be found is one of the main services provided by a private investigator. Using methods like comprehensive reports and surveillance, private investigators can locate and identify witnesses whose statements are essential for the case they’re working on.
They can base their investigation on just a name or even the nickname of the person. The multitude of resources an investigator has access to helps them do their most effective work. In some cases, the first name of the person who needs to be found is enough to locate them.
Private investigators can find new witnesses the lawyers haven’t thought of and establish a connection with the case. The person can be a former employee who can help with a corporate misconduct case or even a witness that’s too afraid to come forward.
A private investigator has the right skills to find the people whose knowledge is vital for a case.
To find assets
There are numerous reasons why people would want to hide their assets. From spouses who don’t want to pay alimony or child support to employees who embezzled money from the company they’ve worked for. There are many situations when a lawyer’s case is based on finding hidden assets.
A private investigator knows how to find the assets using legal methods so that their findings can be admissible in court. They can locate assets, such as real estate and vehicles, as well as valuable property, like jewelry and works of art, and domestic and offshore bank accounts.
However, when it comes to bank accounts, because of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, there are certain limitations. They can’t force a banking institution to give them the details of the bank accounts discovered without a court order.
To collect digital evidence
Private investigators keep up with technology and can contribute to the lawyer’s case with valuable information gathered following social media investigations.
They can comb through the social media accounts of the persons of interest or the persons associated with their investigation. They can discover details that help place the person at a specific date and place or even locate them when they don’t want to be found.
Moreover, the discoveries gathered from social media channels can provide new evidence or motives for the lawyer’s case. Corroborating the information collected following a background search and with the data provided by a social media investigation, private investigators can make significant contributions to many cases. If there’s the need for a more thorough digital investigation, private investigators usually collaborate with digital forensic experts. This collaboration helps them to retrieve information from various digital devices and recover files even after these have been deleted.
To vet employees and business partners
Hiring a private investigator to conduct a comprehensive background check on potential employees and business partners can be one of the best decisions a lawyer can make.
Law firms should always benefit from investigator services to obtain background information on their potential employees. This way, they can avoid hiring persons who have lied in their resume, might try to commit fraud or steal information. After all, the reputation and safety of their company depend on this!
The background checks offer them access to information regarding the professional and criminal past of the person of interest. A private investigator knows precisely where to look and what to look for while respecting the laws and regulations.
From family matters and child custody cases to insurance fraud, corporate investigations, and criminal cases, private investigators contribute to unveiling the truth in a variety of situations. Many law firms prefer to hire a private investigator full-time or establish a partnership with a private investigator company.
Working with a private investigator is the fastest way to solve cases. Many times, the reputation of a law firm doesn’t only rely on the skills, wit, and determination of its lawyers but also the experience, knowledge, and intuition of private investigators.