10 Ways an Attorney Can Effectively Use a Private Investigator

APRIL 19, 2010 BY BRIAN WILLINGHAM.

Although law school and career experience provide an attorney with a number of useful research techniques and litigation skill, they do have limits. Consulting with a professional private investigator can help attorney’s to leverage your position and find creative and efficient ways to come out ahead of your adversary.

Here are 10 ways that an attorney can use a professional private investigator:

  1. Locate People
    It may be a witness or an heir. Perhaps it’s a former employee who can shed light on corporate misconduct. Or maybe you need to locate a witness in possession of the proverbial “smoking gun.” Whether you would like to interview, serve, or investigate someone, an investigator can help you to identify and locate the individual.In an estate matter, PISG was asked to locate the biological father of a client. Understanding there might be a sensitive adoption consideration, PISG identified the biological father, who had unfortunately passed away. This information contributed to a family reconciliation, and a more amicable estate settlement. 
  2. Locate Assets
    Investigators are skilled at locating assets such as real estate, valuable property (artwork, antiques, collectibles, etc.), and vehicles (motor vehicles, aircraft, vessels, etc.). An investigator can also help attorneys to identify the location both domestic and offshore bank accounts (though the details of these assets may not necessarily be disclosed by banking institutions without court order or permission from the account holder – see our post 5 Myths: What a Private Investigator Cannot (Legally) Get.Private Investigation Services Group was recently asked to provide due diligence for a potential property sale by a business partner. Our paralegal research and analysis identified that the intended buyer of the relevant property was in actuality a likely “straw man” purchaser, with few actual assets, and that the intended final owner was a party not likely to be compatible with the client. The individual background information, and corporate due diligence provided sufficient information to the client to allow for an intervention, and subsequent nullification of the intended sale. 

    There is no substitute for legally and ethically knowing all you can about any type of important business, legal, or personal matter prior to the event. Private Investigation Services Group’s four practice areas: Investigations, Security Consulting, Attorney Services, and Background Checks, covers a broad and comprehensive scope of information, and can help not only prepare you, but protect you before you move into a crucial stage of decision making. 

    Contact PISG for a free consultation. If we cannot help you, we’ll make a referral to a trusted partner better equipped to do so. 

  3. Leverage for Negotiations
    An investigator can pull together key sources and intelligence to inform your side during litigation, an M &A deal, internal investigation, or any other adversarial situation that can make the difference between a favorable settlement.
  4. Enforce Judgments
    A judgment is only useful if you are able to enforce it. An investigator can help attorneys to identify current assets and any efforts to hide or misrepresent them through the transfer to family members, friends or other parties.
  5. Connect the Dots
    Investigators can help you to know who is actually sitting on the other side of the table during litigation or a potential business deal. You can gain immeasurable negotiation power by identifying who is actually behind a faceless corporation or tying together undisclosed connections.
  6. Predict Your Opponent’s Next Move
    Through an investigation, you can learn your opponent’s history and patterns of behaviors so as to best predict how they will react under
    pressure. This will help you to be successful in litigation strategizing, during cross examination, or at the deal table.
  7. Prep For Cross Examination
    During preparation for a deposition or courtroom testimony, an investigator’s report detailing your witnesses’ weaknesses, background, and behavioral tendencies may be one of your most valuable tools. This can also be useful in identifying information against your client, so you can be prepared for what may come up during the course of the litigation.
  8. Collect and review electronic evidence
    Whether it is an adversarial matter or an internal investigation, investigators may be used to efficiently recover electronic files – including those that a subject believes he or she has successfully deleted. Investigators are frequently used to identify and analyze a subject’s emails, documents, or other files.
  9. Trademark and Intellectual Property Monitoring
    Investigators can be used to successfully police a company’s products throughout the world. Counterfeiting and improper diversion of products onto the grey market are just two of the most common areas where an investigator can provide intelligence and assistance.
  10. Reconstruction
    A historical reconstruction may be helpful in a number of different areas. Perhaps you need to review the history of a family to locate heirs. It could be a corporate history or a chain of title issue in a real estate matter. Whatever the issue, an investigator can help to identify and piece together long lost documents, facts and witnesses.

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