Why Do Lawyers Hire Private Investigators?
First and most importantly, attorneys are experts in the law. While attorneys vary in their field of expertise, whether it be as a divorce attorney, personal injury or criminal lawyer; they are dedicated to their position as someone who works in the legal field.
Private investigators on the other hand, are trained and experienced in creative and efficient ways to investigate various arenas. Consulting and working with a professional private investigator can help almost any attorney’s leverage when they are representing a case.
Although larger law firms may have their own in-house legal investigator, smaller firms or single-man law practices do not have the capability of conducting their own thorough investigations and so will hire a private investigator to work on certain aspects of their client's case. It's not necessary with every case for a lawyer to hire a private investigator but they will retain one when it is beneficial to do so.
No matter how experienced, skilled or efficient an attorney is, it is often almost impossible to get all of the work done that crosses the desk. An attorney can’t be in the office cross-checking facts and do surveillance on a suspect at the same time. A private investigator can take quite a load off of a lawyer or attorney as well as help them present a solid case.
How Working With A Private Investigator Can Benefit An Attorney's Case
An attorney will have the legal knowledge of what evidence they require to prove their case in court and if they don't have the level of evidence needed, the attorney will often hire an investigator to look for it. They will need to show a judge or jury the proper evidence and enough of it to convince them that their case holds more weight than the opposition.
Understandably, law firms on both sides of a legal dispute want to be able to prove their side of a legal argument so that their client wins, and although every case is unique, an attorney or lawyer will hire a private investigator's services to improve their client's chances of winning. It is beneficial for attorneys to use private investigators for gathering information that goes well beyond pretrial evidence.
What Do Private Investigators Do For Attorneys?
Private investigators serve many important functions quite distinct from those of an attorney, though an investigator's services dovetail well with an attorney's own services. Due to the variety of services that a private investigator can provide, many lawyers and attorneys keep private investigators on retainer or hire them frequently to do certain tasks. Some of the best tasks private investigators do for attorneys include:
Locating People, Witnesses, Heirs
Attorneys and lawyers hire private investigators for help in locating people for a wide variety of reasons. A private investigator will have the experience to locate potential witnesses. An attorney who practices family law may be searching for an heir to an estate or a criminal attorney may hire a private investigator to locate witnesses to a serious crime.
Preparation for Cross Examination
One of the most common reasons why attorneys hire private investigators is for gathering pertinent information for an upcoming trial. For example, a private investigator can discreetly follow a witness or a suspect to gather and report detailed information about their background, behaviors, and associations. This type of investigation can be extremely valuable for identifying information that may protect a client and/or provide the information necessary to prove a person’s guilt.
Depositions and Public Records
The role of a private investigator is continually evolving. Previously, the bulk of a private investigator’s duties involved following subjects and/or staking out a subject to learn their habits. The current role of a private investigator includes much more detail, such as interviewing witnesses or digging through public records for information that may be used in a deposition. Private investigators are extremely creative, analytical, and they know how to obtain information; all of which can benefit law firms and their cases.
Insurance Claims and Background Checks
When someone is claiming to receive medical treatment for an injury, whether it be work related or from an auto accident, proving an injury actually exists can sometimes be difficult. One of the benefits of utilizing the experience of private investigators is their ability of discreetly staking people out who may not have a true injury claim. For example, if an individual is receiving worker’s compensation for an injured leg, yet it has come to the attention of the employer and/or insurance adjuster that the individual goes for a 2-mile daily run. This type of information can be recorded by a private investigator and presented as evidence against a false claim.
Surveillance and Digital Research
Before a divorce attorney draws up and serves divorce papers to a cheating partner, their goal is to first try to prove infidelity. One of the most common reasons lawyers hire private investigators is for cheating spouse investigations to determine if indeed a spouse is cheating. This can typically be accomplished in a variety of ways, including online investigating, interviewing witnesses, and surveillance. The information recorded by the private investigator can be extremely valued, especially in family law cases that involve cheating spouses and/or hidden assets.
Above is a somewhat limited scope of what private investigators do for attorneys and why lawyers hire private investigators, but overall, investigators work alongside law firms to find and verify information and provide legally obtained evidence pertaining to the law firm's cases, so they can assist their own clients in winning their cases in court.