10 Facts Every Attorney Should Know About Private Investigators

A couple of months ago, I attended a conference for attorneys and was surprised at both the lack of information and the misinformation regarding private investigators that circulates among attorneys.  I know there are a lot of misnomers about private investigators out there, but I wrongly assumed attorneys were exempt.  I thought most attorneys either work with private investigators or have at least worked with them in the past.  At the conference, I learned my assumptions were completely off base.

As a private investigator, I must do my part to educate the general public about the services my industry can provide to them.  I believe very much in what I do and know my services can be wildly beneficial, especially to attorneys.  So if you’re an attorney or aspiring attorney, take a moment to educate yourself about private investigators.  You’ll be glad you did.

10 Facts About Private Investigators:

  1. We come from a long list of backgrounds.  I personally have private investigator friends who come from backgrounds in real estate, law enforcement, the FBI, major league baseball, private security, journalism, law, and teaching.  Regardless of our diverse and sometimes very unique abilities, you will find that many of us work together to creatively, passionately, and doggedly do our jobs and do them well.  Our varied backgrounds quite nicely offer a large menu of services to our clients.
  2. We don’t all offer the same thing.  Just as we all come from varied backgrounds, we don’t all offer the same services.  Some investigators only conduct surveillance.  They do it often and do it well.  Others offer adoption-related searches.  Still others specialize in fraud investigations or are awesome at locating assets.  The point is, whatever your need may be as an attorney, you can find an investigator who will match up perfectly.  If it’s a fraud case you need help with, you can find a fraud investigator.  If it’s a case that requires in-depth social media attention, you can find a social media specialist.  Is it surveillance you need?  Enlist help from an investigator who has logged hundreds or thousands of hours of surveillance.  Just as attorneys offer specialty areas to their clients, so do investigators.
  3. We cannot guarantee results.  If you find an investigator who guarantees you the results you are seeking, drop him or her like a hot potato and find an investigator who will be honest and tell you they may or may not be able to find the answers you are seeking.  It’s just not reality to guarantee specific results as an investigator.  Even though I might have a 99% success rate in locating people, what if your case is the 1% after I’ve boasted to you that I can find anybody, anywhere, anytime?  Any investigator who touts that BS has pride issues and just wants to look good to clients.  What CAN any good investigator guarantee?  We can guarantee that we will do everything within legal limits and the budget you’ve provided us to find the answers you are seeking.  We can guarantee honesty, good communication, and stellar efforts in using our expertise to assist you with your case.
  4. Everything we do is 100% legal.  I had an attorney say to me, “I don’t want to hear about how you get your information.  Don’t tell me!  I don’t want to know.”  He was totally implying that we (private investigators) sometimes use illegal methods to get results.  I was shocked!  I’m sure there are private investigators out there who break the law in order to get results, just as there are dishonest people in every industry.  But I can assure you that I am not one of them, nor are the strong network of investigators I know.  Private investigators who work legally and completely above-board will not hesitate to tell you where their information comes from, how they work, or what methods they use.  Look for investigators who are licensed, insured, and reputable.
  5. Our reputation, unfortunately, proceeds us.  Give us a chance anyway.  Most of us do not at all fit the mold of the typical investigator that is displayed in movies, television shows, and literature.  We are not dirty, sneaky PI’s who hide out in the bushes with our cameras and break any laws we have to break in order to be successful with our cases.  We are also, unfortunately, not all Magnum PI’s either.  Sorry to disappoint.  I’m a 30-something wife and a mother with a home office who happens to also be a killer private investigator.  Most of us are intelligent, albeit slightly nerdy, folks who use our specialized skills to hunt down the facts for our clients.  Simple as that.
  6. We are not just an expensive Google search.  Today, it is true that there are so many more resources at our fingertips via our computers and telephones.  Anyone can perform a Google search for “background report” and find sites that offer “comprehensive background reports” for a reasonably cheap price tag. Anyone can search Facebook themselves for facts about the person for which they are seeking information.  The truth is that those cheap online background reports are filled with old, inaccurate, and incomplete information.  And even a fairly savvy self-proclaimed searcher can’t compete with a private investigator with a state license, specialized training, years of experience, and private resources that are much more comprehensive than those available to the public.
  7. Chances are, your practice would benefit from bringing a private investigator onto your team.  Whether you are a solo practitioner, belong to a small firm, or are a member of a very large team of attorneys, you can benefit from the services of a private investigator.  In an earlier blog post, I listed 30 different areas where private investigators can be of assistance.  Read it here.
  8. We are very hard workers and good at what we do.  Anytime I’m not doing work for a client, I am learning more about my industry and further honing my craft.  In the private investigation industry, new and improved resources and research methods are being developed at lightning pace.  Just to stay in this business, we have to continuously develop, improve, and add to our repertoire of skills.  Private investigation is not for the faint-hearted.  Those who don’t operate at the top of their game find themselves quickly lagging behind and unable to maintain the pace necessary for success.
  9. We enjoy working with attorneys.  You all are my favorite clients.  You have a better grasp of how we operate after just one conversation with you.  You get it.  Once you learn about the array of benefits we can provide to you, you’re all in.  You are easy to work with, direct in your instruction and expectations, and you often give us repeat business.  You’re helping us out and we are helping you out.
  10. We can make your job easier.  To put it into as few words as possible, private investigators can save you and/or your office staff research time by conducting directed, professional research for you.  And we can often provide it at a lower price tag for your clients, which they will certainly appreciate.  Private investigators can often find what legal secretaries, paralegals, and attorneys cannot, so we increase your chances for favorable outcomes with your cases.

Now that you have a better grasp on the private investigation industry, conduct some research and find a private investigator who would be a good match for you and the services you provide to your clients.  Use my handy tips for finding the perfect PI for you, start working with your chosen PI, then pat yourself on the back for making your life a little easier.