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How Lawyers and Private Investigators Work Together

Eric Gehler

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Private investigators play an important role in court cases. In fact, the framework upon which many court cases rest is a result of an investigator's efforts. Tens of thousands of lawyers rely upon individuals who are trained to scrutinize the details surrounding a case, probing for elements that others miss. Often, their expertise yields important information that can help a defending or prosecuting lawyer win their case. Below, you'll discover how a private investigator adds value to the legal process. Plus, we'll explain how to hire an investigator if the need arises.

The Value Of A Private Investigator

Many people have an image of private detectives that is largely a product of film noir. Dark offices visited by mysterious women with the vague promise of danger and intrigue implore the private eye who carefully sips a scotch. . . these are the visions of fiction. In truth, private investigators are hard-working experts who are adept at using computer technology and surveillance techniques. They conduct background checks, uncover hidden details in a person's history and help investigate civil and criminal cases.

Many private detectives have had a fruitful career as police officers. They have an intimate understanding of how the law works and the most effective ways to work within it. Lawyers often hire investigators to question a defendant's friends or family members to help build their case. Their services are hired for divorce cases, child custody battles, insurance fraud and virtually any type of case for which detailed investigation is valuable.

Hiring A Private Investigator

Most states have an official agency that licenses private detectives. Before hiring an investigator, make sure that he is actually licensed. Next, ask him about his experience. If the investigator has enjoyed a long career in law enforcement, that may suggest that he has substantial experience with interviewing people and gathering information. Many private detectives specialize in certain types of legal matters. For example, some may be exceptionally efficient at conducting surveillance for divorce cases. Others work primarily on cases that involve computer crimes.

Don't underestimate the value of trusted referrals. If you're already working with a lawyer, he will likely have reliable private investigators that he prefers to work with. If not, ask other lawyers and attorneys for their recommendations. Because lawyers work closely with private detectives on many types of cases, they can suggest an investigator who can best meet your needs, given your unique circumstances.

The role that private detectives play in the legal process can have a major impact on the outcome of a court case or settlement. Though their work remains mostly in the background, away from the lights and cameras, their efforts and expertise often prove invaluable.

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