Q: What's the difference between a "legal investigator" and a "private investigator"?
A: I adhere to the standards of The National Association of Legal Investigators™.
On their website they offer the following description of a "legal investigator": "Legal investigators are licensed private investigators or law firm staff investigators who specialize in preparing cases for trial for attorneys.
Their job is to gather information and evidence which advance legal theories to benefit the client’s case. The legal investigator must possess knowledge of statutory and case law, local rules of court, civil procedure, forensic sciences, techniques of evidence collection, and its preservation and admissibility.
Legal investigators assist attorneys by reviewing police reports and discovery materials, analyzing and photographing crime or accident scenes, interviewing parties and witnesses, performing background investigations, preparing documentary and demonstrative evidence, recommending experts, and testifying in court.
Legal investigators must exhibit the highest standards or professional and ethical conduct." (From the National Association of Legal Investigators™ website at www.nalionline.org,"Legal Investigator Defined".)
"Although many of the tasks that a person knowledgeable of legal investigations can be done by a private investigator, the legal investigator has a more refined knowledge and experiences of what is necessary in the legal community."
Q: Can you really find someone, such as a witness? How?
A: Yes, I can. We’ve had some pretty remarkable cases with really good results.
Finding someone is not a science, it’s an art. Our staff has a unique ability to find small, seemingly inconsequential bits of information and put them together into a bigger picture.
Every case is different and the methods I use are closely guarded. I never rely on one method and I use the “Check, recheck and then verify” principle.
I access over 23 different databases that are designed specifically to find people, and I access data that’s not available to you on the internet.
I use a variety of tools, including: proprietary databases, subscription services, cell phone records, locating people who have new (or recently changed) cell phones, “pinging” cell phones, cell phone data analysis, and many sources which may not have occurred to you.
Q: How do I get in touch with you?
A: See the "Contact Us" tab for my phone, fax numbers, and mailing address.
I am available 24-hours-a day and can be reached by phone at any hour.
I know this is unusual but I feel that if there is a question in your mind that is bothering you late at night, then I feel it’s important enough for me to answer.
Q: Does a single investigator do everything?
A: That is a Yes and No answer. I have had a team of investigators working for me over the last 14 years.
That team is still available to me however most of the work on your case will be conducted by me and at the very least I will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing all investigative efforts.
I may use outside resources depending on the issues involving your case but I am directly responsible for these efforts.
Q: How long does an investigation take?
A: All assignments are completed as quickly as possible, with the understanding that our attorney-clients operate under closely determined schedules for hearings, depositions, filing deadlines, and mediations.
Each case is unique and requires a different strategy for completion.
For instance, witness interviews are often dependent upon the availability and schedule of the witness(es); documents may not be immediately or locally available; collision or crime scenes may have altered over time.
Therefore, turnaround time is frequently determined by factors not always within our control. I am flexible enough to be able to work cases on short notice. Every case has its own issues and sometimes being limited on time is one of them.
Give us a call and I will figure out a way to help.
Regardless, all assignments are initiated on receipt. I strive for prompt completion of our cases and will do our very best to insure you get the quality responses you deserve.
Clients are updated with interim reports, e-mails, and telephone calls, as necessary.
Attorneys are encouraged to contact our office or our field investigators at any time they have a question or new information.
Our investigators are encouraged to contact the client from the field when new and important information is developed.
Q: Do you work directly for an attorney or for the client?
A: It depends. I do both.
Some situations make it tactically better that I am hired by and work directly for the attorney. That overcomes some issues referred to as ‘work product”.
Other times that protection may not be needed or maybe the client came to me first and I referred them to the attorney.
I try to discuss the merits of each position before we formalize any relationship.
Q: What kind of background investigations do you conduct?
A: I have conducted background investigations for military and civilian individuals who are seeking Top Secret Security Clearances for years. I am well versed in those types of investigations as well as those needed for court or case preparation purposes.
My background investigations cover a wide range of services. It really depends on your definition of ‘background investigation”:
- You might be trying to find out about that guy/gal that is going to be a witness.
- To some people they simply want to know if someone else has ever been arrested.
- Or it might be to uncover financial irregularities.
- Some cases might mean complete verification of an employment application and resume.
- Still others require that we go and physically talk to acquaintances, neighbors, former employers, business references and anyone else who has ever known them.
I recommend you call me and explain what you are looking for and what your goals are so that I can better match our services with your needs.
Q: Can you guarantee you will get results?
A: Absolutely not. I never guarantee any kind of results.
My work ethic is to find you answers because I know you need them but I don’t ‘create’ answers.
I will give 110% effort to get you the information you want and need and I will do everything in my power to help your case. I just cannot promise anything.
Q: How are you paid?
A: I prefer to be paid directly by the client but I am willing to discuss alternative arrangements, such as payment through the attorney.
I do require a retainer at the start of our services.
Q: What are your fees?
A: I do not charge for initial consultations.
Some fees I can spell out pretty easily. Other times it’s more complicated than a simple list.
For instance: Some of our database searches are based on the amount of information you want. For instance a basic search has one set price and it includes searches such as: United States Court Records, County Real Estate Records, County Criminal Court Records, County Civil Courts Records, County Domestic Court Records, County Probate Records, County Marriage License Records, County Voter Registration Records, Voter Registration Records Statewide, State Police Crash Records,Addresses, Other people living at the address, Possible Roommates, Newspaper Archives, Vehicles, Possible Fictitious Business Names, Bankruptcies, Tax Liens, Civil Judgments, FAA Licensed Pilots, Possible Aircraft Ownership, Possible Significant Shareholders ,Possible DEA Controlled Substance Licenses, Possible Federal Firearms and Explosives Licenses, Sex Offender Records, Warrants, and Death Index.
If you want more information I recommend the ‘prime’ search. It includes verification of the information and not just reporting what our databases find.
I do customized searches for selected purposes that go much greater in detail and the cost is proportionately higher.
All investigative services are estimated based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
I don’t guarantee or quote exact pricing because I have found that most cases change at some point during the process. I have found that my estimates are generally within 10% (plus or minus) of the eventual price.
Please call for details.
Q: What is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)?
A: Certified Fraud Examiners are financial investigators trained to detect and prevent fraud.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFESM) awards the CFE® designation to individuals who complete a rigorous curriculum and pass a challenging examination that can take several months to complete.
Fraud examiners help businesses protect themselves by uncovering unscrupulous employees, executives, or vendors who take advantage of inadequate company controls for their own gain.
I have been a CFE for over 20 years.