Your paralegals, legal secretaries - and even associate attorneys - are not trained investigators. Sure, they are pretty good at searching databases, but do they have experience massaging the hundreds of databases that are available. Plus, most law firms don't have access to the investigative databases available to a professional private investigator. Lexis does not treat everybody the same. Just because your paralegal (or you) has access to Lexis, doesn't mean they have access to the same data. And if you're searching databases such as Colorado's court index, do you know how to massage the input criteria in such a way as to provide the best information available? A trained investigator does. So using your in-house staff to perform the function of a private investigator puts your case at risk because they could me something that we won't.
You have a potential case. Perhaps you need to weigh the merits of the case before accepting it. A private investigator delivers some quick assessments that you can base a decision upon, such as whether a potential defendant has assets worth pursuing. A simple asset check can quickly determine if they have any net value or are worthless to begin with (and what good is a judgment if you can't collect?). Perhaps your potential client's version of the facts isn't exactly what happened. A private investigator can get to the heart of the matter in an unbiased, factual manner so that you can develop a winning legal strategy - instead of changing tactics in mid stream because of a surprise handed to you just weeks from trial. Or maybe you've taken the case, but can't find the defendant. You're dead in the water until that person is served with due process. A private investigator finds that person and gets your case moving.
Your staff has plenty on their plate without adding the burden of investigating your case. Case management, drafting correspondence, calendar deadlines and filing documents on time, drafting pleadings, preparing discovery, and attending to the multitude of office matters (many paralegals where the "office manager" hat in addition to their professional responsibilities). But a private investigator has but one task - finding the answer to your questions about the case at hand.
How much are you paying your paralegal, legal secretary or even associate attorney? How much is your own time worth? A private investigator can produce an investigative product in a fraction of the time it takes your staff to accomplish the same thing. The money you pay your staff is for productivity in other areas - not investigating a case.
And at the end of the day, it's about winning the case. Winning equals profits. A private investigator gives you the information that you need in order to litigate your client's case with a mindset on winning.
We've all heard the term, "following a lead". It is the quintessential hallmark of a great investigator. Understanding the relationships between abstract pieces of information and putting them together so that you can build your case on facts and not supposition. A great private investigator sees the potential of additional defendants, finds additional witnesses through effective interviewing techniques, and sheds light on areas that weren't thought of when the case began.
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