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Why should an attorney hire a Private Investigator?

An experienced attorney knows that hiring Private Investigators can be essential to gathering the evidence necessary to make a winning case. In fact, most successful law firms make sure to form a relationship with a reliable Investigator Agency, or at the least maintain an investigative staff to conduct further research on their files and subjects.

Often attorneys hire a PI in order to focus their attention on the legal aspects of the case while the Investigator handles the fieldwork, background checks, and discovers the facts.  For example, Private Investigators can investigate the scene, find witnesses, locate assets, and gather information necessary for cross-examination during trial. With a good investigator, a case can be promptly processed, all while saving the firm time, money, and, perhaps most importantly, revealing any unpleasant surprises that may have been previously unknown.

Here are some reasons law-firms hire an investigator:

1. Save time gathering evidence.  

Attorney and Private Investigator in New York

What do you need to make your case strong? You need evidence.

How will you get this evidence? You have to conduct interviews, find witnesses, and spend hours researching. You can easily waste thousands of dollars and non-billable hours attempting to accomplish this for your clients. But you don’t have to by hiring a knowledgeable, experienced investigator who can take the burden. It won’t be hard to figure out how you can save more (both in time and resources). Trained investigators are often hired to obtain scene photos, interview law-enforcement agents who responded to the scene, and will speak with the parties involved, as well as witnesses.

2. A PI can obtain hard-to-find information. 

New York Private Investigator

If you’re having trouble locating a witness who does not wish to be found, a PI can be your best friend. Investigators often specialize in the art of “skip-tracing,” and with the assistance of sophisticated databases plus the knowledge of developing and following up with sources, they can locate even the most hard-to-find individuals.

A PI can also help you prepare for trial. They can interview your witnesses, ask the right questions based on experience, analyze information, discover new evidence, and even become your collaborative partner. A good Investigator takes pride in their work and can help make your case a success.

3. A PI is experienced with litigation. 

Private Investigator outside New York courthouse

Private Investigators are have a lot of experience handling different types of cases and can share their expertise with you. For example, an experienced PI can help you with financial investigations or finding stolen and hidden assets. Many are also experienced in fraud investigations, such as insurance and accident fraud. Private investigators use programs and software that helps them analyze information about prior insurance claims the subject may have files, as well as any suspicious activity that comes up in the searches.

4. Investigators Conduct Surveillance

Private Investigator meeting with Attorneys

A seasoned investigator is often experienced in surveillance. Surveillance is often conducted discreetly in order to gather evidence on a person by documenting their activities without their knowledge. Surveillance is a powerful tool often used in insurance investigations as well as divorce cases. Investigators become familiar with the target’s neighborhood successfully follow them.

When preparing your case, you can plan to surprise your opponent with evidence they never thought you’d gather, such as new witnesses, video surveillance, or past unreported claims. Only licensed investigators and law enforcement officers have access to several major, national databases and will help uncover this helpful information.

What can a private investigator do for your law firm?

An investigator can help you with the following tasks:

  • Prepare, serve and file legal documents such as contracts, appeals, and affidavits.
  • Conduct research from archived public records and specialized databases.
  • Gather and verify evidence
  • Validate existing evidence.
  • Investigate and recreate crime and accident scenes.
  • Work closely with law enforcement to gather additional facts.

Should You Tell Your Client that You Are Hiring a Private Investigator?

As a lawyer, the confidentiality of each case you are handling is important. Include a clause in your engagement agreement that you may hire investigators to work on their case and that they will be bound by the same confidentiality rules that apply to you. Remember that there are clients who hire PIs before talking to a lawyer as well. This often helps them to decide whether they want to pursue litigation.

When hiring a Private Investigator, you will find it is often helpful to allow your client talk to speak with them directly. There can be information from your client that you might not find relevant as a Lawyer, but that is useful for a PI, and, consequently, useful to securing your next courtroom victory.


With the help of a Private Investigator, you can build a stronger case in a shorter period of time. As a lawyer, you can spend your resources focusing on building theories and themes while letting your PI to do the leg work.

A good PI can provide you with a clear, concise report that you can use in your case. They can also summarize their findings in a way that you and your client can easily understand. As a lawyer, you work hard zealously represent your client, and your PI can help in strengthening your case.

Most law-firms are now taking advantage of the services offered by PIs. Lawyers can take on multiple matters when they have PIs who can handle their outsourced tasks, such as gathering of evidence or locating a witness.

Whether it is a fraud case, criminal, domestic or an accident claim, a PI can be an INVALUABLE resource.  Consider hiring one today.


This article was reviewed by Kristina A. Kiik from the Law Offices of Kristina A. Kiik, PLLC. 

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