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The Utah Gumshoe: 3 Tips for Attorneys Hiring Private Investigators

The Utah Gumshoe: 3 Tips for Attorneys Hiring Private Investigators

Listen: 3 Tips for Attorneys Hiring Private Investigators

When it comes to legal proceedings, an ethical and professional private investigator can often spell the difference between success or failure. Before retaining the services of a private eye, there are several tips attorneys and legal professionals should consider:

Jack of All Trades... Master of None

Most private investigators, like attorneys, specialize in certain types of investigations. Therefore, the first of the 3 tips for attorneys hiring private investigators, is to make sure you hire a detective with experience in your particular area of interest. You wouldn’t want to hire a private eye that specializes in workers compensation fraud to handle a forensic accounting investigation. That would be like using an immigration attorney in a criminal defense case. You wouldn’t like the results. Most private eyes specialize in two or three different areas. The exception to this would be private investigators that operate in primarily rural areas or in states with lower levels of population, such as South Dakota or Wyoming, for example. Out of necessity, these investigators usually offer more general services then their counterparts based in high population states.

Privileged Work Product

As an attorney, it’s often easier to have clients hire the private investigator directly. It’s one less headache to deal with. But the truth is that would be a mistake, especially if litigation is anticipated. The second of the 3 tips for attorneys hiring private investigators is that the attorney hire the detective directly. By doing so anything the investigator finds is considered privileged work product and, in most cases, is exempt from discovery.

And finally,

Just the Facts Ma'am

The last of the 3 tips for attorneys hiring private investigators concerns the investigator’s final report. The report should contain the facts and should be devoid of inference and presumption. No supposition. No speculation. The report should detail the cold hard facts of the investigation and not contain conjecture or assumptions. This is often easier said then done. I can tell you that after years on the job private investigators develop almost a sixth sense when it comes to human nature. There’s a tendency for private eyes to want to include hunches or theories in the report. This often involves deductive reasoning that can be particularly valuable to the attorney. There’s nothing wrong with relaying this information to the attorney verbally, especially if it is, as Rex Stout’s fictional detective Nero Wolfe said, “…intelligence guided by experience.” However, the report itself, should be free of theory. The single exception may be a paragraph at the end of the report containing recommendations or conclusions. There are obviously more tips to consider when it comes to hiring a private investigator. But these three tips are a good start.

This is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe, reminding you the game…if afoot!

About The Utah Gumshoe Podcast

Scott B. Fulmer The Utah Gumshoe

The Utah Gumshoe Podcast follows the real-life exploits, riveting case stories, investigative tips and insightful advice of Scott Fulmer, The Utah Gumshoe. Scott is a 20 year veteran Utah private investigator, surveillance expert and President/CEO of Utah Gumshoe, a private investigation firm based in Salt Lake City.

He has written numerous articles on investigative and surveillance techniques that have appeared in PInow.com and other industry journals. He is a decorated combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he served with the famous 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Whether you're a novice or an experienced investigator this is the podcast for you.

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