What Does a Legal Investigator Do?

a legal investigator taking photographs

The legal system is highly dependent on hard, cold evidence and both defense and prosecuting lawyers usually call upon legal investigators or detectives for this. This ensures that lawyers have all the relevant information, such as testimonies, documents, and records handy when building their case in criminal or civil courts.

Common Job Duties

In general, legal investigators and detectives find facts and evaluate information regarding personal, financial, and legal matters. They also provide different kinds of services such as the following:

  • Interviewing individuals to obtain information
  • Looking for records to unearth clues
  • Performing surveillance
  • Gathering evidence for court presentations
  • Verifying income, employment, and other crucial facts about individuals
  • Investigating information theft and computer crimes

Aside from lawyers, business organizations also call upon private investigators and detectives to conduct background checks or investigate claims of stealing from the company.

These legal professionals make use of various tools when doing their investigations. Majority of their operations is conducted using a computer, which allows them to gain information like contact information, criminal records or arrests, and social media posts. They call pertinent individuals for interviews and verifying facts.

Legal investigators likewise perform surveillance when conducting an investigation. They’ll survey the target’s office or home utilizing binoculars, cameras, and GPS tracking devices among others. In some cases, they might even have to go undercover so that they could better observe suspects.

They should be mindful and knowledgeable of the legal system when performing their investigations. And since they don’t have police powers, they should be highly knowledgeable of local, state, and federal laws, like privacy laws, as well as other legal matters that could directly affect their investigations. Otherwise, the evidence that they gather from their investigations might not be admissible in court.

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Other Vital Information to Keep in Mind

Almost all states require legal investigators and detectives to be licensed, but specific requirements differ from one state to the next. If you’re interested in becoming an investigator, you could undergo legal investigation training courses and certification. While this isn’t required, having certification from relevant organizations demonstrates competence to potential employers and could help advance your career further.