Why Law Firms Should Have a Private Investigator on Retainer 

The results of any court case hinge on facts and evidence. An attorney with the most facts has more tools to leverage their case. Therefore, a sufficient amount of evidence is crucial in preparing for any case. And while an attorney or legal assistant can gather a lot of information, it’s often better to leave that to professional investigators. Cases have been won due to the successful efforts of qualified private investigators.

Of course, not all cases will require the use of private investigators, and firms will have to decide whether they will require the services of a PI on certain cases. Local DUI charges, amicable divorces, and other clear cut cases may not require a PI. However, retaining a PI for more complex cases may be the best investment that the firm makes. A lawyer handling a multinational fraud case may find that having a fraud investigator can be a great asset to the team.

The following reasons are why law firms should have a private investigator on retainer:

Saving on Time and Costs

Simply put, attorneys always have a lot of work to go around, and conducting investigations on their own will add to their considerable load. The investigation will take up time that could have been spent on other casework.

Additionally, while researching public and criminal records, finding and interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and other investigative work could be done by an attorney or legal assistant, these types of work take up many work hours. Few clients are willing to pay for these work hours at an attorney’s going rate. Most clients would either demand that the work be outsourced or even go to a different firm.


By outsourcing the work to qualified PIs, law firms can ensure that their attorneys have more time to devote to handling cases and that their clients’ costs are kept low.

Outsourcing of Experience and Expertise

Just like attorneys, private investigators have different fields of expertise. Whether the case is a fraud, infidelity, or other complex cases, a private investigator specializes in it.

They can analyze a case, find missed details, vet qualified experts in the field or industry, or even advise obscure cases. They often know people in the industry or field that can be of great help to the attorney. They also know how to properly file their reports in the required format for the specific case. Attorneys can tap these qualified PIs for their knowledge and advice, ensuring that they have the necessary information from various experts. This can also allow the attorney to have the flexibility to take on cases that they lack experience in.

Outsourcing of Crucial Skills

No matter how experienced an attorney is, their main expertise is in law. A private investigator can bring in skills that are indispensable to certain legal teams. Some of these include:

  • They can find missing persons and hidden assets.
  • They can reconstruct a crime or accident.
  • They can review existing evidence.
  • They can gather new evidence and know the proper procedure to ensure that they are not tainted and made inadmissible in court.
  • They are trained in interviewing witnesses that would be resistant to questioning.
  • Some of them are experts in surveillance, which can decide a worker’s compensation, divorce, or child custody case.
  • PIs who are experts in computer investigations can give important information in cases where digital devices were involved.
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