From IPE: Investigative Tips for Paralegals

Investigative Tips for Paralegalsguest author: Sheridan Shauntee, MSPP

Purpose: Whether compiling documents for discovery, interviewing prospective clients, parties to a case, or witnesses, the role of the paralegal in the capacity of investigator is to assist the attorney in fact gathering to determine the validity of an entity of interest, or issues of a case.

The following may be used as a guide for investigations:

Use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Request in writing from governmental agencies public records: driving histories, postal change of addresses, municipal and civil involvement, property information, and licensing to assist in gathering pertinent information.

Use the Internet (free and fee services)

Discern between the free and fee based information available depending on type of information needed both free and fee services may not provide the information most relevant for investigation purpose, specifically free sites in regards to accuracy.

Social Media Searches, even if limited: photos, video, posts, and comments, provide some insight on an entities’ activities.

Research databanks, such as Westlaw, can assist by pulling from multiple sources to create an entity profile faster than multiple written public records requests.

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