A lawyer’s life is always busy. Each case requires hours of research and often involves specialist work. Two heads are better than one, and a lawyer and a private investigator working together can be more effective than going it alone.

Private investigation services are increasingly common. The field dates back to at least 1833 when French solider Eugène François Vidocq set up what is believed to be the first detective agency, in Paris, reportedly with the motto: “Hatred of Rogues! Boundless devotion to the trade!”

Private investigators today have the same aim as their predecessors: to help those affected by crime. Since the 19th century procedures have come a long way, technology has developed significantly and private investigators are more efficient than ever.

What services does a private investigator offer?

Investigative services that clients require can vary, but there are some, offered by many agencies, that can be particularly useful for a law firm. These are:

Corporate investigations

A common misbelief is that private investigators are only useful after a crime has been committed – or suspected. Before any contracts are signed with a prospective business partner, the conduct of due diligence is vital. More complexities occur when international borders are involved.

Find out more by reading our case study about corporate investigations in Indonesia.

Cybercrime investigations

Cybercrime is growing. Attacks can come under many guises – often with a cross-border element. Modern private investigation teams can help with cyber security and cyber law enforcement, lending specialist expertise that some law firms may not have.

Insurance fraud investigations

Recent stats show that more than half of businesses worldwide fall victim to fraud, with millions of dollars untracked and unclaimed. A private investigator can help in these cases by following paper trails and tracking down persons of interest.

Find out more by reading our case study about a multimillion dollar embezzlement case.


Private investigators are often surveillance specialists, running covert operations on behalf of law firms. If an employee or business partner is under suspicion during a corporate investigation, an investigator can use high-tech tools and techniques to track and monitor them.

When is the right time to call a private investigator?

The general rule is that the sooner a private investigator is consulted, the better. Early meetings can help shape investigations and uncover evidence that will underpin a case, and win it for the client sooner.

Private investigators are also useful when a law firm is simply too busy. An outside expert can bring a fresh outlook, and an extra pair of hands can keep investigations ticking over.

Investigators can also help in cases where travel is required. It’s often more practical to get outside help to focus on a particular aspect than to send someone away from the office.

Download our free ebook

To find out more about how a private investigator can help with a legal case, download IFW Global’s free ebook. This contains case studies where we have helped law firms with a range of cases, such as embezzlement and international corporate investigations.

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