Licensed Professional Investigators receive new cases in a variety of ways. We at Management Resources Ltd of NY are contacted by attorneys as well as their clients seeking the services of our investigative staff. Many times the attorney will contact us and say they need our services for a client, but the client will be hiring us directly. Whenever we take on a new case, whether it is criminal or civil, we recommend that the attorney hire us and not the client.
When the attorney hires the investigator as opposed to the client, the investigator becomes part of the attorney’s legal staff and as such written reports containing the investigators opinions, theories, strategy and conclusions are considered “Attorney Work Product”.
In an article written for PI Magazine by Susan Carlson, CLI, CRT entitled ATTORNEY PRIVILEGE VS WORK PRODUCT: WHAT IS PRIVILEGED AND WHAT IS NOT, Ms. Carlson explains the concept of the attorney work product privilege in detail. She also sites relevant case law such as:
The Work Product Doctrine casts a wider tent of protection than the attorney – client privilege. Its purpose is to allow an attorney to prepare for his/her case without fear of the other side knowing what his/her evidence is. Waste Management, Inc., v. International Surplus Lines Insurance Co., 144 Ill2nd 178, 579 NE 2nd 322,329, 161 Ill.Dec. 774(1991), citing Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 91 L.Ed. 451, 67 S.Ct.385 (1947).
The following suggestions are offered for attorneys and investigators in the article:
It is generally accepted that any communication which discusses strategy or which is a continuation of a thought expressed by the attorney is privileged. There are steps to take to assure that your material is not discoverable.
1. On the subject line of your e mail, insert the words ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT -STRATEGY MEMO”. This may serve as a cloak for what is to follow should the communication be called into question. Do not copy email to non- attorneys or others.
2. Work directly for the attorney and not for the ultimate client.
3. Use a service retainer agreement and collect your fees from the attorney- client fund. Include in the service agreement specific direction at the outset, either by separate letter or included in the service agreement, which outline the investigation and expected results.
We hope that you have found this information to be of value and suggest reading Ms. Carlson’s entire article in the April issue of PI Magazine. You can also contact me at: email@example.com
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm Licensed in New York and New Jersey. We are also licensed in Florida as Hudson Valley Protective Services. This blog is for our clients and friends in an effort to keep them abreast of our recent cases, investigative tools and techniques and emerging trends in our profession. We also welcome inquiries from potential new clients that may be contemplating hiring a Private Investigator, but have some questions or concerns about doing so. The investigators of Management Resources Ltd. of New York are here to assist you. Please feel free to participate.