How to Find an Ethical Private Investigator

Management Resources, Private Investigations, Attorney Work Project

The time has come to look for a private investigator, whether it be for a criminal defense case, surveillance, corporate or insurance fraud. It’s good advice to hire an attorney first, then have the law firm hire the investigator. When the investigator becomes part of the attorney work product information becomes part of attorney/client privilege and offers the client better protection.

Thumbing through the phone book or searching online isn’t always the best way to determine whether your private investigator will have the ability, or the ethics, to handle your case.

To begin the search for the best private investigator for your case, ask the advice of your attorney, or trusted friends. Another source of information could be your local law enforcement agency, district attorney’s office, or closest FBI office.

There are some key elements that should be included in the search for the best private investigator for your individual needs.


While the majority of states have specific requirements to become a licensed private investigator, others have little or no requirements. In some cases, anyone can take the title “private investigator” and work, charging fees which may not produce expected results.

Check with your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs for information on what is required to be a private investigator and if licensing is required.

The importance of licensing is the higher standard and requirements which need to be met including education, experience and background.

Background and Experience

Often retired or former employees of law enforcement agencies choose to begin a new career path in private investigations. Although not a requirement, these candidates bring years of training and experience with them that can overlap into good investigative skills.

Education or a degree in criminal justice from an accredited school is also an advantage when interviewing candidates to take your case.

A good private investigator, and their agency, will have a clean background with no disciplinary actions or complaints, as well as good references from former clients.

Fees, Expenses, and Where to Meet

A private investigator should openly discuss fees and not pressure a prospective client. They should perform a cursory review of the case to determine if they are the best fit, and if they have the needed expertise to handle all aspects of the investigation.

Fees should be outlined in detail, given to the client to review, and possible further expenses should have prior approval.

A private investigator should work out of a physical office. Anyone who doesn’t have a physical address, using a PO box, or meets with clients at other locations may not be the professional you want to hire to handle your case.

A client should come away from an initial meeting feeling confident that the private investigator has their best interests in the forefront and will work their case with confidence and professionalism. They should feel a rapport with the agency and the investigator, and comfortable enough to ask questions.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email


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Members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Regional Directors, Investigating Innocence
investigating innocence, management resources, bill clutter, bob rahn, kim anklin
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