Legal Investigator

Job Description

Do you enjoy collecting evidence to piece together a story? Then a detail-oriented position as a Legal Investigator may be the ideal occupation for you. 

Unlike “private eyes,” who work directly for members of the public, Legal Investigators report to a specific attorney or law firm. They conduct research in preparation for a lawyer taking a case to trial.

A Legal Investigator is a crucial member of any successful legal team. Investigators visit and document crime scenes, obtain medical or legal records and interview witnesses. Investigators may also testify in court to explain their findings and support their legal team’s case.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Locate and interview key witnesses
  • Collect and examine evidence
  • Prepare evidence for trial
  • Verify evidence before trial
  • Testify in court 
  • Conduct research to help an attorney strategize before a trial

Education and Background

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, political science, or a similar field of study, as well as licensing as a private investigator (in applicable states). Coursework in the legal system is also recommended. 

Skills and Proficiencies 

  • Strong knowledge in civil procedure, statutory and case law, and local rules of court
  • Proficient in preserving, collecting, and admitting evidence 
  • Strong knowledge of forensic science 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Legal Investigator with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $49,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $50,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $47,000
  • Miami, Florida: $40,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $45,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $50,000
  • Houston, Texas: $48,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $44,000
  • New York City, New York: $55,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $60,000
  • Overall: $50,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $54,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $60,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $52,000
  • Miami, Florida: $55,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $56,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
  • Houston, Texas: $60,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $65,000
  • New York City, New York: $66,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $70,000
  • Overall: $59,000

Similar Job Titles

  • Criminal Investigator
  • Security Investigator
  • Internet Investigator
  • Case Investigator
  • Senior Investigator

Career Path

The path to becoming a Legal Investigator begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, political science, or a related field.

Many law firms and legal teams require five years’ experience working in the American legal system. Some states require candidates to pass a written exam to work as a Legal Investigator. Getting licensed as a Certified Legal Investigator is a great way to jumpstart a career as a Legal Investigator. 

Position Trends

As more confidential information is readily stored online and in other digital spaces, Legal Investigators will need to familiarize themselves with emerging technologies to encrypt and protect files from theft. 

Legal Investigators must also be more mindful of digital spaces when searching for evidence. Staying plugged into where and how the public interacts online — including on emerging social media platforms — will be crucial to completing thorough investigations.  

Jobs Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for Legal Investigators are projected to grow eight percent through 2028 — faster than the national average. 

Typical Hours

The work hours for a Legal Investigator are typically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, at times, longer or different hours may be necessary, especially when preparing for an upcoming trial.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Law Jobs
  • Law Crossing

Are You Interested in Becoming a Legal Investigator?

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