What Does a Legal Investigator Do?
A legal investigator is much like a private investigator, but they report to a specific lawyer or law firm. Legal investigators work to find out information that could be useful in a law case that their lawyers are building against a person or entity. Their roles may include visiting crime scenes and documenting behaviors or other notable items, obtaining records, interviewing witnesses, making calls to set up appointments, and testifying in court as experts when needed.
Legal investigators are crucial members of their team. They must be extremely detail-oriented and trustworthy and have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They may work long hours or atypical schedules, so those looking to become legal investigators should be prepared to be on call, especially during an important case.
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National Average Salary
Legal investigator salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Legal Investigator is:
Legal Investigator Job Descriptions
The first step when hiring a great legal investigator is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.
Legal investigators provide services to the public, law firms, insurance companies, banks, and law enforcement agencies. They use techniques such as surveillance, research, and other tools to gather, analyze, and report on information about personal, financial, and legal matters. Legal investigators have keen communication and listening skills, strong analytical ability, and good presentation skills. [Your Company Name] needs a strong legal investigator who can join our team and help our company with legal matters. If you have experience collecting and analyzing information that can be used in trials or litigation, you might be a perfect fit for our opening as a legal investigator.
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 experience
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.
Required skills and qualifications
- 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
ABC Company’s civil litigation firm seeks an Investigator for our (City, State) office.
- Interview clients about their work history and exposure to asbestos
- Locate and interview witnesses
- Research clients’ work history and work sites to determine what asbestos products were present and how they correlate to the work function
- Perform extensive internal, library, and online searches
- Attend and perform document reviews to identify relevant and useful documents
- Ability to work under pressure due to time and content-sensitive deadlines
- Strong computer skills
- Experience with legal research and interview skills and techniques is preferred
- Must be able to work independently and as part of a team to establish and foster working relationships with attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and legal assistants
- Detail-oriented with the ability to analyze and problem solve
- Prior work experience in construction, automotive, industrial, shipbuilding, law enforcement, or similar trade profession is preferred. Experience in plaintiff-side litigation is strongly desired
In this position, as a neutral fact-finder, you will conduct investigations into allegations of individuals and businesses involved in activities that are in violation of (the State’s) consumer protection laws and regulations. You will work independently under general supervision and perform a full range of investigative assignments. Investigations typically include researching and gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, writing citations, thoroughly documenting the investigative process, and participating in administrative hearings. You may serve as an expert witness and conduct undercover investigations. In this position, you are not required to respond to situations involving threats to public safety or perform duties that consist of actively preventing or detecting crime, or perform duties that primarily provide community protection, and you do not obtain warrants of arrest.
- Conducting investigations
- Maintaining detailed records, preparing reports, and drafting legal documents
- Interacting with consumers, businesses, attorneys, and other government agencies
- Ensuring compliance with state statutes and rules
- Facilitating resolutions of consumer complaints
- Initiating legal action and negotiating settlement agreements
- Acting as an expert witness in administrative and judicial proceedings
- Tactfully and calmly handling conflict
Ideal investigators will have
- Excellent communication skills
- The ability to thrive while balancing multiple priorities and cases
- The ability to apply strong analytical skills in determining violations of the law
- Exceptional writing skills
- Juris Doctorate
- Bachelor’s degree or higher
- Investigative experience
- Experience analyzing and applying laws
- The ability to speak clearly, concisely, and effectively
- The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas as presented verbally
- The ability to use case management software systems
- The ability to use computer relational database software
- The ability to deal with people in a manner that shows sensitivity, tact, and professionalism
- Knowledge of agency, professional, and/or industry standards and practices
- Knowledge of interviewing techniques
- Knowledge of investigative techniques and processes
- Knowledge of civil and criminal justice laws
- Knowledge of legal processes and procedures
Purpose of the role
As a Financial Crimes Investigator, you will be responsible for identifying and monitoring Financial Crime activities such as fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing. You will be conducting investigations and reporting findings to the relevant US authorities. You will play a critical role in protecting ABC Company and its customers and ensuring the company meets its regulatory obligations.
- Conduct 2nd level investigations from alerts generated by ABC Company monitoring systems as well as alerts raised by front-line teams.
- Drive and facilitate the continued optimization of Financial Crimes detection systems by way of rule reviews, trend analysis, and customer & threat profiling
- Monitor and communicate volume and quality metrics
- Think critically about the customer’s activity vs. the customer’s profile
- Engage with external partners, consortiums, and other financial institutions to exchange knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of Financial Crime trends
- Manage comprehensive investigations through to reporting to the applicable governing authorities
- Ensure maintenance of thorough investigation records
- Work in conjunction with other areas of the organization to design and implement changes to processes and procedures
- Update and train on internal documentation on work processes
- Support the development and enhancement of the Financial Crimes team
- Supporting and providing feedback to junior financial investigators/team members
- Delivering training and communicating financial crime updates to the wider business
- Contribute to a high standard of service to all internal/external clients
- 3+ years experience in Financial Crimes investigations ideally within the financial sector
- Knowledge of current Risk, Anti-Fraud, and Anti-Money Laundering obligations and frameworks
- Understanding of red flags, criminal typologies, and trends
- Ability to investigate, make logical findings, and clearly articulate those findings
- Ability to prioritize work and resources, keeping business objectives at the forefront of the decision-making process
- Strong stakeholder management and problem-solving skills
- Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, with the capability to articulate complex technical information
- Ability to maintain high standards of accuracy and work under pressure to achieve deadlines
- Demonstrated self-initiative and ability to work unsupervised
- High level of personal integrity, commitment to confidentiality, and privacy principles
- Experience working closely with an operational function and frontline staff
- Technical skills, MS Office Suite (Intermediate)
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Certified Legal Investigator. The National Association of Legal Investigators sets national certification standards for legal investigators and awards the Certified Legal Investigator credential to candidates who meet professional requirements, including 5+ years of experience and pass rigorous written and oral examinations.
- Professional Certified Investigator (PCI). The PCI credential is offered by ASIS International, the world’s largest membership organization for security management professionals. This certification demonstrates a candidate’s select skills in security investigations, including case evaluation and review of options for case management strategies, and validates their ability to collect information through the effective use of surveillance, interviews, and interrogations. Eligible candidates must have 3 to 5 years of investigations experience, depending on the level of education attained, and 2 years of case management.
How to Hire a Legal Investigator
Consider the following when hiring a legal investigator:
- Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
- Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
- Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. When hiring a legal investigator, we recommend the following options:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder when hiring a legal investigator:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- Do you have any professional certifications that may be valuable?
- Give an overview of your experience working on criminal defense cases, personal injury cases, and corporate litigation cases.
- What is your approach to interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence?
- How do you identify and locate potential witnesses?
- Can you tell me about a particularly challenging case you worked on and how you overcame it?
- How do you typically assist attorneys during trials or other legal proceedings?
- What is your experience as an expert witness in court?
- When managing multiple cases simultaneously, how do you ensure that each case receives the attention and resources it deserves?
- In a time-sensitive situation, how do you strike a balance between thorough investigations and meeting strict deadlines?