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Investigations by lawyers are an essential element of most litigation.
Lawyers investigate the parties and the facts underlying the case through the use of third-party investigators, online searches, obtaining public records, seeking the production of electronic communications, including text messages, and much more. Also, lawyers sometimes need to investigate their own clients – to assure themselves of the veracity of certain representations or when the lawyer suspects the client may be actively misleading the lawyer.
These investigations are not without risk. Ethics rules limit what lawyers can do and say, and how the work product of these investigations may be used.
This program provides a practical guide to ethical issues when lawyers conduct investigations.
- Duty of an attorney to investigate a case before filing a lawsuit
- "Pre-texting" – the ethics of deception in investigations
- Ethical issues when a lawyer investigates a client – and when it is ethically required
- Conflicts of interest in investigations
- Ethical issues in social media and online searches – and obtaining text messages
- Use of third-party investigators
- Limitations on investigating members of a jury or jury pool
- When investigations go awry – discipline, sanctions, exclusion of evidence obtained