How to Choose the Best Corporate Investigation Firm
5 Common Mistakes & Insider Tips for Choosing a Qualified Corporate Investigation Firm
Corporate investigations require tact, skill, strategy, and expertise. If you need to undertake a corporate investigation in order to uncover the source of a data breach or in anticipation of a federal inquiry, or if you need to identify your company’s present risks so that you can manage them effectively, you need to be able to rely on the advice of experienced lawyers and expert investigators who can quickly gather, digest, and explain everything you need to know.
When it is time to conduct an internal investigation, you cannot rely on just any corporate investigation firm. You need to know that the firm you have chosen has the capabilities required to do the job effectively, and you need its lawyers and investigators to be able to hit the ground running. You need to feel confident placing your trust, and you need to know that you can rely on the findings of the investigation without reservation.
Corporate Investigations Matter
No corporate investigation is insignificant. Whether conducted as a matter of course or in response to a corporate crisis, every corporate investigation matters. This is true not only with regard to the outcome of the investigation, but with regard to the investigative process as well.
In an ideal scenario, an internal corporate investigation will reveal that the company’s policies and procedures are sufficiently comprehensive and have been well-implemented throughout all levels of the organization. The investigation will demonstrate full compliance with applicable law, and it will confirm that the company is managing its risk effectively.
Of course, in many cases, the need to conduct a corporate investigation arises under less-than-ideal circumstances. In many cases, the need arises in response to a threat to the company’s finances—if not its viability as a going concern. In these scenarios, a corporate investigation serves several critical purposes, and ensuring that the investigation is sufficiently comprehensive, that it is thoroughly documented (in a manner that preserves the attorney-client privilege), and that it produces the necessary information are all of utmost concern.
Mistakes to Avoid When You Need to Conduct a Corporate Investigation or Your Company is in Crisis
With all of this in mind, when choosing a corporate investigation firm, there are several critical mistakes companies need to avoid. Here are five mistakes to avoid if you need to hire an outside firm to conduct an internal corporate investigation:
Mistake #1: Choosing a Firm with Inadequate Experience
When conducting an internal corporate investigation, experience matters. From knowing what to look for to knowing how to look for it, virtually all aspects of the investigative process require knowledge that can only be gained from experience in the field. As a result, when choosing a corporate investigation firm, it is imperative to choose a firm that has specific – and extensive – experience in your company’s area of need.
Here, too, it is important to note that not all corporate investigations are alike. Conducting a routine compliance audit is very different, for example, from investigating the source of a data security breach or the theft of company trade secrets. Both of these are equally important (and equally complex), but they both involve very different priorities, protocols, and procedures.
Mistake #2: Choosing a Firm with Inadequate Personnel and Resources
Conducting an internal corporate investigation requires a team of highly-skilled personnel. It also requires state-of-the-art technological resources and capabilities. When choosing a corporate investigation firm, it is important to inquire about the firm’s staff and resources: How many lawyers and investigators work at the firm? How many of them are available to work on your company’s investigation? What resources will the firm deploy to ensure that the investigation is comprehensive, secure, and fully documented? These are all answers you need to know.
Mistake #3: Choosing a Firm that Cannot Preserve the Attorney-Client Privilege
A critical aspect of the investigative process that often gets overlooked is the essential importance of preserving the attorney-client privilege. If the attorney-client privilege is not preserved, then any information uncovered during the investigation will potentially be discoverable in ensuing litigation or federal law enforcement proceedings. This is a major concern, and it is one that needs to be addressed from the outset of the investigative process.
Once the attorney-client privilege has been breached, there is no going back. Not only is there no way to protect the information that has been released, but the entire privilege can potentially be lost as well. As a result, before doing anything that could potentially lead to the discovery of information that your company might not want coming out in a lawsuit or federal law enforcement inquiry, it is imperative to engage a corporate investigation firm that can help to protect any information that might come to light.
Mistake #4: Making a Decision Based on Geographic Location
In today’s world, there is no need to choose a corporate investigation firm based on geographic location. Relevant experience is far more important than locale, and a corporate investigation firm with the right personnel and the right resources can provide cost-effective service regardless of where its offices are located. At Mach Investigations, we have personnel in our main office, but we also have lawyers and investigators stationed in various major cities across the country. We have the technological resources required to do much of our work remotely, and we can also have personnel on-site at our clients’ locations within a matter of hours in most cases.
Mistake #5: Making a Decision Based on Limited Information
Whether you are seeking to proactively manage your company’s risk or you need to launch an investigation as soon as possible in response to a corporate emergency, you need to make an informed decision. Simply reviewing a corporate investigation firm’s website and then picking up the phone is not enough. If you need to engage an outside firm to conduct a corporate investigation, we encourage you to contact us 24/7, and we will be more than happy to answer your questions and explain why Mach Investigations is the right firm to get the job done.
Insider Tips for Choosing a Qualified Corporate Investigation Firm
So, those are five things you don’t want to do when choosing a corporate investigation firm. Now, what do you want to do in order to ensure that you are making the right decision? Here are our five insider tips for choosing a qualified corporate investigation firm:
Tip #1: Choose a Corporate Investigation Firm with Former Federal Agents and Prosecutors
How would you feel if your company was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)? Now, how would you feel if DOJ prosecutors or FBI agents were working for you? Former federal agents and prosecutors who have deep experience in high-level investigations can help your company quickly make informed decisions.
Tip #2: Choose a Corporate Investigation Firm with a National Presence
Again, in today’s world, geographic location does not matter. What does matter is that you choose a corporate investigation firm that has the personnel, capabilities, and resources required to hit the ground running. A firm that advises companies on a national level is far more likely to offer what your company needs than a local firm with a far more limited capacity.
Tip #3: Choose a Corporate Investigation Firm that Can Get Started Immediately
If you have to wait for an initial consultation, or if it takes several days to start the investigative process, this generally is not going to be a good sign for things to come. When you need to conduct an internal corporate investigation, you do not have time to wait, and you need to choose a firm that is prepared to get to work immediately.
Tip #4: Make Sure the Lines of Communication are Open
In this same vein, it is important to for the lines of communication to be open. You should have direct access to the firm’s senior personnel at all times, and you should be able to quickly establish a comfortable working relationship. If it feels like you aren’t getting your message through when you communicate (or if you literally are not getting through), then the process is not going to go smoothly, and it probably is not going to produce an optimal result.
Tip #5: Make Sure All of Your Questions are Answered
Regardless of your experience as a corporate executive or in-house counsel, you are going to have questions about the investigative process—and you need to make sure you get your questions answered. We recommend asking lots of questions before you engage a firm to conduct your company’s internal investigation, as this will give you some insight into what you can expect during the process.
Speak with a Member of the Team at Mach Investigations Today
Do you need to conduct an internal corporate investigation? If so, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about the personnel and resources at Mach Investigations. To speak with a member of our team in confidence, call 866-352-9324 or inquire online now.