Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Attorney investigators (i.e. attorneys who became investigators)

Anyone know of any attorneys who became investigators or cha shitlawsf03/11/19
I looked at this once. It seemed like most people who are an ericcrapton03/12/19
Yeah, the investigators who work for prosecutor offices are onehell03/12/19
There are positions, usually with employment law firms or si toooldtocare03/12/19
Interesting that firms do it too, though it makes sense and onehell03/12/19
I thought it would be work product too, but couldn't figure toooldtocare03/12/19
So they can call 'em FLSA-exempt and work them 100 hours per onehell03/14/19
No doubt,but the folks I knew who did this were the contract toooldtocare03/14/19
shitlawsf (Mar 11, 2019 - 10:26 pm)

Anyone know of any attorneys who became investigators or changed careers from attorney to investigator? How did they do it? Is this a viable route out of the grind of court appearances without completely leaving the law?

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ericcrapton (Mar 12, 2019 - 11:52 am)

I looked at this once. It seemed like most people who are an investigators for attorneys typically had a background in law enforcement, either as a cop or as a private detective. I did not see people with backgrounds in law in this job, although I have seen some lower level positions on USAJobs with the feds that give you a grade level bump for having a J.D.

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onehell (Mar 12, 2019 - 12:00 pm)

Yeah, the investigators who work for prosecutor offices are almost always retired law enforcement. It always pays a lot less than the cop salary did (in my state, think like 60k-ish and there's no OT) but it's a popular gig for them because they're getting a pension on top of the investigator salary, plus in many states they can keep their peace officer certification active that way.

Those offices of course have plenty of lawyers so unless the JD also happens to have been a cop it's probably not all that helpful for getting such a job. In fact, it can be impossible for a non-cop because (in my state at least) they often demand peace officer certification but have no budget to send anyone to the police academy, so the only way in is to have an existing cert that was earned back when they started working at another law enforcement entity.

However, I have seen other, non-criminal government investigator positions where they specifically do want the person to be a lawyer. For example, in my state there's a special administrative agency that is like a mini EEOC that investigates claims of discrimination by employers on the basis of race/sex/etc, both for state law and pursuant to a "work sharing" agreement they had with the federal EEOC. They employed a several people with the specific job title "attorney investigator." These guys were almost always "lifers" so there was very little turnover and the jobs rarely came open, though. Pay wasn't good at all, once again 50s and 60s, but it was just so steady and easy and the benefits were so great that they had no trouble keeping folks.

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toooldtocare (Mar 12, 2019 - 12:35 pm)

There are positions, usually with employment law firms or similar, which advertise only for investigators with JDs. The pay varies a lot from firm to firm; with some you're an employee and with some a contractor. Many of these firms use only JDs as investigators; you'll have to ask them why, but probably so they can hide behind attorney-client if they don't like the results of the investigation. Should add that in addition to the JD, the firms want active bar licensure.
So if you can get a full time job with benefits, etc, may be worth doing. I'm more familiar with JDs who were contract employees-in other words, no benefits. The job turnover in those positions was very high-approaching 100% per year-b/c if there were no cases, you had no work, but if something was important, you were expected to work 50+ hours/week and travel to get it done. Pretty impossible to pay your bills if you didn't know you were going to work for weeks, and almost impossible to run a side law practice if you were assigned a case and told to get on it pronto and drop everything else, maybe for 2-3 weeks at a stretch.

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onehell (Mar 12, 2019 - 1:26 pm)

Interesting that firms do it too, though it makes sense and I know the government does the same in employment discrim. investigations as mentioned above.

That said, I think they'd be wrong to claim attorney/client. It seems to me that the right way to protect the results of your investigation is work product, not privilege, and work product can of course be claimed for any investigator so long as they are acting under the direction of an attorney.

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toooldtocare (Mar 12, 2019 - 2:55 pm)

I thought it would be work product too, but couldn't figure out why it was required to have an active law license.

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onehell (Mar 14, 2019 - 4:53 pm)

So they can call 'em FLSA-exempt and work them 100 hours per week for 40k? lol.

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toooldtocare (Mar 14, 2019 - 5:08 pm)

No doubt,but the folks I knew who did this were the contractor maybe you work this week maybe you don't but be prepared to drop everything if we call people. They were also required to have a license, but none lasted more than a couple of months b/c the work was too sporadic.

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