The Best Kept Secret in Family Law

November 13, 2023
Axis Geffen

Article written by Axis Geffen

When I first started accepting Family Law clients, I was surprised to find that the one thing that the majority of clients and countless lawyers had in common was that neither of them knew how valuable involving their law firm was in the investigative stages of their claims. Sure, they both understood Abraham Lincoln’s adage “the (person) that represents themself (in court) has a fool for a client”, but neither of them understood the value or litigation privilege or why the relationship of investigator and lawyer is symbiotic.

Investigative Work in Family Law:

Many lawyers conduct a ton of investigative work without ever engaging a PI. Likewise, many clients do research without engaging a PI. When nobody contests that information, everything is considered fair in love and war. However, what about when someone does decide to contest a piece of information? Or more importantly, when someone decides to contest how that information was obtained? That’s where things can become very complicated, very fast, regardless of whether your “facts” are accurate or not.

You see, when clients research for themselves, they’re often motivated by an emotional need to find the “truth”, or at least an answer that fits their storyline or their personal end goal. Clients often tell part of the story or will present “facts” without being prepared to stand up and explain how they obtained their proof. Or worse, they’re overconfident and proud to tell the judge that they know this information because they took their spouse’s phone, illegally accessed its contents, “figured out” their spouse’s banking password and then proceeded to make copies of all of their spouse’s bank records illegally.

Husband looking at wife's phone while she sleeps

Lawyers (like PIs) have a wide variation in skill sets including specific research strengths. So, why then do some Family law firms seem to drastically out class, out research and out win matters compared to others? Very often the difference is the best kept secret of Family Law. They understand the power of litigation privilege.

Litigation Privilege:

Litigation privilege is very much like lawyer-client privilege. It allows free and open communication between the “investigator” and “legal counsel” without a requirement to disclose those findings or to “show your work” for how the answer was derived. It doesn’t exist for any private person or end client that chooses to do the work on their own and it doesn’t apply to any lawyer or clerk that chooses to do the work inhouse. There are very specific conditions, and they require a legal third party (Investigator) acting legally in concert with legal counsel to find those answers.

gavel and magnifying glass

This doesn’t open the doors for an “investigator” to break the law, nor does it let an investigator off the hook if a law is broken. However, it does add extra layers of liability control and allow free collaboration of legal counsel with a qualified third party (the investigator) to research and build your case without prying eyes or premature disclosures. Furthermore, by engaging a qualified third-party investigator, the law firm reduces its liability and when questions are asked or a burden of proof is sought by the court, a qualified investigator can legally speak to these matters without damaging your case or creating financial liability for blurred lines of conduct.

That’s why the best kept secret of Family Law is hiring a credible law firm that you can trust and that is willing to retain qualified third parties to find your answers under the umbrella of privilege to ensure that you get the best and most accurate information without exposing yourself to additional costs and risks. Learn more about how our team can support you as you navigate your family law matter by contacting us today.