by David B. Parker & Pierre Pine, Parker Mills & Patel LLP
Ethical Considerations for Attorneys Who Hire Private Investigators in the Wake of Pellicano
The recent indictments of private investigator, Anthony Pellicano and Terry Christensen, managing partner of a prominent Century City-based law firm prove that attorneys should engage private investigators with caution.
It is often said that a good attorney never asks a question to which he or she does not already know the answer. For many attorneys the information on which they rely for knowing those answers is based on the work of private investigators. Indeed, while in most litigation settings, the majority of factual information comes from the client and eventually from the other party, private investigators can be useful, if not essential tools for finding and providing attorneys with independent information and objective evidence. Investigators are regularly engaged by attorneys in various assignments, including conducting surveillance, locating and interviewing potential witnesses, service of process, and locating assets. However, the recent indictment of Anthony Pellicano (“Mr. Pellicano”), the former “P.I. to the stars,” and the subsequent indictment of Terry Christensen (“Mr. Christensen”), (the managing partner in the prominent Century City
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