The Pellican’s Mess

By September 11, 2007 Investigations

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
based law firm Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro),1 demonstrates that attorneys who  engage private investigators should proceed with caution.

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Contact Author: David B. Parker & Pierre Pine, Parker Mills & Patel LLPEmail Author

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