Paralegals with Private Investigators Licence

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Comments (15)

cupidon in Orlando, Florida

44 months ago

Is this beneficial? More pay? Anything? I am in a paralegal degree program now, and my brother is insisting that if I train for and obtain a PI license I will get more job offers from better firms and make more money. I can't find anything about this online, and usually my brother is full of crap - so I'm just wondering what every ones opinion on this is...
Thanks so much for any help/advise you can offer!
J- =)

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mary in Tampa, Florida

44 months ago

I've been in the legal field a long long time. I've never seen an attorney, or law firm, use it's paralegal for private investigator work - simply because it is unethical, biased, prejudical to their case. It is extremely likely whatever the paralegal/investigator uncovered would be thrown out by the Judge because it would be unethical (kind of like the attorney himself snooping in someone's windows or sleeping with the enemy's wife).

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nash345 in New York, New York

44 months ago

mary in Tampa, Florida said: I've been in the legal field a long long time. I've never seen an attorney, or law firm, use it's paralegal for private investigator work - simply because it is unethical, biased, prejudical to their case. It is extremely likely whatever the paralegal/investigator uncovered would be thrown out by the Judge because it would be unethical (kind of like the attorney himself snooping in someone's windows or sleeping with the enemy's wife).
I'm sorry but I don't quite understand what you mean. Having worked in the paralegal field I can say that investigation skills are essential during discovery. Not only that buy those with such skills are highly desired.

In family law we see a growing trend of paralegals being tasked with background checks, asset locating and preliminary financial calculations for use in motions. Some of the best paras I've worked with were either former police or those with investigative backgrounds.

I think the misconception is that private investigators resort to unethical and improper research tactics. In the real world this isn't the case, from what I've experienced. Taking candid photos is "old school."

I'm sure you have good reason for feeling the way you do but I thought a fresh perspective wouldn't hurt. Especially because I'm finding a lot of employers searching for such skill sets. Bottom line: in paralegal studies any legal and legitimate background can work favors for future paralegal endeavors.

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nash345 in New York, New York

44 months ago

Sorry about typos did this on my phone. :)

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Wpfannkuch@comcast.net in Houston, Texas

42 months ago

mary in Tampa, Florida said: I've been in the legal field a long long time. I've never seen an attorney, or law firm, use it's paralegal for private investigator work - simply because it is unethical, biased, prejudical to their case. It is extremely likely whatever the paralegal/investigator uncovered would be thrown out by the Judge because it would be unethical (kind of like the attorney himself snooping in someone's windows or sleeping with the enemy's wife).

Nash you are quite right. Mary... Obviously too long. Most attorneys in Fl. use an "in house" investigator, because the law allows it. Pictures taken by a paralegal/investigator are no more bias than facts, or evidence uncovered by a "Private Investigator" hired by that same defending trial attorney. Please "Bed with the enemies wife" "Peeping in windows" Clearly you have no idea what an investigator does. So let me break it down for you. In criminal defense investigations and research for attorneys. Locate witnesses, communicate with witnesses and clients, analyze fact situations and documents, organize evidence and files, write summaries and reports, take photographs, and assist lawyers in preparation and trial of federal, State ,aand local cases. Assist lawyers in other offices as directed. Does that sound like a little more like it Cupidon?
If your interested contact your local Public Defenders office in Orlando and set an Appointment with one of the lead investigators. typos are curtisy of Blackberry.

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Curious in Westborough, Massachusetts

42 months ago

Can somebody in the legal profession answer a question-----Why is it that many states have laws that say if a 13 or 14 year old commits a violent crime, they are shielded from punishment? Is it a matter of legislators buying off on "expert" testimony that says these people dont have the maturity to understand consequences? It is such a staggering crock of sh$t.

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Wpfannkuch@comcast.net in Houston, Texas

42 months ago

Cupidon
As I said before I am an In-House investigator currently employed by the state government. I got the job with my Paralegal Certification and love it. Yes I understand the question, do you? " Skill-Sets" maybe a new term for some of you Paralegals who don't do any work outside your office, but let me assure you that a license to do PI work in Fl or Tx (the only 2 that I have worked) give seniority to Paralegals with Investigative backgrounds. I will post a job description for a couple of jobs below and hope that you won't be mis-led by some legal aid/secretary giving Old school advice.

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Wpfannkuch@comcast.net in Houston, Texas

42 months ago

RESPONSIBILITIES:
Conduct criminal defense investigations and research for assistant federal public defenders in this
twelve-attorney, four-investigator branch office. Locate witnesses, communicate with witnesses and
clients, analyze fact situations and documents, organize evidence and files, write summaries and
reports, take photographs, and assist lawyers in preparation and trial of federal cases. Assist lawyers
in other offices as directed. No private practice is permitted. Some travel is required; some
investigations may require work in our Brownsville, Houston, Laredo and Corpus Christi offices.
REQUIREMENTS:
One or two years of investigative or paralegal experience and four or five years total experience
Bachelors’ degree
Fluency in Spanish and English required
Two-year commitment
Furnish own transportation on mileage reimbursement basis
Proof of U.S. citizenship or other employment eligibility
SALARY:
$42,960- $52,252 annually depending on qualifications and experience, by direct deposit.
SUBMIT RESUMES TO:
Marjorie A. Federal Public Defender

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Curious in Westborough, Massachusetts

42 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: This is not a juvenile justice discussion. Please try to stay on topic if you post.

Sorry for any inconvenience, DLP. I didn't know that some forums on indeed.com are moderated. I just typed in "legal" and posed the question. I hope you find a job soon.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

42 months ago

Wpfannkuch@comcast.net in Houston, Texas said: Nash you are quite right. Mary... Obviously too long. Most attorneys in Fl. use

I am going to stand by what I said. Your points are valid - but they are still biased.

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Kim in Oroville, California

41 months ago

cupidon in Orlando, Florida said: Is this beneficial? More pay? Anything? I am in a paralegal degree program now, and my brother is insisting that if I train for and obtain a PI license I will get more job offers from better firms and make more money. I can't find anything about this online, and usually my brother is full of crap - so I'm just wondering what every ones opinion on this is...
Thanks so much for any help/advise you can offer!
J- =)

Actually it makes sense. I'm also in a Paralegal Program. I'm actually looking to work for a private investigator. Think about it...paralegals conduct the work of a private investigator in many ways. They do all of the attorneys leg work as far as backgrounds, investigations and legal research. Brothers usually are full of crap but in this case he may be right.

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

41 months ago

I beg to differ, DLP. As a paralegel with 20 years of experience, who has worked in large, mid-size and small firms, I can tell you that I have done legal research. Not all attorneys do their own research and not all bigger firms pass this on to new associates or law clerks. Just because the firms you worked for did not have you do legal research doesn't mean that it is a "paralegal school Big Lie." It is unfortunate that you did not find a good fit with your firm and that they did not utilize your considerable skills, however, to consistently come on here and claim that NO firms let paralegals do research is inaccurate. I can attest to the fact that I did legal research for my attorney at a large law firm (and do legal research now for the sole practitioner I work for). In fact, at the large law firm I worked at I was the Westlaw trainer and contact person. If any paralegals or attorneys had problems with Westlaw or needed assistance in research -- they came to me. As for in-house investigators, several plaintiff firms in our area use them and actually have them meet initially with the clients (the ones who are too far away to come to the office and meet with the attorney) and review the initial paperwork and sign them up; however, I do not know what the background was of these in-house investigators and I don't believe they did any paralegal work. So, in that regard I agree with you DLP -- I don't think being a PI will help you as a paralegal or vice versa.

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

41 months ago

As far as legal research goes, I think a lot of it depends upon which type of law you are working in. Working in insurance defense litigation, especially med mal and nursing home, is where I have been requested to do the majority of legal research. I have been requested to do memos of law, but no briefs. I think the crux of the issue is that a lot of attorneys and/or firms just don't know how to use paralegals effectively. I know there has been mention here that attorneys will do the work because they can charge more, but in insurance defense the clients scrutinize every bill and will not pay attorney fees for a task they feel a paralegal could or should have done. As far as the whole private investigator/paralegal issue -- I would either be one or the other, I don't see how being both would be beneficial, especially here in Florida. Getting your private investigator license in FL is a rather involved process and you have to find a company willing to let you work as an apprentice, etc. I would just pick one and stick with it. To DLP, sorry if I misquoted you, but I think there are paralegals out there who do a lot more legal research than you realize -- and I understand you are speaking from personal experience, but then again, so am I.

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Cupidon in Orlando, Florida

41 months ago

So, I'm confused. Displaced in Denver, are you saying you regret spending the money to go to Paralegal school? You don't think it was worth it? Was it the particular school you went to? What would you do differently now if you could?
I'm not trying to be patronizing or nosy - I just want to know all the facts about this profession before it's to late for me to change my mind, and your's are really the first negative comments I've heard...
Thanks for any information/opinions you can pass along.

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Charvet Young in Modesto, California

9 months ago

mary in Tampa, Florida said: I've been in the legal field a long long time. I've never seen an attorney , or law firm, use it's paralegal for private investigator work - simply because it is unethical, biased, prejudical to their case. It is extremely likely whatever the paralegal/investigator uncovered would be thrown out by the Judge because it would be unethical (kind of like the attorney himself snooping in someone's windows or sleeping with the enemy's wife).

I fail to see why an investigation conducted by a paralegal would be considered unethical. Pubic records such as records provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are made public for a reason. If using this information in an exhibit is unethical I would like to know your point of view as to why. Further, why a judge would throw this type of evidence out... Respectfully,

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