An investigation can be a waste of time and money if it is not properly documented. Our reports are exemplary: detailed, clear, concise, unbiased, relevant, and actionable. In fact, our managing partner, Philip Becnel, wrote the book on this subject. Principles of Investigative Documentation details the standards for how to document an investigation from start to finish using what Philip coined as the “Five Principles of Investigative Documentation.”
During a deposition, a witness’s testimony is recorded by video or stenographer. When our investigators conduct an interview, you get nearly the same level of detail, but at a fraction of the cost and with much greater command of the questioning. Almost all interviews are conducted ex parte, and our reports note both the question asked and the subject’s response. The final report reads like a narrative of the entire interview, not unlike a court transcript. This style allows us to collect the greatest amount of information, including verbatim quotes that can be used to impeach a witness should he or she later change their story.
Our investigators take special care not to improperly infer what a witness means, as this can lead to grave misunderstandings that may ultimately hurt the case. We ask appropriate follow-up questions so there is no room for misinterpretation. The need to conduct follow-up interviews—while not unheard of—creates unnecessary costs and puts undue strain on our relationships with witnesses. We strive to get every interview right the first time.
Depending on the needs of the case and the particular rules of evidence, we also sometimes obtain a sworn declaration, affidavit, or verbatim statement from a witness following an interview.