Do you ever wonder how attorneys decide if they will take a case, especially those cases where the attorney only gets paid if they win the lawsuit?
We get calls from attorneys all the time asking, “Can you check this out? I want to know if there really is a case here.”
We call it a pre-litigation case. It works like this:
- An attorney is approached by a potential client with a case.
- The attorney’s compensation would be on a contingency basis, meaning he would get a portion of the award.
- He contacts us to investigate whether or not the subject of the suit has the means to pay; assets to cover the amount of a court-ordered award.
- Depending on the outcome of our investigation, the attorney would either decide to take the case or decline the case.
We would conduct an asset search investigation to provide the attorney with the information he needs to make an informed decision. However, by the time we are called in to investigate, it is often that we have to undertake a hidden account investigation. That’s because the subject of the inquiry already knows he may be the subject of a lawsuit and is taking steps to hide his assets.
Divorce is not the only time when people try to hide assets from others. In any lawsuit where damages or an award could be ordered by the court, people try to move assets and hide them. That’s why a private investigator should not be considered only a divorce asset investigator.
If there are assets uncovered during the course of the investigation, the attorney may accept the case. If there aren’t, then it isn’t just that the attorney declines to take the case, the person interested in filing the lawsuit needs to know that the possibility of collecting an award is slim, perhaps non-existent, even if they win in court.
The results of our investigation may just lead the client – and the attorney – to decide that if there isn’t money available to collect for the lawsuit, it isn’t worth filing a suit.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations