Learning about the Law
While a law degree isn’t necessary to be a private investigator, having an understanding of the law is essential. The better your understanding of the law and legal matters, the more effectively you’ll be able to serve your clients. However, it takes years to obtain even an undergraduate law degree. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of legal books and reference guides and available to help you learn quickly improve your knowledge.
Build a Legal Library
In one way or another, the law will touch almost every aspect of running a private investigation business. It will be a part of every case you work on and every client you serve. Also, it will be involved in every aspect of your business, from licensing and permits, to managing employees and payroll. Having a library of legal reference books will help you navigate the legal issues of your cases, and will help you manage the business affairs of your investigation firm more safely. Whether your library is physical, with books stacked on a shelf, or virtual, with a folder on your computer full of PDF’s and eBooks, you’ll use law books to:
- Understand how the legal system works in the United States and how to best navigate through its complexity
- Know when to involve an attorney or lawyer on your case
- Where to find, or how to create, various legal documents and forms, for your clients and for your own business
- What laws apply to your investigation case (child support laws, divorce laws, bankruptcy laws, tort laws, etc.)
- What laws apply to your business operations, such as employment law, licensing, taxes, leases, etc.
- Understand the meaning of complex legal terms, become more well-versed in client communications
List of Legal Books
Following are several legal and law books that private investigators should have in their library. All of the books are available at Amazon.com.
Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about American Law
Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about American Law provides an excellent overview of the American Legal System. The book explains the U.S. Legal system in a simple and straightforward manner that anyone can understand. Think of it as a crash course to the first year of law school. In fact, it covers all of the subjects taught in the first year of law school. Plus, the author of this book manages to present all of this information in an entertaining way, which makes the information easier to absorb and remember. Most legal books will put you straight to sleep, but this one will keep your attention all the way through. If you’re a private investigator who needs to learn about the law quickly, this is a great place to start.
Navigating The Legal Minefield of Private Investigations (Paperback)
Navigating the Legal Minefield of Private Investigations is a legal book for private investigators. The author is an experienced attorney who has also worked as a private investigator. The book does a great job of explaining the laws that pertain specifically to to private investigation work. Topics include surveillance, trespassing, impersonations, electronic wiretapping, arrest rules, witness interviewing and more. The book also covers the use of spy gear and surveillance equipment such as GPS tracking devices, hidden video cameras, and other types of equipment.
Black’s Law Dictionary: Deluxe Thumb-Index
Black’s Law Dictionary is the premier legal reference resource that includes over 50,000 legal definitions. In addition to providing the meaning for thousands of important legal terms and acronyms, the book includes a copy of the full Constitution, a time chart of the United States Supreme Court, a map of the Federal Court circuit and many more features. Private Investigators should use Black’s Law Dictionary as a study guide, to learn the terminology used by attorneys, judges and others in the legal system. In addition, use it as a handy reference guide to look up terms as you come across them. Don’t be intimidated by attorneys who throw legal jargon around. Study the dictionary and know the terms they know.
Dictionary of Legal Terms
If Black’s Law Dictionary is too dry or too technical, try the Dictionary of Legal Terms. This book contains more than 2,500 of the most commonly used legal terms. However, what makes it different from Black Law Dictionary is that it translates the complicated legalese into simple and easy to understand language. If you’re just starting out as an investigator, and you don’t have a background that involves law study or police work, start with this book to learn the most common legal terms. Think of it as an introductory dictionary. If you find it a breeze, then you an graduate up to the larger dictionary.
Law for Dummies
The Law for Dummies book provides an easy to understand overview of everyday legal issues. This is the place to start if you truly don’t know anything about the law. Although this book won’t help you specifically with running your private investigation business, it will give you an introduction to the law. Its content is focused more on everyday legal issues such as protecting your family, money and your rights.
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