Private investigation work touches many different aspects of the law. Private investigators and police officers encounter situations related to legal issues such as personal rights, privacy laws, marital disputes, electronic surveillance, and many more. Having a clear understanding of the laws and regulations that govern different types of investigations will help you operate within the constraints of the law and keep yourself out of trouble
In addition, many clients work directly with attorneys and lawyers in regard to process serving, background checks, surveillance and many other jobs. Therefore, it is important for private investigators to have a good working knowledge of the law.
General Legal Research Tools
If you’re just beginning to start researching legal topics, here is a helpful site, Catalaw – CataLaw is the catalog of catalogs of worldwide law on the Internet. Catalaw aids legal research by arranging all indexes of law and government into a uniform, universal resource.
Another great place to start is Cornell’s Legal Information Institute. The site provide brief summaries of law topics with links to key primary source material, other Internet resources, and useful off net references. They can be accessed through: the following set of broad topic categories (scroll down), through an alphabetical listing of topics, and through a searchable index.
Many private investigators, legal professionals and even journalists encounter situations where they need to tape a witness statement or record audio. In such situations, the website Can We Tape serves as a practical guide to taping phone calls and in-person conversations in the United States.
FindLaw is the highest-trafficked legal Web site, providing the most comprehensive set of legal resources on the Internet for legal professionals, businesses, students and individuals. These resources include Web search utilities, cases and codes, legal news, an online career center, and community-oriented tools, such as a secure document management utility, mailing lists, message boards and free e-mail.
Law Engine provides resources on a variety of law topics such as courts, cases, federal codes and rules, law libraries and legal products and services.
Law Guru was originally started in 1996 by a Los Angeles law firm and has evolved into one of the most popular legal web sites on the Internet. It is offered as a free service to the entire Internet Community.
LawInfo.com is recognized nationwide as a leader within the legal community, providing public access to pre-qualified, pre-screened attorneys, and to free legal resources.
Lawyers.com allows you to search for and hire an attorney in your local area. Search by city and state or by law specialty.
LegalZoom.com is a site that we do not recommend. Their services are overpriced and do not provide a good value for the average consumer. We recommend using other sites.
Martindale-Hubble – Generations of lawyers have relied on Martindale-Hubbell as the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. With a history spanning more than 133 years, the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network is currently powered by a database of over one million lawyers and law firms in 160 countries.
The U.S. Federal Courts provides online access to federal court records, news, statistics and more.
Finding Expert Witnesses
If you need an expert to interview or testify in your case, these sites make it easy to connect with the right person:
Expert Pages – ExpertPages.com was the first Internet directory of experts, expert witnesses and consultants. Since 1995 it has been repeatedly recognized as the Internet’s leading resource on expert witnesses.
Expert4Law – On-Line Referral Service for legal experts.
Researching Court Documents and Records
If you need court documents for your case, conduct a Court Record Search.
- Malpractice Investigations – Information on malpractice and negligence investigations.