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How to Investigate a Potential Client’s Record

The prospect of a new client is appealing to most attorneys. A new relationship with a client comes with a number of responsibilities, all of which need to be considered before going forward with representation. During your investigation, the information you find on your client will be the decision-maker on whether you should work with them because it can help determine how successful their case could be and if it is something you are prepared for and experienced enough to go ahead with. Today, we will be looking into how to investigate a potential client’s record and the importance of doing so.

Learn How to Investigate a Potential Client’s Record

Background Check

A background check is the most popular method of looking into a potential client’s history. As long as you have their first name, last name, and some other basic details, like their current address, you can find everything you need. Putting these details into a search directory will help you find information, such as past home addresses, marital status, occupation, education, vehicle ownership, etc., through their people database. This will help you gain a better understanding of your potential client, by helping you learn about certain aspects of their past and present.

Criminal Activity

Criminal activity is something that is customary when it comes to criminal defense attorneys but can be forgotten about in every other area of law. Even if you aren’t a criminal defense attorney, it is worth looking into your potential client’s criminal history, as this could have a huge impact on the final outcome of the case. If you come across something that is outside of your field of expertise, then you will be able to point them in the right direction, instead of risking a case.

Client Confidentiality

Any information you find about your potential client should not be shared with anyone else. We all understand the concept that surrounds client confidentiality, but this rule should also apply to any potential clients. Your role is to defend and protect the people who come to you for help and advice, even if they aren’t yet a certified client. The information you find and collect will be personal and should be kept for your own record, no one else’s.

Importance of Investigating

It is a wise choice to expose yourself to all of the possible information you can find about this potential client’s background before making any decisions on representations. Their background may make or break a case and if you stumble across something that you have no experience in or would require extra training for, then you will know that you would not work well for or with this client. Avoiding these risks will benefit you as well as your client, as they will be able to find someone more suitable for their case.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to work with this client or not is ultimately your decision. If you do come across something you are unfamiliar with, but you have the right contacts and feel up for the challenge, then that is your choice. If you can’t help this client, but know someone who can, then pointing them in the right direction is much better than risking a difficult case.

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