What does a legal investigator do?
Legal investigators help with preparing civil and criminal defenses, serving legal documents, locating witnesses, obtaining and examining evidence, and conducting interviews of law enforcement professionals and witnesses. They obtain information on litigation parties and sometimes testify in court. They also prepare reports and evidence for trials and take photographs. Legal investigators often conduct research for a variety of reasons including initiating legal action, devising defense strategies, and supporting legal proceedings. They prepare a variety of legal documents such as pleadings, briefs, appeals, contracts, wills, and real estate closing statements. They also prepare affidavits and other required documents, file pleadings with court clerks, and maintain documents.
What kind of training does a legal investigator need?
Legal investigators typically need at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer candidates with a college education. Many legal investigators have an associate or bachelor degree in criminal justice or political science. Prospective legal investigators typically complete courses in criminal justice, legal terminology, legal research, investigation techniques, law ethics, and civil and criminal litigation. Many employers provide on the job training to enable new legal investigators to learn the policies and procedures of the employer. Many states require legal investigators to be licensed private investigators. Licensing requirements vary, but typically include minimum education and experience, and passing a written examination and background check. Many legal investigators gain the Certified Legal Investigator designation from the National Association of Legal Investigators. Legal investigators must complete continuing education and training to maintain their certifications and keep their skills up to date.
What are the prospects for a career as a legal investigator?
Employment of legal investigators is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 18% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased concern for security and increased litigation will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Legal investigators with professional certification and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.
How much do legal investigators make?
As of December 2009, the average annual salary for legal investigators is $50,000; average annual legal investigator salaries vary greatly on location, industry, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a legal investigator is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in legal investigation and providing assistance for a variety of legal matters. Legal investigators must have a solid understanding of legal practices and apply them to a variety of situations. Assertiveness, persistence, determination, and critical thinking are essential characteristics. Legal investigators must have strong communication skills and be comfortable with confrontation. They must be able to think quickly on their feet and have good interviewing skills.