Litigation Support Due Diligence: How Effective OSINT Practices Elevate Courtroom Success
August 23, 2023 | by Rachel Kronenfeld
This is Part 4 of a 4-part mini-blog series.
Today, most public records information can be accessed without leaving one’s chair, but the volume of these online resources can be overwhelming. Navigating the dizzying array of databases across the internet can be quite challenging and time-consuming, unless attorneys and paralegals have finely honed investigatory skills and the technical prowess to optimize their research results.
At Hetherington Group (Hg), our expert investigators frequently serve as the outsourced litigation support team for large and small law firms alike. We help legal professionals reduce concerns about effectively investigating a high volume of complex information about many subjects in a short period of time. We help them perform several phases of essential research in a discreet manner, such as ensuring persons being investigated via social media as part of a legal case do not become aware of the investigation (managed attribution).
Bringing any litigation to a successful outcome is undeniably an arduous task and a plethora of resources must be allotted to activities such as discovery, filings, conducting depositions and identifying expert witnesses. The research component that factors into all these elements of the litigation process is often the most critical element. Flawed or incomplete research can make or break a courtroom victory, yet attorneys and paralegals must balance an economy of time with burdensome caseloads while seeking to wend their way through voluminous troves of information to find the few key pieces of data that will offer the competitive edge in the courtroom or at the negotiating table when avoiding the court system via settlement is desired.
At Hg, we provide comprehensive litigation support services and provide detailed, timely reports on all matters germane to pending cases. We keep pace with the latest innovations in database access and we utilize an array of proprietary software to scour records across the internet, in public repositories, and on social media platforms to uncover incomplete or fraudulent documents, social media behaviors or patterns that belie culpability, confirm identity or credentialed expertise and more. Often, the core legal team is attending to myriad matters of vital importance to a case and they simply want to leave the research component to highly experienced open source intelligence (OSINT) investigators. We are skilled in the collection, analysis and preservation of critical data essential to successful litigation outcomes.
A quality OSINT outcome, however, begins with the legal team developing an understanding of OSINT techniques and tools to either conduct some or all research themselves, or ensure they glean all the essential research when working with an outside investigations team. The Hg team trains thousands of attorneys, paralegals and other legal support professionals annually to uncover pivotal data essential in adjudication of both civil and criminal matters. We lead investigations for companies and train in issues such as:
- Establishing jurisdictional footprint
- Uncovering all social media profiles for an individual that may be hiding under numerous aliases
- Locating prior civil liability or criminal convictions that exist in various “hidden” databases
- Investigating social and professional networks to determine a pattern of egregious behaviors or connections or associations that may inform the current case
- Finding hidden, stolen or lost assets
- Properly preserving information found online with metadata to meet court standards
Effective litigation support due diligence ultimately determines the outcome of a litigation matter. Lives, dollars and reputations are at stake in every instance. A negative outcome in even a seemingly minor litigation manner can have a significant reputational impact that may lead to loss of business or resources and privileges. An inability to defend against a false accusation can cause permanent devastation. Accessing all information germane to a case and preserving it to court standard is vital for law firms and their clients. At Hg, we are here to stand with legal professionals at every turn in the investigatory process. If you are interested in learning more about our litigation support services or training courses, please contact me at, [email protected].