When a case seems unstuckImpasse

Getting beyond an impasse in an investigation

Clients often come to us because they need help to find important information that isn’t in the public record. Typically, an impending trial, major business decision, or pressing personal situation hangs in the balance. But what happens when the case itself gets stuck?

“How else can we figure this out?”

In fact, an impasse is often a natural part of an investigation. After completing an investigation according to the approach agreed upon with the client, it can seem like everything possible has been uncovered. After all, sometimes a case begins without knowing if there’s anything to find.

But when there’s reason to believe there’s something out there, it’s time to take a step back and revisit the original approach. Here are three ways we’ve found to break through the impasse and reach that “aha” moment.

  1. Revisit levels of discretion

It’s a common client desire that an investigation is conducted discreetly, and oftentimes there are good reasons for doing so. But sometimes it can limit thinking. This is when we may ask clients to revisit what kind of risk they can handle. Maybe it’s OK if people find out the investigation is happening, if no one knows the client is making the inquiries. Sometimes the client realizes they’re comfortable with this shift, opening a new line of intelligence gathering that can break the case open.\

  1. Look in a new direction

A recent client wanted to find out if someone was selling products they’re not supposed to be selling. The level of discretion our client required was keeping us from being effective. In this case, we took a step back and realized we were examining the problem only from the outside. We decided to go from the inside and proposed a completely different approach: going undercover and attempting to purchase the product. He realized that would be fine.

In another case, we’d been asked to find evidence that an individual had been the subject of numerous complaints that had led to interactions with police. But these interactions never rose to the level of filing charges, so there was nothing in the public record. It felt like an impasse, until we realized how to get anonymous information from the police—a paper trail that never made it into the public record.

  1. Watch and wait for slipups

In one corporate investigation, we knew someone had huge assets but couldn’t find any documentation. Suddenly one day, that person’s girlfriend posted a picture of them on Facebook, standing in front of his private jet. The jet number was visible, and we quickly traced it to an LLC the subject owned that we’d had no way of finding otherwise.

What just takes time

Any case that requires human intelligence can be time intensive. Finding people to interview, preparing for and conducting the interviews, and then compiling the information requires careful planning and execution, and sometimes prolonged timelines.

Examples of cases that often require human intelligence include:

  • Finding out if a company is in financial trouble
  • Finding witnesses to a possible crime or other dispute
  • Complex cases involving many different people and/or companies

Getting unstuck

When it comes to gathering insights for complex litigation and business relationships, our job is to help youbreak the impasse and get the clarity you need to move forward with confidence. For a free, private consultation, get in touch today at [email protected] or 415-905-0462.