What Do I Do When the Client Tries to Take Control of an Investigation?
Natalie Lynch is a credentialed investigator and licensed attorney, not a vlogger.
What do you do when the client tries to control your investigation?
You needed to remind the client that the money they're spending is related to a neutral, independent, third-party investigation.
That being said, some people are just micromanagers by nature, and that may include your client representative. And so it can be hard.
This has come up in having a client representative tell me who I need to interview or who I don't need to interview. If a client wants to tell me who I also need to interview, I will often kind of put in writing: "I don't think this is necessary, but I'm happy to spend your money and time talking to somebody if you want me to. Those are the services that I sell and if you feel like it's necessary, I will."
But as far as telling me not to interview somebody, I give the client the opportunity to understand that that information will be present in my report because, at the end of the day, I have to remain neutral, independent, and third-party for my own reputation and credibility.
Likewise, in the report, when a client tries to change my report, my gut reaction is often, "Don't try to tell me how to be neutral, independent, and third-party." But sometimes the clients do make really good points. And if it's innocuous, whatever, I'll usually include an innocuous comment here and there.
But other things that are more sort of logic-based or rationale based around conclusions – or phrasing about why something is or isn't okay – or was or wasn't okay – sometimes you do have to push back and say: "Okay, but I'm going to have to make a footnote that this was something that you insisted on, that as the investigator, I disagreed about."
And that's a really uncomfortable conversation, but I haven't ever had a client that was worth me ruining my reputation or credibility for all the other clients that I will have in the future. And if I want to sleep at night and maintain my reputation, sometimes those hard conversations about being neutral, being independent, have to be had.
For more legal investigative advice, like and subscribe.