Although the course of each Internal Investigation must be determined on a case by case basis, there are some common phases. Routinely, an Internal Investigation will involve three or more of the following phases:
We dedicate the Consultation Meeting to determining the cause for the request for an Internal Investigation. Why does this organization want or need an Internal Investigation? We also work during the Consultation Phase to gain a clear understanding of the size and scope of the Internal Investigation. We determine what areas of law are implicated and whether legal research will be necessary. We estimate the number of required witness interviews and the volume of documents and other data involved. Finally, we will discuss the expected deliverables. For example, depending on the situation, the client may only want a factual investigation or the client may want the Firm to go a step further and provide proposed solutions to the situation.
Legal Research may be necessary to inform the course of certain Internal Investigations and will be conducted as much as possible before commencing witness interviews and document review. For example, if an investigation relates to a certain cause of action, we will need to have a detailed understanding of the governing case law in order to identify the correct witnesses and cull out the relevant documentary evidence.
Initial Fact Witness Interviews
In the consultation meeting, we will seek recommendations regarding the most knowledgeable fact witnesses and at least one person, usually an Administrator or Information Technology person, knowledgeable about the location of relevant documents, data, and any other type of pertinent evidence. The Initial Fact Witness phase of the Internal Investigation will consist of interviewing these select individuals in order to get an initial understanding of the problem or issue. This also allows us to develop a plan regarding the collection of evidence and additional Fact Witness Interviews, if necessary.
Document Collection and Review / E Discovery
During this phase of the Internal Investigation, we focus on the collection and review of documentary, data, and other evidence. We develop a list of fact witnesses who need to be interviewed. We learn everything we can from the evidence and use that evidence to inform our Fact Witness Interviews and develop the Internal Investigation Report.
Fact Witness Interviews
Based upon the Initial Fact Witness Interviews and the collection and review of evidence, we will determine whether and which additional individuals we need to interview. The Fact Witness Interviews phase will consist of these interviews and will often involve a second interview of Initial Fact Witnesses in order to ask questions that arise during the review of documentary evidence.
Internal Investigation Report
We work closely with Executives and General Counsels to determine the type of deliverables requested. Some clients request a formal presentation, given in a meeting environment, with a written report covering the Firm's factual conclusions and proposed solutions. Other situations only call for informal reporting to facilitate a decision.
The Firm maintains a watchful eye for creative solutions to the questions and problems that give rise to Internal Investigations. This phase usually goes on during the entire Internal Investigation, but can culminate in a strategy session with the client. In light of Ms. Host's business and legal experience and her career focus on ethics and organizational sustainability, she frequently discerns resolutions to problems that save organizations time, money, and reputational and other risk.
To learn more about Host Law Firm's approach to Internal Investigations, read the following:
To discuss a confidential Internal Investigation that would benefit your organization, contact the Firm.