Expert Advice for Your Next Internal Investigation

One in four companies expect the number of disputes in the workplace to increase over the next year.

Posted by Katie Yahnke in on December 21st, 2011

A recent study exposed the increasing number of internal investigations, in-house legal teams, and lawsuits. 

A Rise in Internal Investigations

81% of companies faced lawsuits or proceedings in the last 12 months.
According to the Norton Rose Fulbright 2016 Litigation Trends Survey, 81% of companies faced lawsuits or proceedings in the last 12 months, up from 75% the year before.

In the same study, 97% of respondents claimed their workplace regulators were more proactive in the past year, and 87% expect the number of corporate investigations to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.

Feeling overwhelmed with the number of investigations you have on the go? Improve efficiency with the Workplace Investigation Report Template.

The increasing costs of litigation (plus an increasingly litigious environment), more frequent class actions, and the burdens of data preservation are a few trends responsible for the troublesome future of internal investigations.

A Rise in Litigation Spending

With trends like these, preparation is the best course of action.
Litigation spending, excluding the cost of settlements, totals a median spend of approximately $1 million.

In addition, the median number of investigative lawyers per company has increased from three to four, and 16% of respondents indicated they are planning to grow their corporate legal team still.

Norton Rose Fulbright summarizes the findings perfectly in their press release: “Survey respondents – primarily general counsel – indicate an upward trend in virtually all of the metrics relating to litigation and the broader disputes area”.

Expert Advice for Internal Investigations

With trends like these, preparation is the best course of action. Revel in the expert advice below on topics such as conducting investigations, hiring counsel, and navigating the internal investigation process.

“Investigations completed professionally can save a tremendous amount of time and money by averting litigation, preserving a company’s reputation, quantifying losses for insurance claims, and maintaining employee morale”.

Maribeth Vander Weele, President of the Vander Weele Group, on hiring professional investigators.

“The focus should be on getting the right people who have the skill set that you need; people who understand how to handle investigations and how to limit themselves to the scope that they’re focusing on”.

Sheryl Vacca, Senior VP and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer at the University of California, on picking an external investigator.

“The presence of video and audio recording equipment in a workplace investigation interview can make people nervous. You won’t necessarily get the same answers you would if it’s not being recorded”.

Greg Caldwell, President of White Hat Solutions Corporate Investigations and Security Consulting, on using audio and video as evidence.

“The checklist only covers the things you’re thinking of at that particular time. [If you limit investigators] to a checklist…they’re not thinking beyond where this report is going and what kind of help it is to the organization. It really narrows their thinking”.

Sheryl Vacca on challenging the investigation checklist.

“The science can be learned through a mixture of reading literature…and attending workshops that utilize adult-based learning…to demonstrate and allow you to experience the interview process and application of the various proven methodologies in this field. The art comes from actually seeing it done (having a mentor whom you can observe in practice) and then doing it yourself – many, many times”.

John Hanson, “The Fraud Guy”, on detecting lies.


Katie Yahnke
Katie Yahnke

Marketing Writer

Katie is the marketing writer at i-Sight. She writes on topics that range from fraud, corporate security and workplace investigations to corporate culture, ethics and compliance.