Dallas Corporate Investigation Consultants & Lawyers
We help businesses in Dallas prevent fraud and fight federal allegations by conducting exhaustive internal investigations.
Companies of all sizes face legal risks on a daily basis. From employees stealing corporate assets to federal authorities looking into your company’s billing or accounting practices, things can – and will – go wrong. When these types of issues arise, conducting a prompt and thorough internal investigation can be critical, as this will provide insight into both the scope of the issue and the responsive measures that are necessary.
Headquartered in Dallas, our firm represents local, regional, and national companies in internal corporate investigations. We have local attorneys and former federal investigative agents who are available to act immediately if necessary. Our experience encompasses all types of litigation matters and federal administrative, civil, and criminal law enforcement proceedings; and, in addition to representing clients in corporate investigations, we provide representation for civil lawsuits, federal investigations, and federal prosecutions as well.
While many of our clients come to us at the first sign of a potential issue, we also represent companies in times of crisis. If your company has experienced a data breach or misappropriation of intellectual property (IP), or if your company is already being targeted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or another federal agency, we can provide representation on an emergency basis. We can conduct an internal investigation in order to gather the information needed to make strategic decisions, and then we can execute a response that is tailored specifically to the circumstances at hand.
Does Your Company Need to Conduct an Internal Investigation?
While we have provided some examples already, there are numerous issues that can trigger the need for a corporate internal investigation. At Oberheiden P.C., we handle all types of internal investigations, including those focused on preventing and pursuing claims for wrongs committed against the company as well as those focused on assessing potential exposure in federal law enforcement matters. Our corporate investigations practice includes representing companies in matters involving:
- Theft of IP and other corporate assets
- Shareholder claims and disputes
- Corporate fraud and bribery perpetrated by executives and board members
- Data security breaches and active cybersecurity threats
- Federal statutory and regulatory compliance violations
- Government contract fraud
- Government benefit program fraud
- Accounting, self-reporting, and self-disclosure issues
- Employee claims alleging discrimination and other issues
- Whistleblower claims
What to Expect During a Corporate Internal Investigation
The internal investigation process is unique from other types of legal matters. Company leaders and in-house counsel must work closely with corporate investigations counsel, and the entire process must be carefully structured and managed in order to maximize its efficacy, avoid critical miscues, and preserve the attorney-client privilege. When we represent companies in Dallas in corporate investigations, our Dallas federal criminal lawyers and former federal investigators provide services including:
1. Determining the Appropriate Scope of the Investigation
Determining the appropriate scope of the investigation is crucial; and, in many circumstances, this will not be readily apparent. In fact, in many circumstances, preliminary investigative measures must be undertaken in order to determine to what extent the company may be exposed. However, this step is critically important, as overlooking relevant concerns can cause the investigation to be ineffective, and can lead to individuals who may be implicated in the alleged wrongdoing being named as members of the investigation team.
2. Assembling the Investigation Team
Once it is clear what needs to be investigated and how the investigation will proceed, then it is possible to assemble an investigation team. While the investigation should be led and overseen in all respects by outside counsel, certain internal personnel will need to be involved as well. In addition to appointing appropriate personnel to specific roles, the process of assembling an investigation team should also involve establishing reporting structures and advising all personnel involved of the policies and procedures they must follow during and after the investigative process.
3. Reviewing Electronic and Hardcopy Corporate Records
In certain respects, conducting an internal investigation is similar to conducting discovery during civil litigation. All pertinent records must be preserved, collected, and reviewed, without exception. The records that need to be reviewed will be determined based on the necessary scope of the investigation, including both the substance and timeframe of the issue (or issues) at hand. With extensive experience in a broad range of matters, our lawyers and investigators can both quickly determine what records need to be reviewed and quickly review the relevant documentation in order to reach a conclusion.
4. Interviewing Employees
In many cases, internal corporate investigations will also involve interviewing employees. These interviews need to be conducted very carefully, particularly while an investigation remains covert. Whether an employee is considered a witness or has been identified as a potential bad actor, caution must be taken to avoid raising concerns or triggering the disclosure of information that could compromise the company’s position in subsequent litigation or federal enforcement proceedings.
5. Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege
Preserving the attorney-client privilege during an internal investigation is of paramount importance. If the privilege is not preserved, then any information uncovered during the investigative process could become discoverable in subsequent proceedings. Communications between company insiders and outside counsel could become compromised as well; and, if the company is at risk for liability, this could have drastic consequences. We take exhaustive measures to protect the privilege during our clients’ internal investigations in order to ensure that this remains a non-issue.
6. Reporting Our Findings with Actionable Recommendations
As our clients’ investigations progress, our attorneys remain in close contact with company leaders in order to keep them fully informed and provide intelligence as it becomes available. Once the investigative process is complete, we provide comprehensive, actionable recommendations regarding next steps.
Depending on the nature of the investigation and the circumstances involved, these recommendations could include undertaking efforts in anticipation initiating litigation, preparing to defend against a civil lawsuit, self-disclosing a compliance issue to the appropriate federal authority, preparing to fend off allegations in a federal audit or investigation, or updating the company’s compliance documentation. If warranted by the circumstances, we will recommend simply maintaining the status quo. The purpose of an internal investigation is not to steer the process toward one particular outcome, but rather to determine what is necessary and appropriate based on the facts presented.
7. Taking Appropriate Remedial or Responsive Measures
Finally, if engaged to do so, we will provide representation for taking remedial or responsive measures based on the outcome of the investigation. Our practice encompasses all aspects of federal litigation and defense, and our Dallas-based attorneys and nationwide network of affiliated counsel are prepared to represent our clients in federal jurisdictions across the country. We can seek emergency relief or defend against civil allegations in federal district court, and we have extensive experience defending clients against federal allegations in audits, investigations, and prosecutions involving the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and a long list of other federal administrative and law enforcement agencies.
Q&A with Dallas Corporate Investigations Lawyer Nick Oberheiden, PhD
Q: When is it time to pull the trigger on launching an internal corporate investigation?
This is a fundamentally important question, but it is also a question to which there is no single “right” answer. Ultimately, if you are asking the question, this most likely means that an investigation is necessary. The depth and breadth of the investigation that is necessary are still to be determined; but, as a corporate executive or in-house attorney, you cannot afford to place yourself in a position where you are making assumptions or relying on incomplete information.
For some hypothetical examples of very possible real-life scenarios, you can read: 7 Examples of Internal Investigations.
Q: Should my company conduct its internal investigation covertly, or is it best to be transparent from the outset?
The answer to this question also depends on the specific facts and circumstances at hand. While it will make sense to adopt a policy of complete transparency in some cases, the decision to disclose an internal investigation must be made based on a comprehensive assessment of the legal risks involved. A covert investigation will be the best option in a variety of scenarios for a variety of different reasons, and our attorneys and former federal investigators (including former senior FBI and DOJ agents) have extensive experience handling confidential and highly-sensitive matters covertly.
For more information, you can read: 7 Key Considerations for Conducting a Covert Internal Corporate Investigation.
Q: Do I need to hire outside counsel, or can my in-house lawyers and other internal personnel conduct an internal investigation?
Engaging outside counsel is important for a number of different reasons, not the least of which is the imperative of preserving the attorney-client privilege. An outside federal criminal defense firm that regularly handles internal investigations will also have the experience and resources required to manage the process efficiently. If your company is at risk, you need to rely on a team of professionals who know from experience what is needed in order to protect it. At Oberheiden P.C., we have this experience, and we can get to work right away.
Speak with a Dallas Corporate Investigation Consultant or Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
If you have more questions and would like to speak with one of our Dallas corporate investigations lawyers in confidence, we encourage you to contact us promptly. We make ourselves available to current and prospective clients 24/7, so call 888-680-1745 or tell us how to reach you online now.