Three Tips for Using Public Records for Legal Due Diligence

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

For legal professionals, doing your due diligence, whether it’s on the client, opposition, or case in general, is a necessary but tedious task. If you don’t assess all sources of possible risk, you may walk straight into surprises in the courtroom that could hinder your strategy. 

 Due diligence not only helps you mitigate risk and avoid surprises going into court, but it also helps you plan your legal strategy and determine the best angle to take for your case. But to perform it properly, you need to be able to access and sort through huge amounts of information — and knowing where to start can be overwhelming and difficult. 

While you’ll never be able to know every minute detail about your case and its relevant players, a legal due diligence software can help you sort through data and narrow down the results so you can get the information you need to perform due diligence. And with the right strategies for searching, like gathering criminal history, financial history, and building connections, you can find the data most relevant to your case in less time. Here are 3 tips for using a public and private records search engine to perform better due diligence. 

Use a criminal records search to understand someone’s history

One of the biggest sources of potential risk to know about for due diligence is criminal history, and it’s important for due diligence in more practice areas than just criminal defense. Even if they do not directly relate to the case at hand, criminal records could be used as an indicator of character in court. For example, if a person has been charged with fraud in the past, that charge could be used to demonstrate that a person has a history of lying and therefore impeach an individual’s credibility. 

Attorneys in all areas of law need to know about all involved player’s criminal histories in order to perform proper due diligence and prepare their case accordingly – whether that means creating a strategy for defending a client with a criminal history or using those records against the opposition.

When you use a criminal history finder in a public and private records search engine, you can access all sorts of criminal records information, including arrest records, department of corrections records, court conviction records, sex offender records, and more right from your own computer.  Performing a criminal records search with a public and private records search engine will help you quickly do your due diligence and save you time and money going to courthouses and requesting copies of criminal records. 

Search public and private records to gather information on finances

Another potential source of risk is financial risk, which means performing thorough due diligence often requires gathering information on finances. The kind of financial information you need depends on the case — you may need to gather information on someone’s assets or their past financial history in order to decide a strategy for settlement, or you may need to perform due diligence on a business’s finances to assess risk. Depending on the information you need, a public and private records search engine can help you perform due diligence on an individual or business’s financial circumstances. 

With a public and private records search engine, you can search bankruptcy public records to see if an individual has filed for bankruptcy before, as well as gather information on tax liens and civil judgments. Attorneys can also perform an asset search online to quickly uncover someone’s assets, including any vehicles or property records, which is particularly helpful in family law in which you’re handling divorce cases and someone may have an incentive to hide assets, as well as in estate planning and probate law when you’re trying to divide an estate or execute a will. 

If you’re an attorney needing to perform due diligence on a business’s finances to assess risk or pierce the corporate veil and determine how much settlement to go after, you can perform a business records search to view the credit worthiness of a business and their payment history. 

Collect personal information with a public and private records search engine

Investigating criminal and financial history are two key aspects of performing due diligence, but in order to be as thorough as possible, you’ll need a full picture of who someone is and what their personal and business relationships look like – and this extends beyond criminal and financial records. Personal information, like someone’s connections, hobbies, and living patterns can help you build a stronger client relationship, perform witness location, and gather physical evidence for your case. With the right technology, you can get more comprehensive results in less time.

A public and private records search engine can provide you with information about an individual’s relatives and business affiliates – which can be important to determine if there are any conflicts of interest or to find people that might have information relevant to the case. 

If you’re looking to gather personal information like someone’s interests or daily activities, a social network people search can help you find the results you need quickly by pulling photos, affiliated websites, web mentions, and more and aggregating it into one straightforward report. Because people reveal large amounts of personal information online, a social media search can be useful for vetting potential jurors or understanding your client or opposition’s character. You can also use a social media search to find past locations of a person, which can help you with proof of alibi or to establish personal jurisdiction. 

If you’re looking to find information about someone’s whereabouts that you can’t gather with an address history or property records search or you need to cross-check for stronger due diligence, a utility record search can provide you with address information pulled from utility companies, and a vehicle database can reveal where an individual’s vehicle was sighted at specific times. 

When performing due diligence, the right public and private records database allows you to access more information than that which is provided with traditional records, giving you a leg up on your opponent and helping you build a more comprehensive understanding of your case.

Interested in seeing how a public and private records search engine can help you perform better due diligence quickly? Try Tracers today.