In recent years, the support staff, specifically the paralegals have dramatically increased the ability to locate and retrieve web based information. The simple “Google search” has been replaced by using multiple search engines including Google and its “operators.” Law firms routinely use paid databases used in locating people, access to DMV – motor vehicle records and a variety of informational services including skilled research of public records. In the very recent years, paralegals are now using specialized software to capture social media profiles, something that even as recent as two years ago was unheard of.
V.R.S. understands and acknowledges that a skilled paralegal can probably locate the same information and produce the same work product on and estimated 80% of the individuals, entities and events as V.R.S. can. With most people not having multiple state residency histories, civil litigation history and multiple bankruptcies filed in several jurisdictions and minimal if any social media presence, the skills and database utilized by paralegals is sufficient.
The remaining 20%.... without specialized software and the required skills associated with locating and extracting located information, the paralegal cannot search these areas of the web and retrieve the information. Without these tools… it’s physically impossible. Using tools such as Application Programming Interface (A.P.I.), Custom Search Engines (CSE), Python application software, specialized browser “add-ons” and “plug-ins”, metadata extraction software in addition to other tools of the trade, the remaining information can be located and obtained.
Another concern is testimony and authenticating of the located information. Using the services of V.R.S. as opposed to in house staff can eliminate the concerns of exposure when testimony is needed to enter located material into evidence. If the firm’s in house staff is required to testify to have the material admitted into evidence, opposing counsel may ask questions relating to other areas of the case that may hurt your client’s position. If V.R.S. was used for the sole purpose of due diligence and or extracting specified information or audio or video material, VRS would not have any additional exposure to the client’s case. V.R.S. would testify only to the assignment and the located material.