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Internal Investigations 101: Witness Interview Strategies, Part I (Interview Order)

An internal investigation is an important mechanism an organization can use to address an allegation of wrongdoing, determine legal liability, identify individuals or parties with culpability, comply with regulatory requirements, develop corrective measures and enhance operational efficiencies. Buckner is pleased to continue its blog series highlighting best practices, strategies and techniques that can be used by organizational leaders and counsel during an internal investigation. Today’s post will begin a review of witness interview strategies.

The interviews of witnesses, the complainant/accuser and the target/respondent are the most important aspects of an internal investigation. However, an interview that is not properly planned can damage the accuracy and effectiveness of an investigation.

One strategy is to schedule interviews in a logical order—using a “pyramid” or “reverse pyramid” sequence. In the “pyramid” sequence, the investigator would interview the following parties first: (a) the complainant/accuser; and (b) individuals with the least amount of information or those parties most removed from the alleged misconduct. As the investigation proceeds, the investigator will interview persons with more knowledge of the allegations. The last set of interviews would be individuals with the most knowledge of the allegations. The target of the investigation would be the final interview. Under the “reverse pyramid” sequence, the investigator flips the order of the interviews (except, the complainant/accuser should always be the first interview).

For more information on conducting internal investigations, please contact Michael L. Buckner at +1-954-941-1844 or mbuckner@bucknersportslaw.com.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


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