Investigation Hypotheticals: Preparing for the Investigation Interview

Buckner provides investigation best practices using hypotheticals derived from the firm’s investigations conducted for its sports, education and corporate clients:

FACT PATTERN: John Dough, an attorney, has been retained by ACME University to conduct an internal investigation of alleged misconduct and violation of university policies. Dough is investigating whether Sue Bright, an undergraduate academic advisor and tutor, provided improper benefits and committed academic fraud through preparing papers and completing online and take-home exams for students, including several members of the ACME football team. Dough is preparing to interview Bright. What are some items Dough should review or research to prepare for the interview?

ANSWER: Preparation is essential to conducting an effective and useful investigative interview. Dough should review: (1) the investigative chart (or summary of established facts); (2) notes or transcripts of prior interviews (highlighting important testimony that should be addressed in Bright’s interview); (3) relevant documents (compiling documents that need to be reviewed during Bright’s interview); (4) all of the alleged improper academic work (including any forensic analyses of the materials and electronic systems used); (5) Bright’s biographical information and results of any background checks/research; and (6) pertinent laws, regulations and policies. Overall, Dough’s review will provide him with a better understanding of Bright’s alleged role in the context of the case, as well as any motivations, alibis and mitigating/aggravating factors that should be explored on the record. For example, Dough’s evaluation of prior interview notes/transcripts, physical evidence and factual summary will identify questions and issues that should be explored during the interview of Bright. Dough should use the information obtained in this review to prepare an outline of the interview questions or topics.


Contact Buckner attorney Michael Buckner (+1-954-941-1844 ext. 1; for more information on internal investigation issues.