Call Your Lawyer First


You get an unexpected visitor — an investigator with his/her team from a government agency. They are seeking information in connection with a matter and reaching out to you because you have done business with or are somehow connected to the target of an investigation. You may be in a position to offer meaningful background information that can help their case. You are not the target of the investigation, so they say. Should you be concerned?

According to Joe Roddy, head of the Firm’s Internal Investigations practice, “Call your lawyer first!” Important people took the time to drop by your office, why disappoint them? According to Roddy, you most likely will not be the target of an investigation, but why take the risk? “It is appropriate and in no way does it show a lack of cooperation to cut the conversation short and inform your visitors that you would like to contact your lawyer before answering any questions.”

Internal investigations can pop up unexpectedly —
literally on your doorstep

Increasingly, government agencies — municipal, state and federal — have beefed up their investigative units. Many now have people with the title “inspector general” as part of the enforcement arm of their respective agencies. They often make unannounced visits to organizations and individuals as they gather evidence in connection with an investigation.

Between getting caught off guard and being fearful of doing something wrong, it can be hard to resist the temptation to answer every question on the spot. In the meantime, provide your contact information and indicate your intention to cooperate. You will get back to them after speaking to your lawyer.

Burke, Warren’s Internal Investigations practice has conducted various investigations and has successfully assisted clients in enacting protective measures such as establishing policies to prevent employee misconduct, designing and implementing corporate compliance procedures and providing employee training and audit programs.

Joe Roddy began his career in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office where he prosecuted numerous jury trials and oversaw different types of criminal investigations. In private practice, Joe has coordinated and conducted internal investigations for Fortune 500 companies, closely-held companies and local municipalities. For more information, please contact Joe Roddy at 312/840-7033 or

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