Our expertise in investigations
Womble Bond Dickinson's investigation team provides in-house teams with the capacity, resources and tools needed to complete the task within required timeframes and with a proportionate level of diligence.
A modular service
Our support is modular which allows as much or as little of each investigation to be outsourced. This could be as simple as asking us to collate the relevant documents for you or as extensive as commissioning us to conduct a fully managed end-to-end inquiry.
Advising on the scope, structure and conduct of an investigation so as to achieve your goals and avoid pitfalls.
Assisting with the appointment of independent investigators and forensic specialists.
Identification, collection, organisation and review of relevant documents.
Preparing and conducting interviews (in compliance with regulatory requirements, civil and criminal procedure and employment law).
Preparation of reports of factual findings and presentation of findings to senior management.
Advising on legal, commercial and reputational risks.
- Fraud (civil and criminal)
- Financial services
- Health & safety
- Product liability
- Professional misconduct.
- Director misfeasance
- Internal theft/fraud
- Audit inquiries
- Employee misconduct
- Ethics compliance
- ESG reporting
- Cyber incidents
- Distributor/vendor fraud
- Customer complaints
- Supply chain standards
- Public inquiries/select committees.
- Governance breakdown
- Project failures
- Process reviews
- Efficiency audits.
Example use cases
A whistleblower alleges that misleading information has been presented to the company's auditors.
An independent end-to-end review is required under privilege to determine the seriousness of the issue and whether there is a material legal risk.
An accounting anomaly suggests that customers have been repeatedly overcharged for a number of years and that this may have been part of a long running internal fraud.
The email accounts of the relevant employees are extracted and reviewed for "smoking guns". A chronology of key events is produced for the client organisation so they may undertake their own risk assessment.
A company is concerned about alleged inappropriate behaviour of a senior executive.
The sensitivity of the allegations and seniority of those involved means that the investigation cannot be handled in-house. The investigation is outsourced to WBD to gather relevant WhatsApp message and social media posts and to interview the executive. A chronology of factual findings is presented to the board.
An organisation is criticised for its use of contractors with questionable ethical standards and are under pressure in the media to transparently explain what has happened.
WBD is publicly appointed as an independent investigator to produce a public report on what happened and the remedial measures taken to ensure it does not happen again.
A growing number of customer complaints raises concerns about service failures.
A review is commissioned of 500 customer complaint emails to triage the level of risk, with recommendations made on where further investigations are needed.
Urgent project review
An outsourcing was intended to deliver substantial cost savings but leads to increased costs and a termination of the outsourcing relationship.
Senior management wish to understand what happened and to discuss lessons learnt at next week's board meeting.
The in-house team are heavily engaged in other projects so the interviews of key staff are outsourced. A report of the factual findings is produced for the in-house team so they can draw up recommendations for improvements for their board.
The CEO is called to testify before a Select Committee on the sale of environmentally damaging products.
A detailed investigation is required to ensure the CEO gives accurate evidence to Parliament. The scale of the forensic exercise required is beyond the in-house team's capacity so is outsourced to WBD to establish the fact package that will be used by the CEO.
An employee has left to set-up their own business - there is a concern that they have collated client data to take with them.
An investigation is required to understand what data may have been taken and the risk this may cause to the business so as to determine whether to enforce the covenant.
If you are looking for support with a live investigation by a regulator or want advice on conducting investigations in special legal areas, please contact one of our legal specialists.