Planning for internal investigations has always been challenging, even before COVID-19. Investigations tend to unfold much less predictably than litigation, where attorneys are often able to proceed from a known set of facts and follow a reasonably clear road map to achieve a desired outcome. The scope of an investigation, by contrast, can change on a dime. Date ranges of alleged misconduct may suddenly expand, and initial custodian interviews may reveal the need to interview more people than previously thought. Legal or regulatory issues can also multiply as more evidence comes to light. These and other potential complications likely loom larger because of the pandemic, when many organizations are operating with reduced staffing and budgets. Because of these complications, legal, compliance, and risk professionals need to be vigilant in reviewing their investigation policies and be prepared to adapt standard procedures to the new circumstances.
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