An ABA Journal story on the value of private investigators for law firms focuses on Rusty Hardin & Associates investigator Jim Yarbrough, a former Houston Police Department homicide investigator.
In the March 2016 magazine piece, “Some firms swear by the use of private investigators” writer Marc Davis invokes images of Paul Drake, the investigator for TV lawyer Perry Mason and an apt comparison with Yarbrough.
“A private investigator is indispensable to a law firm,” Rusty Hardin told the magazine. “Our firm employs a full-time investigator. It was the best hire I ever made.”
The magazine noted that about 85 percent of Hardin's legal cases are civil actions, 15 percent are criminal matters, and Yarbrough works on both kinds of cases. He does “financial background checks, document searches and Internet quests for information and data. Locating witnesses and talking to them before discovery is another critical service he provides.”
“Our investigator is a trained interviewer, and I'd prefer to have him talk to a witness, rather than a lawyer [doing it],” Hardin told the ABA Journal. “Lawyers often have a predetermined view of things and of a case. But trials are about people, and my investigator is very good with people.”
Yarbrough and Hardin met in the mid-1980's when Hardin was the prosecutor and Yarbrough was the lead detective in the first DNA case in Texas. It involved a serial rapist of elderly Houston women. After HPD, Yarbrough joined Compaq Computer Corporation in their corporate security department. He later became Vice President of Swailes & Co, an investigative and security consulting firm. Jim joined Hardin's law firm as Director of Investigations in 2003. Hardin has called their work together “a marriage made in heaven.”