Law firms have long used public records search data to find persons of interest, witnesses, defendants, and debtors, even to research potential jurors or businesses. For some practice areas, search needs have expanded to include social media profiles, both current and historical. In a recent interview with the team at Tracers, they shared how law firms are applying the advanced search capabilities of Tracers to everyday casework.

With a growing number of law firms seeking out cost-effective access to public records, asset records and detailed person search history, the recently updated Tracers platform is providing exactly what attorneys are looking for — and so much more.

Basic People Search

Contact information, residence and verifiable addresses are not always disclosed or readily available to the law firm when a new case or project comes in. Tracers databases are continuously updated to provide the most relevant contact information and address history for a party. Most commonly used by debt collection attorneys, there are also several use cases in the areas of business law, real estate, family law, immigration and more.  

All Tracers searches will return that include both exact name matches as well as any aliases found. Further refine results by location, Social Security number, phone number or other piece of unique information. Tracers will then display the top five most recent addresses which, if clicked, will show the Google street view. A full history of all the recorded addresses is available by selecting “all addresses.”

If there is a reason to reach out to friends or family members of the person of interest, Tracers displays all related family members and spouses with indicators of the relationship and other information. A diamond is displayed next to a name if that person is a possible husband, wife or partner; while first-degree relatives’ records can be expanded to access phone, social, address and other information to track down “couch surfers.”

Beyond the Basics — Tracers Comprehensive Report

The practice of law involves uncovering facts and finding information that is needed. Traditionally, lawyers would work with bail bondsmen or private investigators to track down the location of a witness or a criminal. However, there are several other scenarios where public records or social media information can be applied — such as insurance defense, collections work, immigration or trial jury selection — trends that Tracers users are proving to be true, repeatedly.

Typically, Tracers users begin their search by using the a la carte search options but, over time, they often move to ordering the full comprehensive report. That report is uniquely helpful because it searches a deep set of records nationwide.

Social Media Report

We could do an entire demo on the use of the social media search capability of Tracers. In one seamless report, all current and active and inactive social media profiles can be found. This is a tool that has been used for both finding a person of interest and also to document social media activity for use in ligation.

All reports can be exported into the file format of your choice: PDF, Word, or Excel. A law firm’s logo can be added and sensitive information can be masked, such as Social Security numbers, before sharing the document in court or with a client.

Repeat, Delayed or Ongoing Searches

The Tracers ID assigned to each contact record can be used to run a search again at any time. Delayed searches can be set up to pull ongoing information on the status of a party. For ongoing searches, all previously searched contacts are saved using the Tracers ID in the law firm’s account history. The most common uses are for social media reports, because a user’s profile is often disabled and then re-enabled, or locations are changed, providing ongoing evidence of activity that can be used in litigation.

World Class Customer Service

The search process can be a bit daunting for first-time users because the platform provides different information than traditional legal research tools.  Tracers eases this learning curve by offering one-on-one demos and ongoing white-glove support.  With over twenty-three years of experience in advanced public records and people searching, their expertise and customer centered approach is unique.

To give you an example of how committed Tracers is to helping their law firm clients get results, every morning the support team receives a report of searches that garnered zero results. Tracers then proactively reaches out to those users to offer assistance. There are few things more rare than proactivity on the part of a provider!

Track and Bill Individual Records Search Costs

Every search is assigned a Reference Tag which is a great option when going back to search again, or to expand to include records or send to bookkeeping for billing.

Advanced Account and User Management

As records searches are often specific to work done for one particular client or case, account management is more advanced within Tracers than in most traditional search platforms. The following management options give law firm administrators the ability to prevent the misuse of search functionality for personal purposes.

Permissions can be tracked and restricted by user or IP address. A user’s search history can be reviewed at any time to spot-check their work or to restrict users from “types of search” by practice group or staff level. Accounts can be managed by restricting each account to only be able to search for specific data types.

Track and Bill Reporting Costs Specific to Project or Matter

Within Tracers’ search history log, users can produce a statement of report costs specific to a client or matter. Administrators can use the same search history to monitor the firm’s spend and usage and compare comprehensive searches versus individual records searched over time, thus determining the most cost-effective process possible.

Who Is Permitted to Use Tracers?

As you can imagine, the type of data provided is heavily regulated … and should be. When an attorney requests access to the Tracers platform, there is a validation process that is listed below. After approval, the designated staff are invited to begin the onboarding process.

  1. The attorney is an active bar member “in good standing”
  2. The law firm is registered with the state as an LLC or partnership

Advanced Account Security and Administration

Once the law firm has been approved as a Tracers client, each user must be validated and created within the account. First, each staff member is validated using a photo ID. Second, an IP address is matched to the staff member’s account.

By restricting a user’s access by IP address, the law firm can then set usage hours and location to ensure that the staff member is not able to conduct unauthorized searches from home or outside of the office. Even the account owner, or managing partner, is unable to overstep these boundaries unless they notify the Tracers customer service team. No international use is authorized unless it is pre-approved before the travel dates and registered with the Tracers client support team. These procedures protect both the law firm and the public from abuse of the people search data.

In Summary

With only a handful of options for public records data available to attorneys, Tracers stands above the rest by offering exemplary service, seamless search tools and transparent pricing. Attorneys will find that working with Tracers is akin to a partnership — not just a per-search transactional relationship.

To learn more about Tracers, or schedule a demo visit Tracers for Legal Professionals.

Chelsey Lambert

Chelsey Lambert

Chelsey Lambert is a Legal Technology Specialist, published Author and CLE Speaker. As a former Practice Management Advisor for the Chicago Bar Association, and Vice President of Marketing for a leading case management provider she has seen our industry from many angles. Today, she works with vendors to bring their products or emerging technologies into the marketplace. And, teaches legal technology courses to lawyers all over the country sharing different ways technology can benefit their law firm. As Founder of Lex Tech Review and Lex Tech Media Group she welcomes the opportunity to chat!