"How much does the services of a Computer Forensics Examiner or a Computer Forensics Expert Witness cost?"
If it is a criminal matter, the Defendant may be charged with a crime that is punishable with 10 years of incarceration. We look at end results and I'd rather be up front with potential clients than have surprises down the road. Computerlegalexperts.com encourages that you ask any expert what is their fee structure and if possible the estimate to complete. Firms, depending on location and other factors may charge $400 to $700 per hour and more, depending on the matter, type of litigation and / or availability. This generally does not include incidental expenses such as travel, hotels, meals and incidentals, not to mention that some experts require $5,000 - $10,000 retainer, before they will even look at a matter. Computerlegalexperts.com's retainer is $4,000 and we accept major credit cards, for a small fee.
At Computerlegalexperts.com, to keep most from crying, we "tier" our fees. We have sliding-fees for those of lesser means and CJA-type cases. I have seen the ads for a $200 or $2,000 “special.” Frankly, I don’t know how they do it, considering the cost of labor, materials and well, it just does not make sense, when you add the hours up. This can include reviewing documentation, examination of the hard drive, the analysis and finally, the reporting aspect.
"I can't believe this is happening!!! Where am I going to find the money for my defense counsel and expert(s)?"
Look at a model of "resources vs. cash" as an alternative. Options for "private-pay" clients include the examination of the liquidation of the following options: Cash, stocks, bonds, savings, house equity, reverse mortgage, 401k's, 529's, IRA's, personal lines of credit, credit cards, relatives, precious metals (Platinum, Gold, Silver), to name a few options.
We honor Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, or Discover credit cards, for a small transaction fee.
We also offer discounted group rates to certain State and Local Bar Associations, Governmental, Military and Public Defender entities. Contact Computerlegalexperts.com to see if your organization is eligible.
"Are you a Private Investigator?"
First and foremost, Computerlegalexperts.com performs Computer Forensics Examinations and Computer Forensics Expert Witness work. Having completed Private Investigations School and Peace Officers Standards and Training classes, Computerlegalexperts.com is a computer forensics practice, which is based in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Commonwealth of Virginia DOES NOT require computer forensics experts or professionals or computer forensics expert witnesses to have a Private Investigator's License, but falls into the categories of computer support or technical services and is licensed as such.
"Where is all of this money going?"
Rather than be shy about costs, let's be candid. The investment in the acquisition of software licenses or new hardware for computer forensics infrastructure, not to mention training and education, is about $8-$10,000, or more, a year. In addition, most cases require a analysis of documents and if counsel plans to file a pre-trial motion for dismissal and for testimony at the hearing, I'd advise anybody to initially budget at least $5000 to $10,000. The approach at Computerlegalexperts.com is to do the engineering up front to minimize hours of searching and guess-work when entering the analysis phase. Our reports can be quite detailed and are quite necessary as an exhibit.
This effort requires the review of documentation and pleadings (complaint, answer, reports, depositions, affidavits, etc.), assistance in helping your legal counsel prepare these documents and answering questions. There is consulting time with legal counsel and yourself, regarding significant issues, travel and other expenses, such as mileage or rentals. Please contact Computerlegalexperts.com for our schedule of fees. We offer discounted group rates to certain State and Local Bar Associations and Governmental and Military entities, as well as Criminal Justice Act (CJA) case work. Please reach out to Computerlegalexperts.com to see if your organization is eligible.
"Why do you need to fly Business or First Class?"
Three reasons- Equipment, Evidentiary Exhibits and flexibility in changing reservations in light of circumstances or dynamics within the court system, requiring a change in travel arrangements. The equipment that is used is sensitive, expensive and we don't need to have ramp baggage people or bell-hops tossing it around like the gorilla in the American Tourister Luggage Commercial (or if you prefer "country & western music," the saga of Dave Carroll's Taylor Guitar), the day before trial. The other reason is chain-of-custody when handling material and ensuring it is in the proper person's possession and control. Carry-on bags in coach is limiting (fees), whereas in business class, there is a little more latitude.
"Why do I need an expert witness or even need computer forensics?"
Melvin Belli, Sr., once said about experts, "You'll probably win with one, but surely lose without one." Example- We were able to discover who was downloading contraband images and provide not only the identity, but the credit card information and other evidence, that was pertinent to the case. The respective charges were subsequently dropped against the Defendant. There was another case, where the Defendant’s media, was tampered with and another similar case.
Another matter, an attorney represented that pornographic pictures on a computer belonged to a Defendant in a civil matter. Through an analysis of the files in question, they did not belong to the Defendant.
In a child custody matter, evidence relating to the access of child pornography was supposedly deleted, but upon discovery of the recovered data showing an outside piece of media was used, the opposing litigant's testimony was that the person was seventeen years of age.
An employee was caught soliciting soliciting a police officer, who was role-playing as a minor male. The school's administrator contacted Computerlegalexperts.com to analyze and evaluate the employee's computer to ensure that the employee had not used the school's computer for felonious means and to mitigate any risks that could have damaged the reputation of the school.
"Why haven't you raised your rates for service?"
For the most part, Computerlegalexperts.com has completed our investment in the infrastructure for the year. Computerlegalexperts investment in computer forensics hardware and software pays dividends for our clients. After performing an analysis, with the higher labor rates, the Client's total expenditures may actually be less than the rates charged for a case, four years ago. Computerlegalexperts recently made a major capital investment the infrastructure, in the form of equipment and software. The estimated result of this investment exceeds an estimated 45%+ of labor hours saved (the chart), as compared to four years ago. Simply stated, even though Computerlegalexperts' rates have increased, the end result is that you will have a higher earned value or have more money left in your pocket during or at the end of your matter, due to advances in technology.
When you retain us for your computer forensics needs, you get what you pay for: superior service at a reasonable rate.
"What drives the costs for my matter?"
There are several phases of the computer forensic process and we utilize the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) approach as a foundation towards our approach to computer forensics:
1. Assessment- Since each case is somewhat unique, the review of all available hard-copy reports and an assessment of all and digital media is necessary prior to the first phase of the computer forensics model is the data acquisition process. In order to maximize the effect, while minimizing the client's overall costs. During this period, upon request of the client, we will layout a series of milestones and associated activities in order to fairly budget and provide an evaluation in order for client or counsel to make a choice (or choices).
2. Acquisition- In computer forensics, digital evidence, by its very nature, is fragile and can be altered, damaged or destroyed by improper handling or examination. Examination is best conducted on a copy of the original evidence. The original evidence should be acquired in a manner that protects and preserves the integrity of the evidence.(NIJ) One example is that hard-drives, a two-step process is executed to ensure data integrity. We use the Logicube Portable Forensic Lab and the Logicube Talon for both speed and accuracy.
3. Examination- The purpose of the computer forensics examination process is to extract and analyze digital evidence. (NIJ) We utilize forensics software which examine various parts of the computer's hard drive for exculpatory data. Depending upon the matter, there may be multiple hours (or if there are movies, a few days to a week), for processing the material for extraction and testing purposes. We have found some pretty amazing things, after restoring movie and picture files. We utilize various software tools that are recognized by the courts as to accuracy and content. We use computer forensics tools and products such as Cacheback, Forensic Tool Kit, Camtasia and other products in this phase.
4. Analysis- The interpretation of the recovered data and putting it in a logical and useful format. (NIJ) - Consultation occurs with client and counsel, for the preparation of deposition, pretrial hearings and trial preparation materials.
5. Documentation and Reporting- Prepare the computer forensics reports and computer forensics trial exhibits, as needed, based upon the computer forensics examination and analysis.
Please note, there are other factors, which in every matter such as case complexity, which is driven by the acquisition of hard drives, travel, meals, incidentals, hearings, depositions, availability of evidence and so forth, plays an active role.
"What are your 'discriminators'?"
1. Court qualified- Federal and State / Commonwealth.
2. We can aid counsel in the development of questions for interrogatories, depositions and trial.
3. We build our computer forensics reports in parallel with the analysis, giving you the most "bang for the computer forensics buck."
4. In the computer forensics acquisition phase, we use a Logicube Portable Forensics Lab, featuring the Logicube Talon, to mirror the disks at the maximum possible speed, up to 3 GB per minute, in a forensically correct manner to preserve the evidence, sector by sector, byte by byte, bit by bit. Although the attorney is YOUR advocate, we are aggressively unbiased in our approach to presenting facts and our computer forensics finding is the bedrock of the opinion which is proffered upon the facts.
5. In an effort to reduce pre-processing time, we’ve upgraded to our new computer system in December of 2016 and with the release of AccessData's Forensic Toolkit 6.x This computer is an Intel-based Simply stated- It's equivalent to a Porsche 911 Twin-Turbo Cabriolet among the Chevrolet Corvette's and Ford Mustang's that are on the race-track. More speed and memory, means faster pre-processing time and less out-of-pocket costs to the client. The only drawback, is in some cases, statutory requirements call out for work to be performed at a government facility, utilizing their equipment. This can impact costs.
6. We are prepared to work with counsel and provide statutes and case law research which enables the client to have an attorney who is prepared at the time of the trial.
7. Maturity and Experience: At Computerlegalexperts, we have the Computer Forensics training (theory), but it is imperative to have practical experience. Our experience includes the areas of Administrative Law, UCMJ, Criminal, Civil and trial experience. Our IT experience started in the days of the DEC-10, DEC-Rainbow 100, Kaypro, Timex Sinclair, Commodore-64, TRS-80, IBM PC, IBM PC-XT, IBM PC-AT, and then some but continued through the various network software, applications and back-up and recovery programs.
8. Computerlegalexperts.com is located near an DOJ Facility, thus reducing overall labor travel costs and expenditures for Adam Walsh Act-type cases, in the event a protective order is unable to be obtained.
"What makes YOU different than any of the other "Vulture's" out there?"
Candor, integrity and we aren't "Vultures." Computerlegalexperts.com is a dedicated computer forensics expert firm, which is a professional organization who understands that some of lesser means needs a sliding-scale in order to afford a competent computer forensics expert witness or computer forensic examiner. At Computerlegalexperts.com, we, unlike other entities, openly publish our rates, but the total actual costs are dependent upon the matter, dynamics of the litigation and the work to be performed. Is it an individual, criminal, corporate, or an administrative matter? What is the "scope of work" that you will require? Does it require on-site services or can it be performed with the use of a courier service? Is there any extra expenses that may be incurred by reason of constraints placed upon the parties by the court? We believe in a no-nonsense and clarity approach to our efforts.
Since we do have the education and experience with the legal and justice systems, respectively, YOU as the client need to make the final determination. If you want to spend your resources on a "technician" who is "feeling their way around" or someone with the experience and the "bleeding edge" tool-set to acquire data, review the data, state a solid opinion, based upon the acquisition of the accurate data and not limit it to just a peek at the hard-drive, we should be your first choice .
As the Client, maybe you'll need a second or independent opinion? Depending upon the intensity of the matter, there may be a need for researching reports, preparation of documentation for court hearings and or trial, execution of writs, testimony at deposition or trial and so forth. Also, "vultures" live off of the carrion of animals. As long as your litigation is ongoing, you're still alive and we will do everything possible to treat your matter with dignity and respect!
How come your rates are so reasonable, considering your location?
- We know what we're doing in the areas of Computer Forensics and Digital Evidence Acquisition.
- Why money doesn't necessarily buy quality.
- We work aggressively for our clients in delivering facts.
- We enjoy what we do, by delivering results.
- We understand Zinn's axiom of: "It doesn't take any talent to spend other people's money!"
- Low overhead. We use the Bob Parson's model of providing a value-added service.
What makes Computerlegalexperts.com different than the other Expert or Consultant firms?
- Education and / or experience in the areas of Computer Science, Systems Engineering, Electronic Evidence Recovery, the Law; civil, criminal, constitutional and military procedure.
- The ability and knowledge to use "state-of-the-art" equipment and software, for a fraction of the cost that the opposition or law enforcement would pay for. Example- Most law enforcement agencies do not have the equipment we have to perform the services we do. As our client, you are obtaining "Rocket Science" services, without spending the amount of a NASA program.
- At Computerlegalexperts.com, we don't make outrageous promises and we won't gamble with your money! Our only guarantee that we offer is that we will do our best for you by providing the information that you, your legal counsel and if the event arises, the jury and judge in order to make an informed decision. In the matters we have been involved with, ALL of our clients either prevailed on their civil complaint or cross-complaint.
- Knowledge of potential expenses is important. We openly post our schedule of fees and we welcome all "Experts" and "Consultants" to post their schedule of fees on or within their websites. These include the outstanding experts in their field such as Brooks Hilliard, Judd Robbins, Reed Simpson, Global Digital, Jeff Parmet and Associates or Sensei Enterprises, Inc.
We cannot emphasize enough that whether or not you choose our firm, the early retention of an Expert is critical for disclosure / discovery purposes in your matter.
At Computerlegalexperts.com, our labor-billing rates from 1998 were recently indexed to reflect the "real cost" impacts of performing outstanding service, with the growth of the practice, yet remains an added-value service to your litigation. Most of the time that is incurred will more than likely happen during the Discovery Phase of litigation, since it is important for an Expert Witness or Trial Consultant to be prepared if the matter enters the Trial Phase. Therefore, it is important that a credible and ethical Expert Witness or Trial Consultant, who will review your matter, with you and your counsel before ever looking at a hard drive. Our scale of fees is straightforward and no-nonsense, yet is lower than one would expect, since we take a professional and polished approach with your matter. We believe that we offer a superior set of skills, without the frills, which enables our scale of fees to be among the most reasonable in our field. We prefer to focus on the uniqueness of each case and client-care, instead of worrying about our rent.
Why do I need a Trial Consultant?
Legal counsel does the best for their clients by the presentation of your case, since they are your advocate. At Computerlegalexperts.com, we make every effort to present your matter in a factually clear and logical way. If we were to look at you case as being a "project," an "Expert Witness" or "Trial Consultant" is merely one of the tools that is in your legal counsel's toolbox. When selecting an "Expert Witness" or a "Trial Consultant," we urge you to choose wisely. If you are looking for a team of individuals who have the skill-set and knowledge, but doesn't pass on their massive overhead in their billings to their clients, we'd like to see how we can help you.
Will your "Team" be able to guarantee my success in my case?
At Computerlegalexperts.com, we won't gamble with your money! Our only guarantee we offer is that we will do our best for you by providing the information that you, your legal counsel and if the event arises, the jury and judge in order to make an informed decision.