Challenging many widely held beliefs about effective investigative techniques, former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Michael Johnson teaches lawful and scientifically validated methods for interviewing witnesses, detecting signs of deception and truthfulness, and writing investigative reports. Mr. Johnson has provided on-site investigations training to organizations such as Accenture, Google, the EEOC, and the United Nations.
Thousands of past attendees have rated the on-site seminar 4.8 on a 5.0 scale and described the content as “eye-opening,” “engaging,” and “riveting.” Michael’s training has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine.
To view a sample of Michael Johnson speaking on “Myths about Cues to Deception,” click on the video on the right. To learn more about the training, click on the rows below.
To watch videos of Michael Johnson being interviewed on investigation and deception topics, click on the “Interview Videos” row.
Looking for training for yourself or a small group? Mr. Johnson also provides live an on-demand public webinars on investigation topics. By buying an all-access webinar membership, you can access all of these webinars, and our hundreds of other webinars, for one flat fee.
Michael Johnson most often delivers the training for clients as a 2-day seminar, though a client can choose a shorter session. Each attendee receives Mr. Johnson’s book, Investigating Employee Misconduct, to use during the seminar and as a guide for future investigations. The course content can be customized to address your organization’s specific policies and practices. The content of the two-day session is described below.
Day 1: Investigating Employee Misconduct
By examining videos and discussing numerous case studies, you will learn, among other things, about the following:
Detecting Cues to Deception
- How to strategically approach “he said/she said” cases or cases where there are no eyewitnesses
- Which verbal and physical cues to deception have been scientifically validated and which are based on myth
- How the manner in which a witness tells a story provides clues of truthfulness.
Advanced Interviewing Techniques
- How to use the “Funnel Method” to gather all relevant information from each witness
- Advanced questioning techniques proven to make it easier to differentiate between truthful and deceptive responses
Legal Issues in Investigations
- How much detail about witnesses’ statements you should give the accused
- Rules for searching an employee’s workspace, computer, or personal belongings
- Limitations on your ability to examine employees’ Facebook or other social media sites
- What you should do if the accused brings an attorney, co-worker, or friend to the investigative interview
- Restrictions on your ability to discipline employees for discussing the investigation with others
Day 2: Interviewing and Report Writing Workshop
Attendees will practice planning for the investigation, interviewing witnesses, and searching for documentation in a “he said/she said” case study that is based on a real-life investigation. By the end of the workshop, you will learn if you successfully interviewed the witnesses, uncovered all of the relevant evidence, reached an accurate conclusion, and properly documented your findings.
Writing the Report
You will practice writing a report and learn, among other things:
- How to use the investigative report to plan and continually update your investigation strategy
- What to include, and not include, in the report to ensure that it is legally defensible.
- How to best document facts and credibility determinations
- How to maintain attorney-client privilege, where applicable
- How to overcome “writer’s block” to greatly increase the speed at which you write
- How to write a report that is comprehensive but clear and concise
[one_fourth] [/one_fourth] [three_fourths_last] Michael W. Johnson, CEO of Clear Law Institute, is a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney. He has trained thousands of professionals how to effectively interview witnesses and spot deception in internal investigations. The United Nations hired Mr. Johnson to train UN staff on investigative interviewing techniques in New York, the Congo, and Sierra Leone. He has served as an expert witness in cases challenging the adequacy of employer investigations. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School. [/three_fourths_last]
Michael Johnson has provided investigations training to thousands of professionals at organizations around the world. Past evaluations of his sessions have averaged 4.8 on a 5.0 scale. We’ve included below testimonials from some of his recent sessions on investigations at industry conferences.
SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute
- “You can tell he does this often and he does it very well. He made the subject matter understandable in a way that people can take his tips and put into practice easily.”
- “The speaker was well rehearsed and spoke to us, not reading from slides or a script. Made the presentation very engaging and memorable.”
- “Mike was a great speaker and entertaining as well.”
- “EXCELLENT source of information. Very interesting speaker. Practical information regardless of where you were in the topic.”
- “Good practical examples of real life situations – made for easier application of material and best practices material.”
- “The presenter was engaging and drew upon the fact that many of us actually have performed many investigations – getting us to admit our challenges and showing us how to address them.”
- “The session was effectively presented and it was clear how I can apply these principles in my investigations right away.”
- “Professional, dynamic delivery.”
- “Great speaker, very engaging. Lots of practical tips.”
- “Very good presentation. Clear and easy to follow. Actual knowledge shared that I learned and will take back with me.”
Health Care Compliance Association Conference
- “Mr. Johnson provided one of the most memorable presentations of the institute. It was very enjoyable and eye- opening. Everything we’ve been taught is challenged, and important information was provided to assist in investigations.”
- “Mr. Johnson was a complete surprise and delight and obviously knows his stuff. I have been in those situations where obviously someone is not telling the truth but how to tell?!! This was not only educational but entertaining!”
- “By far the best session in giving me concrete skills to use. He is an exceptional speaker and very knowledgeable. Enjoyed the case studies and interaction with the audience. His use of humor is wonderful too.”
- “Incredible – how much we need information like this. One of the most informative and interesting sessions of the entire week.”
- “Michael was clever, engaging, and an excellent speaker with great information. I would have listened all day!”
- “This session was packed, seems like a lot of people decided to attend as an alternate and it was well worth sitting on the floor for. Have him back, he is a wealth of knowledge and an excellent speaker/presenter.”
- “Wonderful speaker and a packed room. Well worth sitting on the floor!”
- “The speaker’s presentation style made the session very enjoyable and the content was fantastic as it really challenged how we have been trained over the years.”
- “Very interactive, presented with humor (that keeps everyone engaged). There were videos to view with scenarios. Superb.”
Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics Annual Conference
- “Michael’s style is engaging, if not riveting. He knows how to keep the audience involved and thinking, remains open to questions and differing opinions, and encourages audience interaction. He brings the subject to life and illustrates questions in a meaningful way.”
- “Michael was clearly the winning speaker. He was extremely funny and kept people engaged. I learned a great deal during his session. Bring him back for more courses!!!”
- “This session was the best out of all presentation given. The speaker was entertaining, yet very professional. I would recommend you use Michael for all of your seminars.”
- “Mike Johnson was an exceptional speaker – he was incredibly engaging and learned. His participation was the high point of the workshop. I would strongly encourage you to engage Mr. Johnson in more seminars to teach compliance professionals, we have much to learn from him.”
- “Mr Johnson was the most talked about speaker among our group. Great Class.”
- “This was the best session in the Workshop, as it really provided what I needed personally to function effectively. I really wish you would make Michael Johnson available to us every so often via a webcast. This was great!”
- “Funny presenter that caught my attention. Liked the video demo. And his real life examples.”
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Conference
- “Michael Johnson – fantastic, engaging, useful handouts for future reference by HR professionals.”
- “Michael Johnson- great speaker and interactive –videos were helpful”
- “Michael Johnson appeared prepared and put together a cohesive presentation that included personality.”
- “Michael Johnson was amazing!” “Please bring Michael Johnson back next year!”
Ethics and Compliance Officers Association (ECOA) Annual Conference
- “This was a superb session. The speaker was engaging and the content was extremely helpful. This was really great.”
- “Best session of the conference so far!”
- “By far the most useful session at this meeting. Great presenter and material.”
- “Excellent material and presenter.”
- “Excellent speaker; excellent session!”
Watch interviews of Michael Johnson about detecting deception and investigating workplace misconduct from the SCCE and SHRM.
Interview with the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)
What is a common mistake investigators make when interviewing someone who is suspected of lying?
What is an example of an inaccurate stereotype about how people behave when they lie?
Interview with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Detecting Deception During Workplace Investigations
Michael Johnson has provided client-specific investigations training for dozens of organizations around the world. Sample clients include:
- Northrop Grumman
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
- Social Security Administration
- Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC
- Orange County, California
- United Nations (New York, Congo, Sierra Leone)
- World Bank
- Inter-American Development Bank
The course has been pre-approved for re-certifcation credit by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).
Many state bar associations have approved the training for CLE credit. If you wish, we can seek continuing education credit for your specific state(s).
CCB Compliance Certifications (CCEP, CHC, CHRC)
The Compliance Certification Board (“CCB”) has approved the course for continuing education credit.
Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors have been able to receive CPE credit for this course.
Mr. Johnson usually delivers the courses in-person at a location the client chooses. For some clients, he has provided multiple sessions around the country or the world so that the client can save on participants’ travel costs.
If you have people who are unable to travel to the session, we can webcast the course so that participants can watch a live video stream of the session. Remote participants are able to ask questions throughout the session.
Mr. Johnson can also provide the courses using webinar technology whereby attendees can participate from their desk anywhere in the world. Participants can listen to or see a video feed of Mr. Johnson speaking and they can ask questions or make comments.
The webinar technology allows clients to avoid Mr. Johnson’s and the participants’ travel costs. Also, when the courses are delivered by webinar, the client can choose to have the training delivered in shorter sessions over some period of time. For example, Mr. Johnson can break the training into 90-minute sessions that can be delivered on successive days or one session per week.
Clear Law Institute handles all of the costs and logistics associated with the webinar technology.
Recording the training
For an additional fee, the client can videotape the training sessions and place the video online to be accessed by their employees. This can be helpful so that investigators who could not attend the live session—and new investigators hired after the training—can view the training at their convenience. Also, participants in the live session could go back and review the video of the training session at their convenience. The price depends on the number of investigators who will access the recording.
Michael Johnson covers much of the material presented in his two-day investigations seminar in several public webinars.
To view his previously recorded investigation webinars, click here.
Each webinar comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don’t find the instruction useful, we will fully refund your money.
Most organizations understand the critical importance of ensuring that all investigators have been trained in how to lawfully and effectively conduct an internal investigation. Trained investigators will conduct investigations more efficiently and will be more likely to be able to reach a conclusion about what happened. If litigation arises, the quality of the internal investigation and the training of the investigator will often be major issues. Indeed, Mr. Johnson has previously served as an expert witness in cases testifying on the issue of whether the employer conducted a lawful and effective investigation.
Poorly performed investigations prevent organizations from raising an affirmative defense in certain types of cases. In some cases, courts have awarded punitive damages of hundreds of thousands of dollars against employers because of the actions of a poorly or inadequately trained investigator. Given this, clients find that the investment in Clear Law training on conducting investigations provides an outstanding return on investment.