Cooperation Agreements and
Personal Assistance Agreements

Cooperation agreements are agreements between the prosecutor and otherwise culpable individuals who provide the government with assistance useful to an investigation in exchange for benefits. Written cooperation agreements are frequently employed by both federal and state prosecutors. Some are case specific and drafted to reflect the needs of the investigation. Others are boilerplate documents where the only variables are the names of the defendant and his attorney. Regardless, once signed, the writing is one the client will have to live with until his case is resolved.


Whether the document is referred to as a substantial assistance agreement or cooperation agreement, the writing should serve to clarify from the beginning of the relationship what performance the government expects from the client. It will also leave no doubt about the severity of the consequences for failure to perform.

Personal Assistance Agreements and Contracts

The government also enters into contracts with select informants. Known as a Personal Assistance Agreement (PAA), the contract can be extremely lucrative in terms of commissions and profits earned during an undercover operation. The principal reason for a PAA is to limit the government’s liability arising out of an informant’s activities in connection with an undercover operation or investigation. Although it might be considered unusual, there is no bar to an informant enlisting the services of an attorney before entering into a PAA.


Attorneys are invited to consult with Dennis G. Fitzgerald during the drafting and negotiation stage of either agreement.


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