Daniel Nardello is an experienced litigator, prosecutor and investigator. As Nardello & Co’s founder, Dan oversees the practice’s global commitments, lending his critical thinking and expertise to complex litigation, fraud and due diligence matters. He has lived and worked in England and Italy, where he directed investigative teams for US and foreign-based clients. Fluent in Italian and English, Dan has extensive investigative experience in cross-border due diligence and investigative matters, including FCPA and OECD issues.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN ASSET RECOVERY?
One of the things I always enjoyed when I was a practising lawyer and federal prosecutor was finding answers beneath the surface. That discipline is central to the work we do in asset recovery, and all our other investigation assignments. I was drawn to this field because it allowed me to apply my legal training and passion for fact-finding in a creative and challenging way.
WHAT WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOU FACED IN ESTABLISHING YOUR OWN FIRM?
When I started Nardello & Co, my goal was to establish a world-class, international firm with a culture that puts clients first and is rooted in the highest standards of ethics and integrity. As the firm continues to expand, the key challenge for all of us is to ensure that we never lose sight of the fundamentals – following the letter of the law and conducting ourselves ethically and with integrity in everything we do and providing our clients with exceptional service. This is a particular challenge in certain jurisdictions in which we are navigating around systemic corruption.
AS FOUNDING PARTNER, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR THE FIRM’S DEVELOPMENT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
Over the next few years, I want to focus on continuing to attract exceptional candidates to add to our deep bench of investigative talent. As we continue to expand our global client base, we are putting procedures in place to maintain our culture, which is one of putting clients first and handling investigations with legal and ethical rigour.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THE FIELD?
To be a good investigator, you need to have a real instinct and drive for getting to the bottom of things. You need to be tenacious, smart, creative, disciplined and intellectually curious. You also need to have a strong moral and ethical compass and never cut corners. I would advise younger experts to make sure they are focusing on synthesising information and putting pieces of information together to create a full picture, rather than just dumping data on the client. At Nardello, we stress the importance of good communication and research skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with clients.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CASE TO DATE?
The nature of our business is that most of the work we do remains confidential, so it’s hard to cite specific cases. However, our independent investigation of labour practices during the construction of NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus stands out, especially given the challenge of conducting an investigation in which we interviewed scores of migrant workers under difficult conditions. The plight of some of these folks is what stays with me still. I’m also incredibly proud of the work itself and that all the stakeholders – NYU, the government of Abu Dhabi (which retained us) and the human rights community – accepted our findings and thought we did a thorough, careful and fair job.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE PRACTICE AREA DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
The investigative industry is definitely growing and becoming increasingly complex. As a result, you are seeing a lot of players out there that label themselves as “private investigators”, but are crossing the line when it comes to operating within legal and ethical boundaries. We are laser-focused at Nardello on ensuring we are always operating with the most rigorous ethical standards. Additionally, for our clients, the compliance and litigation risks facing companies are growing exponentially. Thus, more and more clients appreciate the need for private investigators as they move into risky jurisdictions such as China or the former Soviet Union, or navigate challenging new regulatory and enforcement landscapes. We’ve also noticed an uptick in due diligence ahead of acquisitions and the appointment of new board members and C-suite hires, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement. For those reasons, I see continued growth and opportunity as well as increased competition.