Nardello & Co LLP
565 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2200
10017, New York, USA
Daniel Nardello is a firm favourite of the US asset recovery market, earning praise as “the go-to person for the largest, most complex mandates” in the space.
Daniel Nardello is the chairman and CEO of Nardello & Co., where he oversees complex litigation, activist defence, asset tracing, and anti-corruption matters. A former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Dan also taught trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School. He has lived and worked in London and Rome, directing investigative teams in both countries for US and international clients.
What motivated you to pursue a career as an investigations expert?
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 all our 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 qualities make for an effective independent investigations expert?
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.
Looking back over your career as an expert, what is the most memorable experience you have been a part of?
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 has your past experience in private practice and working as a federal prosecutor affected your approach as an expert?
As a firm, we pride ourselves on our “legal DNA” – that is, we approach our work with discipline, thoroughness, and creativity. I built this legal framework to bring rigour to the way we approach our investigations, interact with our clients, and prepare our written work product. This legal perspective helps to ensure that all our investigations are conducted with the utmost regard for discretion, confidentiality, and legality.
What risks are more prominent from an investigatory standpoint? How are you adapting your practice accordingly?
The past year has sharpened our focus on helping clients manage the complexities of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk. ESG compliance is at play in almost all areas of our business, whether it is investigating labour and environmental practices in high-risk markets, responding to activist investors in the ESG space, or helping clients address old-fashioned bribery and corruption issues. Given how broad the ESG umbrella is, we have responded with a multidisciplinary approach to give clients the guidance needed to navigate this complex risk.
We are also focused on the unprecedented sanctions imposed on Russia, its leadership, and individuals viewed as closely associated with its leadership. Investigative firms like ours have been engaged to identify and mitigate the sanctions risks which are multiplying virtually weekly. Sanctions compliance is at a premium and firms which can assist, like ours, are essential.
Why did you decide to set up your own firm?
While working at another investigative firm, I saw an opportunity in the market for a firm devoted to the highest caliber work product and absolute adherence to ethical and legal standards. We opened in London in 2003 and have since expanded to New York, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Dubai.
As chairman and CEO of Nardello & Co, what are your main priorities for the firm’s development over the next couple of 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. In the US, we’ve recently hired Warren Feldman, a former partner in Skadden’s white-collar practice, Howard Master, a former SDNY prosecutor, and Chris Urben, a former senior DEA official, who all come to our firm following successful and highly-lauded investigative careers. We also recently added Chris Ribeiro to our team, who has more than two decades of experience conducting investigations for government agencies, law firms, multinational corporations, investment funds, and NGOs.
We are also looking towards the expansion of our physical presence. We are in the process of opening an office in Los Angeles and anticipate opening an office in Singapore. 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 someone starting out as an investigations expert?
I would advise younger investigators 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 & Co., we stress the importance of good communication and research skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with clients.