E. Bart Daniel, a former top federal prosecutor in South Carolina, has closed up his own solo shop in Charleston to join Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as a litigation partner and co-head of its white-collar crime and government investigations group, the firm said Wednesday.
“Nelson Mullins people are the kind of people with whom I would want to be associated,” said Daniel, who will split his time between the Am Law 100 firm’s offices in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. “It’s just a good fit for me and I think hopefully, it’s going to be a good fit for the firm too.”
For nearly 40 years, Daniel has been heavily involved in public service. After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1980, Daniel became an assistant state attorney general in the economic crime unit of the attorney general’s office in South Carolina, where he prosecuted financial crimes, tax frauds and white-collar cases. Two years later, he became an assistant U.S. attorney, where he worked on securities, tax and customs violations.
In 1989, Daniel was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to be U.S. attorney for South Carolina. In 1991, he was awarded the U.S. attorney’s flag award by then-U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburg for his prosecution of Operation Lost Trust, a massive federal corruption investigation that eventually brought down one-tenth of the South Carolina legislature.
Daniel returned to private practice at his own shop in 1992. Since then he’s worked with Fortune 500 companies, CEOs and boards of directors in handling internal investigations and white-collar matters touching on health care, environmental, securities and business violations issues.
Daniel has also served as special counsel to South Carolina’s governor and conducted an internal investigation into public corruption allegations. Over the years, Daniel said that numerous national law firms sought to recruit him into their ranks, but he resisted making the jump.
“I’ve never really considered it because I wanted to remain independent,” Daniel said.
But industry changes and the growth of digital discovery caused him to finally consider leaving his solo practice behind and joining Big Law.
“When the U.S. attorney’s office or the Department of Justice turns over something to you, in the old days, it may be 10-to-15 bankers’ boxes and you go through the boxes of documents. Now I have cases where they’ll deliver [entire] hard drives,” Daniel joked. “So from that standpoint, I really was interested in getting some support.”
In his new role at Nelson Mullins, Daniel plans to help build out the firm’s white-collar practice and provide mentorship to young talent.
“[I’ll] help mentor young lawyers, lead them and teach them some of the things I’ve learned over the years,” Daniel said.
Daniel is just the most recent addition to Nelson Mullins, which made its way this year onto the Am Law 100 list, as the 515-lawyer firm’s gross revenue hit $380.5 million in 2016.
Nelson Mullins has also been busy on the lateral hiring front, picking up Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo partner Bret Cohen in Boston to co-chair its labor and employment practice and opening its first West Coast office in Los Angeles in an effort to capture work from the automotive industry.