Daniel Chai ’98S (MBA)
Vice President, Charles River Associates
Since Chai has been a testifying expert himself, he understands the importance of looking at each case holistically. “I act as a trusted advisor to the litigating attorneys and help them manage the stable of expert witnesses,” he says. “Since I’ve testified as an expert myself, I know what it takes to get the report done, go through the deposition process, and testify before a judge if the case goes to trial.”
Working in the securities industry and then getting his Simon MBA have helped Chai understand complex cases at a broader level, not just with the narrower focus of many expert reports. “Focusing on the bigger picture has really been valuable for my role as a coordinating expert witness,” he says.
Managing multiple-expert litigation engagements has led Chai to work on high-profile cases. He was retained as a coordinating expert by outside legal counsel to Richard Grasso, former chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, who was sued by then New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer in an attempt to recover Grasso’s $190 million compensation package. Chai was also retained by outside counsel for WL Ross & Co., a private equity firm, to serve as a coordinating expert in class and derivative shareholder litigation involving one of its portfolio companies. Much of Chai’s work is related to shareholder disputes, M&A transactions, and allegations of white-collar crime.
At Charles River Associates, Chai also helps coordinate the firm’s global business development activities and initiatives. “This is a relationship-driven position,” he says, “and I routinely reach out to Simon and University of Rochester alumni worldwide to get introductions. I’ve traveled as far as Mongolia to follow up on a potential project, a direct result of keeping in touch through alumni networking.”
Chai values Professor Gregg Jarrell for introducing him to economic consulting through his own expert witness work and for sharing those case studies in class. Jerry Zimmerman and S. P. Kothari, who is now at MIT, have kept him involved in a strong academic research network through the Journal of Accounting and Economics, published by Simon. He also credits Professor David Tilson for continuing to ask him to guest-lecture in his Practicum in Consulting class, which gives him the opportunity to tell consulting war stories to students who want to enter the industry. “I am a big proponent of integrating real-world examples into the MBA curriculum,” he notes.
As a way to give back, Chai has been active in Simon alumni activities. He acts as a director on the board of the Simon Alumni Advisory Council and is a member of the Boston Regional Leadership Council for the George Eastman Circle. “I firmly believe in giving back and supporting the continued development of Simon as a world-class global graduate business school,” he says. “I credit Simon with laying the groundwork and arming me with the requisite tools to succeed in my consulting career. Plus I met my wife in a first-year accounting class.”
In his spare time, Chai enjoys coaching his three sons’ soccer and lacrosse teams. He also continues to play competitive soccer on over-40 teams and fondly remembers his time as a player in the Simon Soccer Club.