History of NALI

The seeds for the National Association of Legal Investigators were sown in June 1965, in Belleville, Illinois, during a three-day training school for legal investigators sponsored by Trial Lawyers Service Company at Augustine’s Restaurant. During this school, attended by thirty personal injury investigators, the idea of a formal organization for investigators who specialize in investigation of personal injury matters for the plaintiff was much discussed as was an annual get-together of those attending the first such school ever afforded for plaintiff investigators.

It took two years for the seeds to germinate and in June,1967, thirty-five legal investigators, representing fifteen different states from Maryland to California, met at the Bel-Air East Motor Inn in St. Louis, Missouri, and founded the National Association of Legal Investigators. This organizational meeting was held in conjunction with a three-day investigation seminar, and such a training seminar has been a highlight of each successive annual convention of the Association. The original constitution of the Association was adopted and signed at the organizational meeting and the thirty-five investigators present became the charter members of the Association and the nucleus of an organization that has steadily grown to hundreds of Active, Associate, Professional, and Retired members today.  As time passed, the association welcomed criminal defense investigators into its ranks. Membership is now open to those investigators who provide litigation support investigation and services for attorneys in the private practice of law in the common law courts and in the courts of equity and who are employed by law firms engaged in the private practice of law, a public defender’s office, and/or privately-owned investigation firms.

The express purpose for which the National Association of Legal Investigators was founded- the professionalization of the legal investigator and the establishment of a benchmark for investigative ethics, still holds true today and is accomplished by the national and regional investigation seminars sponsored by the Association; by its professional Certified Legal Investigator Program (CLI); by its publication, The Legal Investigator; by its website www.NALI.com, its member only List Serve; Legacy Member and Scholarship programs, and by the nationwide and international network of contacts provided among members. In the 1990’s, NALI added an International Region to welcome members from outside the USA.

Since its founding convention in the summer of 1967, the National Association of Legal Investigators has held an annual convention each year and sponsored a national annual and mid-winter investigation seminar, featuring prominent lecturers from all investigation and forensic disciplines throughout the country. In addition, each year the Association sponsors several regional seminars in various sections of the country. In June 1992 in St. Louis, Missouri the 25th Anniversary of NALI was celebrated. Special awards and commemorative rings were given to the remaining active founding fathers.  In June of 2017, NALI celebrated its golden 50-year anniversary in grand style. In July of 2019, NALI members made an important decision to go from a constitutionally governed association to one governed by bylaws.

Past national seminars have featured renowned presenters on such topics as the investigation of products liability and negligent design cases, the investigation of professional malpractice, the investigation of railroad crossing cases, air crash investigation, admiralty investigation, interview technique and proper statement technique, photography, social media and e-Discovery investigation, accident reconstruction, and criminal defense investigation, to name a very few. An entire seminar dealing with environmental health litigation and investigation has also been held.

The Association also enforces a Code of Ethics among its members which was adopted in 1970. The Preamble to the Code of Ethics provides that, “A legal investigator is dedicated to a search of truth and furtherance of his employer or his client’s interest consistent therewith. This search for truth makes possible the establishment of the American ideals of fairness and justice for the benefit of the client in every case the investigator works on.” This benchmark has always been, and will continue to be, of the highest priority in our mission to seek justice for our clients and in our dealings with the public.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of membership in the National Association of Legal Investigators is access to help in a plethora of disciplines in practically every state that is as quick and accessible as an email or telephone call to another member. The Association publishes and updates a national membership directory which contains the names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and investigative experience and specialties of all members.

The overall goal of the Association has been and continues to be fulfillment of its motto, “Without the true facts, there can be no justice.”  Presently, NALI is embarking on an ambitious DISCOVER NALI campaign to widen our membership, increase NALI name recognition, promote unity, diversity and inclusiveness, promote its Code of Ethics, and provide the very best in continuing education and professional development the profession has to offer to our membership and beyond.  Now is the time to DISCOVER NALI.

NALI National Directors 1967-2019

Years Name
67-69 Fred C. Koerner, Jr, CLI
69-70 James C. Hamilton, CLI
70-71 Jerome R. Johnson
71-72 Donald J. Gisevious, CLI
72-74 Anthony M. Golec, CLI
74-75 Don R. McGrew, CLI
75-76 E. Eugene Powell, CLI
75-76 Donald E. Manton, CLI
76-77 Marian B. Tatum, Jr. CLI
77-78 Harry D. Breighner
78-79 Dan A. Robin
79-80 Alden B. “Al” Wolfe, CLI
80-81 John R. Rennert, CLI
81-82 Julius “Buddy” Bombet, CLI
82-83 Ralph J. Thompson
83-84 Joan Stensrud-Jordahl, CLI
84-85 Donald A. Bye, CLI
85-86 Michael T. Piersen, CLI (Ret)
87-88 Steve Goodenow, CLI
88-89 James E. Mazour, CLI
89-90 Ricahrd E. Day, CLI
90-91 Lewis B. Knecht, CLI (Ret)
91-92 Betty Miles-Smith (Ret)
92-93 Dr. Alan Hart
93-94 Terry Woelful, CLI (ret)
94-95 Gary Hyatt, CLI
95-97 Leonard L. Accardo
97-98 Paul J. Ciolino
98-99 Jospeh B. Laski, CLI
99-20 Robert L. “Bob” Parke
00-01 Larry R. Troxel, CLI
01-02 Elmars R. “Al” Petritis, CLI
02-03 Carol G. Moore, CLI
03-04 Robert H. Townsend
04-06 H. Ellis Armistead, CLI
2006 Tom Baird
2007 Alan Goodman
07-09 Burt Hodge
09-11 Paul A. Jaeb
11-13 Terry R. Cox, CLI
13-15 David W. Luther, CLI
15-17 Don C. Johnson, CLI
17-19 Kenneth Shelton
19-21 John M. Lajoie, CLI
21-23 Dale Dorning