James (Jim) A. Pardo has more than twenty years of trial and litigation experience representing clients in complex commercial, mass tort, product liability and class action cases.
Jim’s clients include many of the country’s foremost oil and gas, insurance, healthcare and technology companies. He has represented these clients in various state and federal trial and appellate courts across the United States, as well as in actions, investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by the US Department of Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency, and other state and federal authorities. An accomplished courtroom lawyer and appellate advocate, Jim’s litigation and trial skills have resulted in a long track record of victories across a diverse range of disputes, including defective fuel products, breach of contract, biotech research fraud, personal injury, patent infringement, groundwater contamination and renewable fuels issues. Many of Jim’s cases have been widely covered in the media.
Jim has particular knowledge in the energy industry, having represented major oil companies, natural gas developers, renewable fuel manufacturers, and oil field service providers in all of the aforementioned subject areas. For more than a decade, Jim has served as defense liaison counsel and as national coordinating counsel to the petroleum industry in the In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Product Liability multi-district litigation, one of the largest and most complex mass tort product liability dockets in the country. Jim also is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost advisors on the legal issues associated with hydraulic fracturing. He is a frequent lecturer on fracking topics and has authored, contributed to or been quoted in more than 100 articles on fracking issues for such publications as Time, The Wall Street Journal, Platt’s, Reuters, and the Oil & Gas Journal.
Jim also serves as deputy general counsel to McDermott Will & Emery LLP, representing the Firm and its personnel in a variety of internal and external matters, and overseeing many of the Firm’s risk-management and risk-prevention initiatives. He is a member of the Firm’s Loss Prevention, Integrity & Compliance, New Business, and Associate Review committees.
While in law school, Jim received the Arlyn Miner Book Award for Legal Writing and was an articles editor for the Law Review. Before joining the Firm, Jim served as a law clerk to the Honorable James H. Brickley, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.
- Served as lead trial, litigation and strategic counsel for an international petroleum company in hundreds of mass tort personal injury and property damage environmental cases, securing multiple victories
- Serve as national liaison counsel and national coordinating counsel to the petroleum industry in In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation, a multi-district mass tort product liability docket consolidated in the Southern District of New York
- Served as co-lead trial counsel in Plainview Water District v. ExxonMobil (N.Y. Supreme, Nassau County), which was tried over nine weeks; won a complete defense verdict
- Obtained, on behalf of large petroleum company and other petroleum company defendants, one of the first decisions in the United States to dismiss MTBE product liability claims on federal preemption grounds, and the first decision in New York to dismiss consumer fraud claims based on the use of MTBE in gasoline
- Served as trial and litigation counsel to an international petroleum company in Turner v. Chevron (C.D. CA) and Kelecseny v. Chevron (S.D. Fla.), putative class actions based on alleged property damage caused by the use of ethanol to gasoline; won full dismissal in Turner and defeated class certification in Kelecseny
- Served as lead trial counsel in Atkins v. Exxon Mobil Corporation (N.Y. Supreme, Dutchess), a mass tort environmental and personal injury case involving more than 1,100 plaintiffs; won a complete dismissal after two-day Lone Pine evidentiary hearing
- Served as lead trial counsel to a cancer biotech company in a research fraud and breach of contract case; won a complete dismissal of claims and prevailed on fraud counterclaims against the plaintiff university
- Legal 500 US, 2013 to 2022
- Chambers USA 2013 to 2016, Environment: Leading Individual, New York
- Chambers USA, 2021, Diversity & The Bar Top 10 Rainmakers, 2017
- New York Super Lawyer 2005 to 2013
- Darien YMCA, board of directors since 2014
Northwestern University School of Law, JD, cum laude, 1993
University of Michigan, BGS, with high distinction, 1990
Courts / Agencies
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US District Court for the District of Western Wisconsin
Illinois Supreme Court
New York Appellate Division, 1st and 2nd Departments
New York Court of Appeals