Mike is a problem-solver whose practice focuses primarily on resolving high-stakes environmental and public policy disputes that are legally novel or technically complex.

He is well-versed in decades-old statutes and regulations that govern rapidly-evolving areas issues such as fracking, superfund remediation, and carbon capture sequestration. Mike’s mission is to cut through confusion and explain his clients’ needs to decision makers in terms they can easily digest.

While much of his current work involves disputes arising under environmental statutes including CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, Mike has represented parties involved in commercial, class action, toxic tort, and regulatory litigation in courts throughout the United States. His past clients span individuals; municipalities; trade associations; non-governmental organizations; and businesses engaged in industries including manufacturing, power generation and transmission, and the financial and insurance sectors. Mike has worked with hundreds of experts in fields ranging from history and economics to environmental engineering and risk assessment.

Mike’s beginnings in a West Virginia steel town provide him with a unique perspective when litigating headline­grabbing cases involving large industrial sites. Not only does he understand the details of each case, he can distill complicated facts into compelling arguments that carry weight with courts. This measured approach has successfully disentangled dozens of Mike’s clients from costly and time­consuming disputes.

Mike chairs Schiff Hardin’s Law Student Recruitment Committee.

  • Experience

    • Mike defends parties against “citizen suits” brought by private parties and non-governmental organizations alleging that their activities have violated federal or state law.  Recent successes include securing the dismissal with prejudice – upheld by the Ninth Circuit – of a case alleging that a West Coast utility’s use of hundreds of thousands of telephone poles was illegal, and securing the dismissal of air-related claims at the federal and state level against a Midwestern utility.
    • Mike has advised various parties in regard to how the COVID-19 pandemic affects existing legal and administrative obligations.
    • In a high-profile case, Mike secured a summary judgment win for a natural gas company alleged to have contaminated groundwater through “fracking.” After the conclusion of expert discovery, the Court dismissed the claims, finding that Plaintiffs had failed to produce any evidence linking their damages to Mike’s client.
    • Mike has extensive experience working on Superfund-related matters throughout the United States through both litigation and negotiation. Mike is part of the team representing National Grid at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in New York City. National Grid is one of 28 parties that has been directed to investigate, characterize, and address contamination in a complex urban environment. In addition to this Site, Mike has assisted clients in resolving intractable disputes at various other high-profile sites through federal and state litigation and mediation.
    • In a recent matter, Mike filed litigation to secure access necessary for a client to remediate a site listed on the federal NPL and subsequently secured summary judgment against an $11 million counterclaim based on a never-before-litigated state law provision allowing compensation paid by a remediating party to a current site owner. The court’s decision relied on Mike’s team’s factual and legal analysis in awarding less than 1 percent of the amount claimed in compensation. The court’s decision was affirmed on appeal by the Sixth Circuit.
    • Mike has advised public and private water utilities regarding compliance issues with the federal Lead and Copper Rule.
    • Mike has extensive experience in representing parties in toxic tort and property damage litigation, including claims related to injuries related to asbestos, silica, benzene, VOCs, PCBs, and other chemicals.
    • Mike provides legal advice on pending federal legislation and rulemakings and has represented parties in rule challenges and appeals of administrative action before various federal circuit Courts of Appeal. In recent matters, Mike represents clients challenging EPA’s startup, shutdown, and malfunction SIP call and multiple clients potentially affected by EPA SO2 NAAQS designations in both regulatory and judicial proceedings in courts across the country. In addition, Mike has extensive experience advising clients regarding legislation and regulatory changes involving asbestos.
    • Mike represents parties involved in building, maintaining, and operating pipeline infrastructure across the United States in federal and state litigation as well as in discussions with landowners.
  • Credentials


    • Vanderbilt Law School, J.D., 2004
      Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Managing Editor
      Raymonde I. Paul Scholarship
      Grace Wilson Sims Medal
      Thomas C. Banks Award
      Moot Court Board
      Jessup Moot Court Team
    • Columbia College - New York, A.B., Political Economics and Religion, 2000
      Henry S. Coleman Scholarship

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • Michigan
    • New York
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia


        • Hon. David A. Faber, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Charleston, West Virginia (2005-2006)
        • Hon. Michael F. Urbanski, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Roanoke, Virginia (2004-2005)

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association
        • The Sedona Conference
          • Working Group 1, Member
          • Brainstorming Group on Proportionality in Discovery and Drafting Team regarding the Use of Technology Assisted Review in Litigation, Member
      • Insights

        News Release

        Michigan Governor Signs Bill to End ‘Tampon Tax’ After Successful Legal Effort

        Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed into law a bill that eliminates the state’s six percent sales tax on menstrual products, ending a multi-year legislative effort and a class action lawsuit that challenged the legality of the sales and use tax.

        Blog Post
        Blog Post

        Ninth Circuit Decision on Pacific Walrus Illustrates Executive Branch Limits

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Blog Post

        EPA Releases Late-Term “Secret Science” Rule

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Blog Post
        In The News
        Blog Post
        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Provides Pro Bono Representation in Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Unconstitutional Tampon Tax in Michigan

        Schiff Hardin is providing pro bono representation alongside Period Equity, the country’s first law and policy organization dedicated to making menstrual products affordable, safe, and accessible to those in need, in a class action lawsuit against the State of Michigan and its Department of Treasury for sex-based discrimination in taxing menstrual products.

        Other Publications

        • “Discovery in the Modern Age,” From the Trenches III: Pretrial Strategies for Success, American Bar Association (2018)
        • “Punitive Damages,” in Business Torts and Unfair Competition Handbook, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law (2014)
        • Scientific Evidence in the Fourth Circuit, in Cynthia H. Cwik et al. (eds.), Scientific Evidence Review: Admissibility of Expert Evidence, Monograph No. 9, American Bar Association Section of Technology & Law (2013)
        • Scientific Evidence in the Fourth Circuit, in Cynthia H. Cwik et al. (eds.), Scientific Evidence Review: Admissibility of Expert Evidence, Monograph No. 8, American Bar Association Section of Technology & Law (2008)
        • Judicial Deference to Educational Judgment, (co-author) 30 J.C. & U.L. 583 (2004)
        • Note, A Cruel Trilemma: The Flawed Political Economy of Remedies to WTO Subsidies Disputes, 37 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 587 (2004)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “Environmental and Energy Law Policy: A Trump vs. Biden Administration,” (speaker) The Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, Environmental Law Committee (Oct. 6, 2020)
        • “COVID-19 Legal Issues Spotting for In-House Counsel,” Webinar (Apr. 1, 2020)
        • “Views on Trump Administration Environmental Policy Updates,” Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 21, 2018)
        • “Citizen Suits and Community Complaints (Odors),” 2017 Air Quality Management Conference, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. (Oct. 17, 2017)
        • “Citizen Enforcement of the CCR Rule: How Will Enforcement Actions Be Brought, and What Can You Do to Prepare for Them,” (co-presenter) 2017 World of Coal Ash Conference Short Course, Lexington, Ky. (May 8, 2017)
        • “Trends & Upcoming Issues in Environmental Law,” (co-presenter) Agricultural Law Section of the Michigan Bar Association (Sep. 22, 2016)
        • “Legal Update,” (co-presenter) Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference (Nov. 2, 2016)
        • “Ban Asbestos Legislation, Regulation, and Asbestos Litigation,” Defense Research Institute Seminar on Asbestos Medicine, San Diego, California (2010) 
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Mike devotes substantial time to pro bono matters, particularly related to civil rights and immigration. Recent engagements include:


        • Securing the First Amendment rights of non-religious persons to perform marriages in Illinois and Michigan through federal challenges to unconstitutional interpretations of these states’ family laws.
        • Challenging Michigan’s assessment of state sales and use taxes on sales of tampons and other feminine hygiene projects, which was removed during the pendency of this litigation by the Michigan legislature.
        • Representing a class of foster children in litigation against the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services.
        • Representing a class of foster children, in litigation filed by religious groups opposed to same-sex relationships against the State of Illinois to ability of same-sex couples to become foster parents.
        • Pursuing civil-rights claims on behalf of incarcerated persons related religious discrimination, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and in collateral attacks to their original sentences.
        • Assisting children and applicants for political asylum to secure the ability to remain in the United States.
      • Awards & Honors

        • Emerging Lawyer, Law Bulletin Publishing Company's Leading Lawyers (2015-2018)
        • Illinois Emerging Lawyer, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2015)

      Energy and Environmental Law Adviser

      International Plaintiffs’ Suit Jammed for Lack of Jurisdiction: District Court Precludes Plaintiffs’ Claims for Overseas Harms

      Courts exist to adjudicate claimed harms. However, not every court can hear every claim. A recent D.C. district court decision in Jam v. Int’l Fin. Corp. emphasizes how difficult it can be for international plaintiffs to bring U.S. lawsuits for torts occurring abroad. The key holding in Jam – similar to other recent cases –... Continue Reading


      Product Liability and Mass Torts Blog

      District Court Decision on EPA Reporting Could Affect Asbestos Litigation

      Environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are pursuing litigation against EPA to force companies that have never intentionally used asbestos in a product to file reports linking their products to asbestos. Manufacturing and chemical companies should keep an eye on Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization v. Wheeler – currently pending in California federal court – where the NGOs... Continue Reading