Julie Vanneman

Director
Bar/Court Admissions
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd and 4th Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Education
  • J.D., summa cum laude, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 2007
  • B.A., with distinction, American Studies, Stanford University, 1991

Julie counsels and represents clients on environmental matters and in litigation, including complex environmental, insurance coverage, commercial and business disputes. A skilled advocate with a broad background helping clients facing a wide variety of complex technical challenges, Julie advises companies on a range of environmental issues and counsels on avoiding and defending against government investigations and enforcement actions. Her extensive work in CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) matters includes serving as counsel for clients involved in remediation initiatives at complex Superfund sites and litigating cases through multiple phases, including discovery, allocation negotiations and alternative dispute resolution.

Julie handles complex, multi-year litigation often involving numerous technical, legal and regulatory issues and groups of parties with competing interests. Her skill and experience in working with experts – particularly on difficult technical issues at the heart of these complex cases – enables her to facilitate an effective and efficient working relationship between companies and industry-leading experts, whether they are engaged in a crisis situation, addressing ongoing operational challenges, or consulting or testifying in litigation or investigations.

Among her notable litigation work, Julie represented one of three companies in an $80 million CERCLA case involving more than 200 parties. This long-term case involved working with counsel for the other companies, identifying hundreds of potentially responsible parties (PRPs), working with experts on difficult technical issues, creating an allocation specifically tailored to the facts of operations, the toxicity of the hazardous materials and site contamination, litigating liability and, after a successful mediation, negotiating a site-wide settlement with the remaining parties and the Environmental Protection Agency. Julie also represents policyholders in insurance coverage litigation, including disputes involving allocation across multiple insurers and claims for coverage over an extended period, and matters involving bad faith claims.

Julie’s background in environmental litigation and regulatory compliance counseling informs her work in connection with real estate and corporate transactions. As part of interdisciplinary transaction teams, she provides critical environmental and regulatory review and due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic transactions and relationships, and in complex and large-scale projects, helping parties identify, assess and minimize risk and liability in structuring transactions.

A go-to resource for companies in crisis, Julie guides and supports clients in emergent situations, conducting and managing root cause and internal investigations, ensuring evidence preservation, handling third-party and insurance claims, preparing for and defending companies in civil and criminal litigation and government investigations, and assisting companies in minimizing additional risks and in managing communications, workforce and morale issues that often follow catastrophic accidents or events.

A talented writer who loves the art and craft of writing, Julie served as a legal writing teaching assistant and research assistant for Professor Teresa Kissane Brostoff and as the Senior Topics Editor for the University of Pittsburgh Law Review while in law school. Prior to that, she worked as a freelance writer, traveling and writing from locations around the globe.

In addition to her work on behalf of clients, Julie is currently serving a three-year term on the Council for the Allegheny County Bar Association Women in the Law Division and as co-chair of that division’s Education and Programming Committee.

  • Represented one of three companies in an $80 million CERCLA case involving more than 200 parties, working with counsel for the other companies, identifying hundreds of potentially responsible parties (PRPs); researching historical regulatory issues and industry changes; working with experts on difficult technical issues; creating an allocation specifically tailored to the facts of operations, the toxicity of the hazardous materials and site contamination; litigating liability and, after a successful mediation, negotiating a site-wide settlement with the remaining parties and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Counseled a party responding to an emergent environmental concern, including guidance on managing a complex root cause investigation, negotiation of a consent order with the regulatory agency, and management of ongoing environmental compliance issues.
  • Negotiated an amicable resolution to an issue involving a restrictive covenant on a wetlands mitigation area, with no penalties imposed and with positive relations maintained among neighboring property owners.
  • Represented a policyholder in an insurance coverage dispute involving multiple insurers and allocation of claims made over an extended period of time and across policies.
  • Represented a policyholder in an insurance coverage dispute involving bad faith claims.
  • Obtained the dismissal of a suit against an Israeli businessman asserting claims under RICO and various business torts, affirmed on appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (Kisano Trade & Invest. Ltd. v. Lemster, 737 F.3d 869 (3d Cir. 2013)).
  • Defended a client against contract and tort claims in state court, securing the dismissal of all tort claims under Pennsylvania’s “gist of the action” doctrine.
  • Council for the Allegheny County Bar Association Women in the Law Division
  • Co-chair, Allegheny County Bar Association Women in the Law Division, Education and Programming Committee
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Environmental and Energy Law Section
  • David Stahl Memorial Award for highest grade average in graduating class at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Scribes Award for best Law Review Note
  • Presenter, “Emergency Response and Crisis Management: Legal & Practical Issues for In-House Counsel,” Cohen & Grigsby CLE Day, April 2018
  • Moderator, “Career Trajectories: Forging Your Own Path,” Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association, April 2018
  • Presenter, “Emergency Response and Crisis Management,” Cohen & Grigsby Academy, November 2017
  • Panelist, “Navigating a Return to Work: Surviving and Thriving Following Maternity (and other) Leave,” Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association, October 2017
  • Presenter, “Energy 101: The Legal Life-Cycle of the Marcellus Shale,” Cohen & Grigsby Academy, April 2016
  • Author, “Successor Liability for Environmental Liabilities,” Cohen & Grigsby Commercial & Complex Litigation Newsletter – Hot Topics that Impact Your Business –  Issue Two, Fall 2018