Julie Vanneman, Esquire

Adjunct Professor of Law


Julie serves as the Chair of the Dentons Cohen & Grigsby (formerly Cohen & Grigsby) Environmental National Practice group. She counsels and represents clients on environmental and health and safety matters and in litigation. 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 and occupational health and safety issues and counsels on avoiding and defending against government investigations and enforcement actions.

Julie has significant experience assisting clients with workplace safety and health matters, including counseling on safety compliance programs, advising on responses to OSHA citations, and representing companies in OSHA investigations and other matters arising out of a workplace crisis. This experience includes providing advice and counseling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Julie’s 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. Among her notable matters, Julie represented a company in an $80 million CERCLA case. This long-term case involved working with counsel for the other companies, identifying hundreds of potentially responsible parties (PRPs), working with experts on challenging technical issues, creating an allocation, litigating liability and, after a successful mediation, negotiating a site-wide settlement with the remaining parties and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Julie’s background in environmental litigation and regulatory compliance counseling, as well as her experience with health and safety matters, inform her work in connection with real estate and corporate transactions. As part of interdisciplinary transaction teams, she provides environmental and regulatory review and due diligence in mergers and acquisitions and in complex and large-scale projects, helping parties identify, assess and minimize risk and liability.

A go-to resource for companies in crisis, Julie guides and supports clients in emergent situations, managing root cause and internal investigations, ensuring evidence preservation, handling third-party claims, preparing for and defending companies in civil 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 has been elected to serve as the Chair-Elect of the Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association. She previously served a three-year term on the Council and as chair of that division’s Education and Programming Committee.