Michael S. Mostow, Partner


Michael Mostow concentrates his practice in the areas of environmental law and policyholder insurance. Mr. Mostow represents clients in complex transactions involving environmentally affected real estate, brownfields redevelopment, negotiation of environmental insurance, environmental enforcement actions, RCRA matters, state voluntary program cleanup, CERCLA litigation and other regulatory compliance. He has extensive experience working with federal and state agencies and with negotiating and drafting deal terms, insurance policy terms, pleadings, and settlements of lawsuits and enforcement actions. Mr. Mostow has litigated CERCLA actions and served as common counsel to CERCLA steering committees.

Mr. Mostow regularly negotiates pollution legal liability, remediation, and other forms of environmental insurance on behalf of buyers and sellers of industrial assets and to protect business owners from future environmental releases. Mr. Mostow has also recovered millions of dollars under claims previously denied by his clients' liability and property insurance carriers. He has negotiated defense and indemnity coverage in the environmental context and litigated environmental coverage actions. He also advises clients on a broad range of insurance issues, such as professional liability and directors and officers coverage. His experience includes

  • Representing client in purchase and redevelopment of former oil refinery.
  • Defending chemical manufacturer in enforcement action stemming from chemical release and explosion.
  • Representing purchaser of chemical plant.
  • Counseling regarding Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Water Act compliance and defense of RCRA and CWA enforcement actions.
  • Counseling regarding asbestos abatement and drafting comments to and testifying before a state commission considering draft asbestos regulations.
  • Negotiating and drafting all agreements for total risk transfer to environmental contractor and insurance company of CERCLA liabilities.
  • Representing seller in multiple sales of former industrial, environmentally affected properties located across the country, where seller provided buyers with pollution and remediation legal liability policies in lieu of environmental indemnities.
  • Representing paper manufacturer in CERCLA lawsuit concerning the multimillion-dollar cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyl in a riverbed.
  • Representing policyholder in litigation concerning multimillion-dollar investigative and cleanup costs associated with site operated by client since 1930s.
  • Defending client at trial from claims brought under CERCLA, RCRA and state law concerning multimillion dollar cleanup of former die-casting facility.
  • Defending toxic tort action involving contamination of residential drinking water wells.
  • Negotiating settlement of state, county, and village nuisance odor enforcement actions against manufacturer of lime for the steel industry.
  • Representing Chapter 11 debtor in sale of historic commercial general liability coverage to carriers that issued coverage from 1962 to 2000.
  • Negotiating United States Army Corps of Engineers' withdrawal of asserted jurisdiction over "naturalized" abandoned quarry.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1991)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A., magna cum laude, 1987)
    • Bronze Tablet (Top 3%) from the University of Illinois (Recipient)

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1991

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Chicago Bar Association (2009–2011: Chair; Former Legislative Liaison of Environmental Law Committee)
  • American Bar Association (Member)
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member)
  • Center for Enriched Living (Board Member)

Professional Recognition

  • Selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers® (2006–present: Environmental)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2017–present: Environmental Law)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
  • Leading Lawyers Network Member