Michael Zanic focuses his practice on providing strategic advice to energy, manufacturing and construction and engineering companies, including in the areas of (a) insurance coverage, (b) risk management and innovative solutions to toxic tort-related problems, (c) commercial disputes and (d) anti-corruption and other corporate compliance matters.
Michael has litigated major environmental, asbestos, product liability, property damage and business interruption insurance coverage cases, under property and general liability insurance policies, in the courts of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. The policyholders that Michael has represented have recovered in excess of $2.0 billion on their insurance coverage claims.
Michael has spent much of his 30+ year legal career in the overlapping areas of insurance coverage for asbestos-related liabilities, the defense of asbestos claims, typically as national coordinating counsel, and strategic restructurings to effectively and appropriately resolve and manage asbestos-related and other toxic tort liabilities.
Michael's experience in toxic tort-related bankruptcies includes representation of debtors and third party non-debtors, including representation of the debtors in the largest asbestos and silica-related pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in the United States.
Michael's practice has included representations involving business operations or disputes in Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, India, Iraq, Italy Japan, Germany, Lebanon, Nigeria, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and other countries around the world.
From his office in the heart of the Marcellus shale, Michael has deep experience representing clients in the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas industries, particularly in relation to shale oil and gas developments and opportunities in the United States and around the world. As it relates to the downstream aspects of oil and gas developments, Michael has experience with contractual negotiations and international disputes concerning the construction of LNG, GTL, FPSOs, ethane crackers and other pet-chem facilities around the world.
Michael joined K&L Gates in 1989 and became a partner in 1997. Beginning in 2000, he served on the firm’s Management Committee in a variety of roles. From 2000 to 2004, he served as the Practice Area Leader-Litigation, from 2005 to 2011, he served as the Managing Partner of the Pittsburgh office, from 2011 to 2017, he served as a Practice Area Leader of the firm’s global Energy, Infrastructure and Resources practice, and from 2017 to 2019 he served as the Managing Partner - U.S.
Since 2003, Michael has been recognized by his peers and by various publications:
- Chambers USA Client’s Guide (Chambers and Partners Legal Publishers) for litigation (2006), litigation-insurance coverage (2007-2010) and litigation-commercial (2011-2020)
- The Best Lawyers in America® (Woodward/White, Inc.) for business litigation (2003-2005), commercial litigation (2006-2023) and insurance law (2006-2023)
- BTI Client Service All-Star (2019)
- Best Lawyers® 2017 Pittsburgh Insurance Law "Lawyer of the Year"
- Who’s Who in Energy published by the American City Business Journals in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Pittsburgh and San Antonio (2011-2016)
- The Young Litigators Fab Fifty® (The American Lawyer) list of 50 up-and-coming litigators, aged 45 and under (2007)
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® (Law and Politics magazine) for energy & natural resources, insurance coverage and business litigation (2004-2016)
- Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers (Legal Media Group) (2006-2014)
- Local Litigation Star in Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation 2010 in Pennsylvania for Insurance and Products Liability
- Listed in Euromoney’s 2013, 2017 Insurance and Reinsurance Expert Guide
- Lawdragon Magazine’s “The Lawdragon 500: New Stars, New Worlds” (Summer 2006)
- Selected as a “Fast Tracker” by the Pittsburgh Business Times (2004), an award recognizing business professionals under the age of 45 who are making a difference in Pittsburgh and the surrounding community
- Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (Board Member: 2017-present)
- Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (Policy Roundtable Member: 2016)
- Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. (Board Member: 2011-present; Chair Governance Committee: 2013-2016, 2018-2020; Board Chair: 2020-2022)
- Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. (Board 2022-present)
- United Way Tocqueville Society (Committee Member 2020-2022)
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Energy Advisory Board (2013-2018)
- Pennsylvania Business Council (Board Member: 2014-2016)
- Pennsylvania Business Council (Policy Roundtable Member: 2011-2016)
- Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (Board Member: 2007-2017; Secretary: 2008-2012, Chair Governance Committee: 2012-2015)
- Dress for Success - Pittsburgh (Advisory Board: 2006-2018)
- Three Rivers Adoption Council (past Board Member)
Michael has spoken throughout Asia (Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul), Australia (Perth, Sydney, Melbourne), Europe (London, Moscow, Warsaw), and the United States to national oil/energy companies, sovereign wealth funds, multi-national corporations, state-owned enterprises, investment banks, national development banks, regional and international trade associations and other companies about energy-related developments and projects, particularly in relation to shale oil and gas developments and LNG projects and regulations. A partial list of his speaking engagements follows:
- “Doing Business in the United States: Is There Anything to Fear?”, K&L Gates event, December 10, 2015, Singapore.
- "The Shale Gale: Winds of Change", K&L Gates The Opportunities and Economics of Gas and Oil Shale seminar, September 26, 2013, Moscow, Russia.
- "Developments in US Shale Plays", K&L Gates Legal Developments in the LNG Industry Relevant to Japan, September 10, 2013, Tokyo, Japan.
- "Changing Laws and Best Practices in Shale Gas Development," University of Pittsburgh School of Law 2013 Energy Law & Policy Institute, August 1-2, 2013, Pittsburgh, PA.
- "Who Pays? Insights on Insurance Coverage for the Alaskan Oil and Gas Industry,” K&L Gates Second Annual Alaska Oil & Gas Conference, July 10, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska.
- "The US Shale Experience: Lessons Learned,” Australia Petroleum Production and Exploration Association meeting, June 26, 2013, Perth, Australia.
- “Brazil Delegation: Oil & Gas Briefing,” Brazil Industries Coalition and K&L Gates sponsored event, May 9, 2013, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- "US Shale Developments: Any Lessons for Shale Gas Development in the UK?,” K&L Gates Unconventional Gas Forum, April 12, 2013, London, UK.
- “Learning from the Marcellus Shale – Success and Challenges,” K&L Gates Developing North Carolina Shale Gas: Lessons Learned from the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays, March 29, 2012, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- “Where We Are, Where Should We Go? – Regulatory Issues for Shale Gas in Poland and the United States,” K&L Gates First Annual Poland Oil & Gas Seminar, November 16, 2011, Warsaw, Poland.
- “Blow Ups, Blow Outs and Releases: Steps to ‘Insure’ that you are Covered,” K&L Gates Fourth Annual Appalachian Basin Oil & Gas Seminar, April 26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.