Michelle Molinaro Burke

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Michelle Molinaro Burke understands that in today’s business climate, clients demand practical and cost-effective solutions to litigation. She strives to understand her clients' long-term goals and partners with her clients not only to resolve pending litigation, but to provide forward-thinking solutions with an eye towards diverting future litigation. A practical yet creative problem-solver, Michelle is skilled at seeing the "big picture" from very early on in her cases. Armed with early case development and an understanding of the law, Michelle determines the case strategy and designs and executes a streamlined discovery plan aimed to posture the case or individual claims for dismissal on summary judgment.

Michelle serves as both primary and local defense counsel and manages a large docket of products liability, toxic tort, commercial and general civil litigation matters. She handles all aspects of complex litigation and is adept at developing defense strategies, coordinating all aspects of discovery and crafting successful dispositive motions.

Michelle serves in a variety of roles, including: serving as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel for a major elevator manufacturer in defense of asbestos exposure claims; as counsel for a Fortune 100 chemical company for litigation and liability matters; as counsel to a major automobile manufacturer; and as counsel to many other small and large businesses and insurance companies in general liability matters.

In addition to her clients, Michelle is also respected as a leader among her peers. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Litigation Section's Young Advocates Committee. She has also been recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" List, Personal Injury Products: Defense, since 2014.

Representative Matters
  • National coordinating counsel and trial counsel for major elevator manufacturer in defense of asbestos exposure claims.
  • Counsel for two major chemical manufacturers, including a Fortune 100 chemical company, in New Jersey asbestos litigation and other product and premises liability matters.
  • Counsel to major automobile manufacturer in asbestos and other product liability litigation.
  • Defended an engineering/supplier firm in a public works construction project against a product liability and breach of warranty action and obtained a dismissal of several key claims.
  • Defended a national restaurant chain against a purported class action alleging consumer fraud due to excessive sodium content of meals.
  • Obtained dismissal of several hormone therapy failure-to-warn cases.
Prior Relevant Experience
  • Tompkins, McGuire, Wachenfeld & Barry, LLP, Newark, NJ, Associate, 2006-2007
  • The Honorable John F. Malone J.S.C. (ret.), Civil Division, Union County, NJ, Judicial Law Clerk, 2005-2006
  • Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Elizabeth, NJ, Legal Intern, Juvenile Justice Unit, Summer 2004
  • City of Syracuse Office of Corporation Counsel, Syracuse, NY, Law Clerk/Legal Extern, June 2003-May 2004
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Young Advocates Committee, Co-Chair
  • Brennan-Vanderbilt Inn of Court, Barrister 
  • Hunterdon County Bar Association
  • Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County, Vice-President and Trustee, 2008-2016
  • Co-Author, "Fifty-State Survey: Toxic Exposure Claims," New York Chapter, ABA Section of Litigation, Products Liability Committee, 2016 Edition.
  • "Interview with Elizabeth 'Beth' Palmer of Rosen Hagood," ABA Section of Litigation, Young Advocates, January 7, 2015.
  • "How 'Independent' Are Your Contractors? Defending Premises Owners From Exposure Claims Brought by Employees of Contractors," DRI Toxic Torts 18(1), March 20, 2015.
  • "DRI Product Liability Defenses: A State-by-State Compendium," New Jersey Chapter, 2014 Edition.
  • "NYC Mayor Bloomberg Encourages Cities to Take the  Lead in Battle against Climate Change," DRI Today, September 3, 2013.
  • "Workers' Compensation Immunity for Companies with Separate Corporate Entities," ABA, Section of Litigation, Product Liability Newsletter, Summer 2013.
  • "Get Your FACTS Straight: Proposed Federal Legislation Would Require Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts to Publicly Disclose Information About Claimants," ABA Products Liability, News and Developments, April 2013.
  • "Climate Change Legislation Post-Sandy," DRI Today Blog, January 22, 2013.
  • "OSHA Violations – A Sword for Defeating the Workers Compensation Bar or a Shield for Vigilant Defendants?" IADC Employment Law Committee Newsletter, May 2008.
Speaking Engagements
  • "Dirty Litigation Tactics: How to Deal with the 'Rambo' Litigator," National Business Institute (NBI), Newark, NJ, October 2017.
  • Panelist, “Winning Advocacy Techniques at Mediation," ABA Section of Litigation, Young Advocates Committee, June 1, 2017.
  • Moderator, “Personal Finance for Young Lawyers,” ABA Section of Litigation Roundtable, Young Advocates Committee, December 1, 2016.
  • "Young Advocates Committee – Ask Us Anything," ABA Section of Litigation, Young Advocates Committee, November 22, 2016. 
  • "From Baby to Briefcase – Managing Work and Life after Returning from Leave," ABA Section of Litigation Roundtable, Young Advocates and Woman Advocate Committees, February 26, 2016.
  • "The Rules of Evidence: A Practical Toolkit," National Business Institute (NBI), Newark, NJ, May 21, 2015.
  • "What's New? Hot Topics in Statutes, Regulations, and Rules Impacting Product Litigation," New Jersey Defense Association Products Liability Committee Seminar, September 12, 2014.
  • Moderator, "Playing Defense: Preparing Your Client for Deposition," ABA Section of Litigation, Presented by the Young Advocates Committee and Co-Sponsored by Pretrial Practice & Discovery and JIOP Alumni Committees, June 30, 2014.
Honors and Awards
  • Recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" List, Personal Injury Products: Defense, 2014-2017

Honors and Awards



Related Media

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2005
  • New York, 2006
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 2005


Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, New York, J.D., 2005

Rutgers College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, B.A., Economics and Labor Studies, 2002

International Association of Defense Counsel, Trial Academy, Stanford University, August 2015


Contact Address

100 Southgate Parkway

Morristown, NJ 07962-1997

Phone: 973.538.4006

Fax: 973.538.5146

  • Burke, Michelle