Denise A. Lazar

  • One North Wacker Drive
    Suite 4400
    Chicago, IL 60606-2833

Denise A. Lazar is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where she is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the Toxic Tort Practice Group. Ms. Lazar is the Co-Chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s Women’s Initiative and a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Ms. Lazar is a seasoned trial lawyer who represents companies and individuals in civil matters around the country. In addition to her litigation practice, she advises non-profit organizations, including professional societies, private accreditation bodies and trade associations. Ms. Lazar frequently counsels in the areas of ethics and compliance. She focuses on simplifying complex legal and factual issues to make them understandable for decision makers.

Representative experience includes:

  • Lead trial counsel for steel manufacturer, RG Steel Sparrows Point, in its contract and tort case against Kinder Morgan. $15.5 Million judgment in favor of RG Steel. Fourth Circuit affirmed the judgment. 
  • Lead trial counsel in international arbitration on behalf of a global home improvement company against its Canadian distributor. 
  • Successful representation of a global executive search firm in a bet the company international arbitration related to its European operations.
  • Represented accreditation body in hearings challenging its decision to withdraw accreditation. 
  • Conduct hearings in private ethics and disciplinary processes. 
  • Served as lead global distribution counsel for Fortune 500 manufacturer. 
  • Advises ethics committees and accreditation bodies regarding process, rule making and compliance. 
  • Represents international oil and gas company in connection with investigation and litigation of issues related to structural steel fireproofing at its refinery. The claims involve steel suppliers, fireproofing fabricators and fireproofing suppliers located in various states and litigation that is now pending in two states. 
  • Tried commercial and professional liability cases to verdict. 
  • Represented industrial, chemical, and agricultural chemical manufacturers in premises liability litigation, chemical exposure claims, class actions, and complex commercial litigation. 
  • Represented manufacturers in connection with distribution of various products. 
  • Represented manufacturer in property damage litigation. 
  • Represented large financial services companies in industry-wide litigation concerning use of particular computer software. 
  • Represented distributors in petroleum industry. 
  • Represented chemical manufacturers in manganese, vinyl chloride, uranium hexafluoride, benzene, and hydrofluoric acid exposure cases alleging personal injury and environmental damages. Successfully obtained dismissals and summary judgments in these matters, which were litigated in federal and state courts throughout the United States. 
  • Represented industrial companies in the defense of welding rod litigation. 
  • Represented companies in arbitrations concerning purchase price disputes. 
  • Represented receivers in federal litigation brought by the CFTC and FTC. 
  • Represented multinational pharmaceutical company in legal malpractice action arising out of a case before the International Trade Commission (ITC). 
  • Represented Fortune 500 chemical company regarding personal injury actions related to chemical release. 
  • Represented Fortune 500 manufacturer in product liability case related to safety restraint systems.

Ms. Lazar earned her B.A., cum laude, from Wheaton College in 1994 and her J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1998. She also completed the International Law Program at Sorbonne, Paris I, France, in 1997.

She is admitted to practice in the state of Illinois and before the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits; U.S. District Court for the Central and Southern Districts of Illinois, the Trial Bar for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; U.S District Court for the Western District of Michigan; and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 

Firm Committee Involvement and Recognition

In 2015, she was awarded with the firm’s Kenneth H. Inskeep Mentoring Award in recognition of her work mentoring firm associates.

For her work in business litigation, Ms. Lazar has been recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine since 2015.

Community Involvement

Ms. Lazar is a member of the Board of Directors of the Family Defense Center. The Family Defense Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system. We advocate for families who need our help the most: families threatened with losing their children to foster care.

Ms. Lazar served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. She also served on the YWCA’s Executive Committee and the Program and Advocacy Committee.

Ms. Lazar is a member of the Executive Council for the Executives Breakfast Club and is also a Board Member on the Cornell Law School Executive Board. Ms. Lazar volunteers with Blessings in a Backpack and has started Blessings programs at several elementary schools in her community. Additionally, she is active in her children’s PTA and serves as the Co-Chair of the Library Committee.

At her former firm, Ms. Lazar chaired the Associates Committee and served as a member of both the Recruiting Committee and the Diversity Committee.