Joseph J. Ortego

Joseph Ortego is Nixon Peabody’s chief diversity officer, overseeing the firm’s strategy to attract, retain and promote talented people with exceptional ability from a broad range of backgrounds. Joseph also serves as the vice-chair of the firm’s litigation department, chair of NP Trial®, an international team of the firm’s most successful and experienced trial lawyers and chair of the firm’s aviation practice. Representing major private and public corporations and their executives, he has tried over 100 cases to verdict in both federal and state courts throughout the country and has successfully represented clients before arbitration tribunals around the world.

What do you focus on?

With over thirty-five years of litigation and business experience, I help my clients, from Fortune 500 to startups, resolve their matters early, on their terms.

Commercial Litigation

My clients’ legal needs are as diverse as the industries they operate in. They want a lawyer who is familiar with all legal aspects of their industry. My clients call on me to defend them in complex litigation and class actions involving a broad range of issues, such as securities, shareholders’ and contract disputes, labor and employment and intellectual property, as well as handle regulatory and compliance issues particular to certain industries such as aviation, financial services, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage and insurance.

Products Liability

Recently, my team secured a unanimous jury verdict in El Paso, Texas, state court for global aviation manufacturer Eurocopter, S.A.S. and its Texas-based distributor, American Eurocopter Corporation. After a three-week trial, the twelve-member jury rejected the plaintiffs’ product defect theories against our clients and fully exonerated the Eurocopter product. Click here to read the full story.

I regularly represent clients in health effects litigation and recent successes include matters involving toxic tort, food and beverage, environmental, medical device and pharmaceutical litigation.


In addition to my wide-ranging litigation experience, I have extensive experience representing U.S. and international insurance and re-insurance clients. I have developed a deep understanding of the insurance industry through the multitude of diverse matters I have handled and serve as coverage counsel for several of the world’s largest insurers.

Class Actions

I routinely serve as national trial counsel for a number of clients who desire a consistent approach to class action and aggregate litigation matters in multiple state and federal courts.

What do you see on the horizon?

As technology evolves, companies are facing a new set of legal challenges manifesting themselves in both litigation and regulatory activities. We partner with clients, leveraging our successful trial and litigation experience, to develop innovative strategies to proactively address the issues presented by this new age.

Publications and Presentations

  • “Litigation’s Unsung Hero: Glory to the Direct Examination of the Expert Witness,” The Brief, Winter 2019, Vol. 48 No. 2, American Bar Association (Co-author)
  • “Statistical Sampling: Latest on Using Statistical Techniques that Presume All Class Members are Identical; Proving Liability; and Damage Models, Calculations and Theories Used in Class Cases,” American Conference Institute’s Cross-Industry Interdisciplinary Summit on Defending and Managing Class Actions, New York, NY, April 2016
  • “Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses in Food Cases,” ABA Food & Supplements Fifth Annual Workshop, Omaha, NE, June 9, 2015
  • “Innovative Strategies for Defending Against Aviation Claims: Managing the Rise in E-Discovery and Its Increasing Involvement in Aviation Litigation, and Effective Use of Expert Witnesses and Jury Communication,” American Conference Institute’s 7th National Forum on Defending and Managing Aviation Claims & Litigation, New York, NY, June 2, 2015
  • “Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Protect your Secrets,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management: Bottled At Its Peak, April 2015
  • “Winning Your Case by Telling Your Company’s Story,” DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar, Austin, TX, March 27, 2015
  • “As Ethical as a Lawyer,” ABA Life Sciences Legal Summit, South San Francisco, CA, March 4, 2015
  • “Inside the Courtroom - Consumer v. Food Company, What to Expect During an ‘All Natural’ Case,” The Food & Beverage Marketing & Advertising Law Summit, Chicago, IL, September 15, 2014
  • “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: What’s Trending in Social Media,” AIG, December 2013. (Co-presenter)
  • “Government Surveillance: Privacy is Dead.  Get Over It”, The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management in a New York Minute, New York, NY, August 9, 2013
  • “The Thin Lines Between Zealous Advocacy, Incivility, and Punishable Misconduct,” Suffolk Academy of Law CLE Program, Hauppauge, NY, October 11, 2012
  • “Early Case Assessment,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management in a New York Minute, New York, NY, August 10, 2012
  • “Ethical Considerations for Litigators and Trial Attorneys,” 2012 National Trial Academy, American Bar Association/American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Reno, NV, April 16, 2012
  • “Practical Solutions for Effectively Managing Outside Counsel Fees: The Case for Alternative Fee Arrangements,” Hispanic National Bar Association’s 3rd Annual Corporate Counsel and 17th Annual Uvaldo Herrera Moto Court Competition, Jersey City, NJ, March 30, 2012
  • Pre-Conference Group Meet-Up, 16th Annual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY, December 5–7, 2011
  • “Finding the Right Balance: In-House Lawyer’s Professional Duties vs. Rights as an Employee,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Laguna Beach, CA, November 4, 2011
  • “Emerging Legal Issues: Social Media and Cloud Computing,” Major Insurance Company, October 25, 2011
  • “Ethics: An In-House Lawyers Professional Duties vs. Rights as an Employee,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, New York, NY, August 5, 2011
  • “Ethical Considerations in the Automotive Product Liability Context,” American Conference Institute, Automotive Product Liability Litigation, Chicago, IL, June 22, 2011
  • “Early Evaluation Defense Perspective,” Presentation to Lancer Claims Service, Los Angeles, CA, April 5, 2011
  • “Walking a Thin, Grey Line: The Differences Among Incivility, Zealous Advocacy, and Punishable Misconduct,” 2011 Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, Phoenix, AZ, March 31, 2011
  • “Contracts, Risks & Parasites: Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite,” The Associated Pest Services Association, San Antonio, TX, February 10, 2011
  • “Getting the Job— What Do You Want From Me?” CLE Program, Nassau County Bar Association, Mineola, NY, November 22, 2010
  • “Procedural Tactics for Managing and Defending Against Mass Torts Product Liability Claims,” American Conference Institute’s Master Class, New York, NY, September 30, 2010
  • “Ethical Considerations in the Automotive Product Liability Context,” American Conference Institute’s Automotive Product Liability Conference, Chicago IL, September 23, 2010
  • “E-Discovery: Ethical Considerations for In-House Counsel,” CLE Ethics Seminar, Nixon Peabody LLP, September 14, 2010
  • “The Evolving Law of E-Discovery,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, New York, NY, August 6, 2010
  • “It’s the Economy,” CPS Insurance Company, Ltd., Annual General Meeting and Board of Directors’ Meeting, Southampton, Bermuda, June 15, 2010
  • “Incivility: An Insult to the Professional and the Profession,” Orientation Presentation to New Attorneys, Appellate Division, Second Department; Nassau Supreme Court, Mineola, NY, June 11, 2010
  • “The Evolving Law of E-Discovery,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Phoenix, AZ, April 23, 2010
  • “The Thin Lines Between Zealous Advocacy, Incivility, and Punishable Misconduct,” Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Law, Phoenix, AZ, April 9, 2010
  • “Defending Goliath: How to Represent a Corporation Before a Jury in a Weakened Economy,” ABA Corporate Counsel CLE Seminar, February 11–14, 2010

Miami lawyer steers plane manufacturer away from $15M lawsuit

Daily Business Review | December 17, 2018

Long Island Complex Commercial Disputes partner Joe Ortego is mentioned in this article as part of the successful defense team for Daher-Socata Aerospace in a $15 million suit regarding the safety of its plane.

Trial Pros: Nixon Peabody's Joseph Ortego

Law360 | July 25, 2016

New York City partner, co-leader of the commercial litigation practice and chair of NP Trial® Joe Ortego is featured in this Q&A regarding his career and how he prepares for trial.


New York Law Journal | June 02, 2016

This column notes that New York City partner and commercial litigation practice group co-leader Joe Ortego was elected president-elect of the New York chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.


Joseph J. Ortego

Chief Diversity Officer
Vice-chair, Litigation Department
Chair, NP Trial®
Leader, Aviation

New York

Phone: 212-940-3045

Long Island

Phone: 516-832-7564

Fax: 866-947-2079

Boston University School of Law, J.D.

Syracuse University, B.A., with honors

New York

U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Joe was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the field of Product Liability Litigation - Defendants. Joe has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2012.

Joe is also recognized by The Legal 500 United States 2017 editorial in the areas of Dispute resolution - Product liability, mass tort and class action: Toxic tort - Defense, and Industry focus - Transport: aviation and air travel; by Benchmark Litigation as a New York local litigation star; and by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings in its highest category, AV Preeminent.

Additionally, Joe is recognized by New York Metro Super Lawyers, LMG Life Sciences as a “Life Sciences Star” and Who’s Who Legal in Life Sciences. In the New York Metro Super Lawyers’ 2015 and 2017 edition, Joe was amongst the top 100 lawyers.

  • Adults and Children with Learning and Development Disabilities (ACLD), President of the Board of Trustees and Member
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), President Elect and National Board Member
  • ABA ABOTA Trial Academy, Member, former Chairman and Faculty
  • American Bar Foundation, elected Sustaining Life Fellow
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Member of Commercial Torts; TIPS Products, General Liability, and Consumer Law; and TIPS Toxic and Hazardous Substances and Environmental Law Committees
  • American Law Institute (ALI), Member, former Editorial Board Member of The Practical Litigator and Member of Advisory Committee on The Restatement of Torts and Member of the Consultative Group for the Aggregate Litigation Project
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Member, Founders Circle, former Regional President
  • Arbitration and Mediation Panel, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • Inns of Court, Theodore Roosevelt Chapter
  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • New York Bar Association
  • Touro Law School, Advisory Board
  • Product Liability Advisory Council (Inc. PLAC), Sustaining Member

Joseph Ortego has dedicated substantial time to pro bono matters. In 2004, he was recognized by Touro Law School with the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney Award for his ongoing work on pro bono cases.

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