Michelle Pardo


  • Michelle Pardo
  • Phone: +1 202 776 7844

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    901 New York Avenue N.W., Suite 700 East
    Washington, DC 20001-4795

Michelle C. Pardo focuses her practice on civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. She serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Fashion/Retail/Consumer Branded Products industry group. She has worked in a number of diverse areas, including animal law, government investigations, consumer fraud, employment discrimination, products liability, and business and tort litigation. Ms. Pardo has handled proceedings in various state and federal courts and alternative dispute resolution. She has represented clients in regulatory matters before various federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); and the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Ms. Pardo has developed extensive experience in animal law and animal rights litigation and regulatory counseling, including representation of businesses or entities in the entertainment, agricultural, food production, educational and research spaces whose operations involve animals or animal products or services. She has had experience with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Ms. Pardo has acted as a member of national counsel teams in major products liability and personal injury cases. She has experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including discovery, class actions, motions practice, settlement negotiations, arbitration, trial and appeal. Ms. Pardo also has extensive experience in managing large scale electronic discovery. In addition to litigation, she frequently advises and counsels her clients on employment and workplace policies and procedures, records and information management, e-discovery, and issues regarding animal rights and federal and state animal welfare laws. 

Ms. Pardo has extensive experience in crisis management and has managed clients’ responses to the media in connection with high profile litigation and regulatory matters that seamlessly meld the public relations and legal strategies.  Ms. Pardo has developed media/crisis strategies and tactical messaging, and conducted a wide range of media interviews for national and international outlets, including The Today Show, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, NPR and the Associated Press

Ms. Pardo is a 1997 magna cum laude graduate of the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where she was a note and comment editor for the Catholic University Law Review, and is a 1992 cum laude graduate of Loyola University Maryland.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation and Appellate Law

  • Animal Law and Animal Rights Litigation

  • Media and Crisis Communications

  • Consumer Fraud

  • Government Investigations

  • Employment Discrimination

  • Products Liability

  • Business and Tort Litigation

Representative Matters

  • Advised cold-weather clothing manufacturer with respect to defamatory statements about animal welfare contained in shareholder proposal advanced by animal activist organization.

  • Obtained a settlement that the client found favorable of Lanham Act and state law tort claims against recording artist on behalf of entertainment company.

  • Tried a landmark case under the Endangered Species Act to a defense verdict for an entertainment company and obtained an unprecedented award of attorney’s fee in a case that received international media attention.

  • Tried a federal court diversity case brought by animal activists involved alleged violations of California consumer protection laws. Jury trial resulted in a take-nothing verdict in favor of entertainment company client.

  • Obtained a successful outcome for a coalition of zoos seeking to import wildlife from Africa to the United States. Successfully intervened into case involving animal activist group challenge to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s grant of an import permit that received international media attention. Successful outcome defeating temporary restraining order.

  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice for an entertainment company client in a class action suit brought pursuant to various California consumer fraud statutes.

  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice for a university client in a federal court lawsuit that alleged age discrimination and retaliation.

  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice for a sports client in a state court lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and retaliation.

  • Represented non-profit client in successfully resolving a Bureau of Consumer Protection inquiry involving an accreditation program.

  • Obtained successful outcome on appeal for a national university in a gender discrimination lawsuit.


  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia


  • The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1997
    ◦ Note and Comment Editor, Catholic University Law Review
  • Loyola University Maryland, B.A., cum laude, 1992


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2018-present

  • Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
    - Partner, 2010-2018
    - Associate, 1997-2010

Professional Activities

  • American Agricultural Law Association

  • International Marine Animal Trainers' Association

  • American Bar Association
    - Litigation Section
    - Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
    - Animal Law Committee

  • District of Columbia Bar Association

  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums

  • Zoological Association of America

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for Animal Law, 2014-2020

  • Listed in The Legal 500 for Dispute Resolution-General Commercial Disputes, 2017

  • Listed in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for General litigation, 2014-2018

  • Legal Lion, Law360's Weekly Verdict: Legal Lions & Lambs, May 15, 2014

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Podcast Interview, “Animal Law,” Ag Law in the Field, Episode 142, November 3, 2022

  • Podcast Interview, “Happy Personhood”, Zoo Logic, June 16, 2022
  • "Speaker, Navigating the Legal Landscape: Developments in Animal Activism,"  15th Annual John Huffaker Agriculture Law Course, Texas Tech University School of Law, May 26, 2022
  • Presenter, "Consumer Fraud and Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues in the Pandemic," Duane Morris COVID-19: Navigating Forward Webinar Series, May 6, 2021
  • Speaker, "Navigating the Legal Landscape," Stakeholders Summit, Animal Agriculture Alliance, Webinar, May 6, 2021
  • Speaker, "Animal Activists in the Courtroom: An Overview of Legal Victories, Strategies and Challenges," Zoological Association of America Annual Conference, Montgomery, Alabama, November 16, 2019

  • Radio Interview, "Do Animals and Humans Have a ‘Right to Wilderness?'" The Lars Larson Show, August 2, 2019

  • Podcast Interview, "Elephant in the Capitol," Zoo Logic, Season 2, Episode 56, May 9, 2019

  • Speaker, "Securing Your Seat: Legal Developments in Animal Activism," Animal Agriculture Alliance 2019 Annual Stakeholders Summit, May 9, 2019

  • Speaker, "Activist Activities: Lessons Learned," North American Meat Institute, Animal Care & Handling Conference, Kansas City, Missouri, October 18, 2018

  • Podcast Interview, "The Elephant in the Courtroom: Defending Against Activist Threats", Zoo Logic, Season 1, Episode 13, August 2, 2018

  • Speaker/Panelist, "What Keeps an Animal Lawyer Up at Night? A Survey of Current Legal Issues, Trends and Best Practices for Zoos and Aquariums," Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 2017 Annual Conference, Indianapolis, September 2017

  • Speaker, "Defending Against Activist Threats: Legal Defenses to Activist Challenges," Animal Agriculture Alliance, 2017 Stakeholders Summit, Kansas City, Missouri, May 2017

  • Speaker, "Animal Activists in the Courtroom and Media: Current Trends and Lessons Learned," Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, Washington, D.C., February 2017

  • Speaker, "Advertising and Consumer Fraud Litigation: Current Trends and Lessons Learned," Norton Rose Fulbright Webinar, Washington, D.C., October 2016

  • Moderator and Speaker, "Defending Against Animal Activist Litigation: A View from the Trenches," Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 2016 Annual Conference, San Diego, September 2016

  • "Circus Elephants in the Courtroom: Reviewing the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® $25.4 Million Victory Over Animal Activists," Safari Club International, Wildlife Law CLE, Las Vegas, February 2016

  • Speaker, "Anatomy of a Landmark Animal Rights Case," Animal Law Symposium, Massachusetts Society for Medical Research, Boston, December 2014

  • Speaker, 2014 National Animal Interest Alliance Conference, Orlando, Florida, November 2014

  • Speaker, "Elephants in the Courtroom," Norton Rose Fulbright Webinar, Washington, D.C., August 2014

  • Speaker/Panelist, "Animal Welfare Litigation Impacting Livestock Producers," American Agriculture Law Association Annual Symposium, Austin, Texas, October 2011

  • Speaker, "Strategies for Coping with Animal Law Claims," Animal Agriculture Alliance, 9th Annual Stakeholders Summit, Arlington, Virginia, April 2010

  • Moderator, "Navigating the Road Ahead: E-Discovery and Information Management Workshop," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Washington, D.C., October, 2006

Selected Publications

  • Contributor, Duane Morris Animal Law Developments Blog

  • Author, "Personhood for Animals: Has Science Made Its Case?Animals (Special Issue, Zoo and Aquarium Welfare, Ethics, Behavior), 2023

  • “What’s in a Name?  The Battle Over Lab Grown Meat Regulation, Labeling and Advertising,” Chapter 10, 15th Annual John Huffaker Agriculture Course Materials, State Bar of Texas, May 2022

  • Author, "This Little Piggy Went to Court," International Association of Fairs & Expositions, January 2020

Media Hits