Joseph G. Colao

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Joe Colao is an experienced litigator and trial attorney in both state and federal courts. He has tried cases in New York and other jurisdictions and has supervised trials across the country. He also has vast appellate experience and has argued cases in several departments of New York’s Appellate Division, as well as in New York’s highest appellate court, the Court of Appeals.

Joe has been the “go to” lawyer for major clients of the firm for many years and is known for his commitment to success and achievement of his clients’ goals, even in the most difficult of circumstances. His calm demeanor and ability to handle pressure with poise and grace have made him a favorite of corporate General Counsels around the country.

Product Liability / Toxic Tort

For almost 20 years, Joe has acted as national coordinating counsel for a variety of manufacturing companies, including equipment defendants in asbestos litigation and welding products companies in welding rod and general product liability litigation. In this role, he supervises lawyers across the country, devising and implementing a thoughtful global approach to the defense of the cases that includes coordinated discovery, fact and expert witness development, trials, and appellate review of leading issues throughout the country. This assignment was the result of representation of various equipment, premises, and talc companies for the past 30 years in the New York asbestos litigation. Joe also has substantial involvement representing major companies in product liability, toxic tort and environmental matters across the country. These lawsuits have included claims involving complex machinery, and chemical exposure, including benzene, paints, various solvents, and groundwater contaminants.

Business & Commercial Litigation

Joe has successfully represented high profile companies and corporate executives in a myriad of commercial matters involving complex contract and securities issues, trade secrets, the duties of corporate fiduciaries, covenants not to complete, construction disputes, employment matters and enforcement of creditors’ rights both in and out of the bankruptcy context. These matters have included being called in on an emergency basis, and literally overnight, to marshal the evidence and legal arguments that successfully vacated a $4 million default judgment that was wrongfully entered against his client in federal court in Tennessee. In the creditors’ rights area, once again displaying his trademark ability to achieve a client’s goals even under the most pressured of circumstances, within 24 hours of being retained by the nation’s largest jet fuel supplier, Joe obtained emergency restraining orders and orders of attachment against foreign airlines, prevented their planes from leaving New York, and obtained payment of their outstanding balances for his client. Other commercial matters include representing one of the nation’s largest retailers in a complex case of contract interpretation which involved an appeal and argument before New York’s Court of Appeals.


St. John’s University School of Law, J.D.


Lafayette College, B.A.


Professional Activities & Admissions

New York


U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court Western District of New York

Practice Areas

Aviation Litigation
Business and
Commercial Litigation
Product Liability & Toxic Tort
Employment Litigation

Publications / Presentations

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