Peter J. Neeson, a practicing trial attorney for over 45 years, is Chair of Rawle & Henderson’s Environmental, Toxic and Mass Torts Department. As part of his departmental responsibilities, Mr. Neeson has been involved in the defense of numerous toxic tort matters in multi-district and class action cases in both state and federal courts, including, but not limited to, formaldehyde, multiple chemical sensitivity, sick building, latex glove, benzene, underground storage tank, orthopedic bone screw, pharmaceutical and asbestos litigation including the defense of over 3,000 such cases against a major manufacturer. He has also participated in the defense of several generators in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) superfund cases.
Mr. Neeson has been the National Coordinating Counsel for a major insurance carrier in the FRT litigation and has had National Coordinator responsibilities in the asbestos, latex glove and the phenylpropanolamine (PPA) pharmaceutical drug litigations. On behalf of his clients he has been lead counsel on several appeals in front of both the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts, including two recent Supreme Court cases involving asbestos issues, one of which was Betz v. Pneumo Abex, a decision which changed the causation law in that state.
Mr. Neeson is a frequent writer and speaker on litigation issues, and was the editor and co-author of a 1995 American Bar Association (ABA)-Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) book on the Comprehensive General Liability Policy. Mr. Neeson is the past Chair of the Products, General Liability and Consumer Law Committee of the ABA (TIPS), and a former member of its Governing Council. In February of 2004 Mr. Neeson was elected as Vice Chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. He assumed the chairmanship of this ABA Section in August of 2006. In that same year, Mr. Neeson founded and co-inaugurated the TIPS Leadership Academy, a diversity program specifically designed to develop and train future community and bar leaders. It was the first national bar association program of its kind. In 2012, in recognition of his leadership and efforts on behalf of the TIPS Section, Mr. Neeson was awarded the James K. Carroll Award, the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed on an ABA-TIPS member, for outstanding vision and leadership in the profession.
Nineteen years ago Mr. Neeson spearheaded the development of the National Trial Academy in conjunction with the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the National Trial Academy is widely recognized as the premier forum of its kind for training young lawyers on how to conduct jury trials.
Among his pro bono activities, Mr. Neeson was Vice Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Eastern Pennsylvania, and continues to be involved in USOC fundraising efforts. In addition, he was General Counsel and a member of the Board of Trustees of Philadelphia 2016, the City’s effort to bid for the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Mr. Neeson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Sports Congress (now PHL Sports), the civic/business facilitator for the promotion and development of sporting events in the City. He is also a past President of the Philadelphia Amateur Sports Corporation.
Mr. Neeson was General Counsel and a member of the Executive Committee for Philadelphia Women’s Basketball 2000, the local organizing committee for the NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball tournament. He was also an Executive Committee Member for the 2003 U.S.G.A. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship held in Philadelphia.
Since 2009, Mr. Neeson has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Judicial College (NJC), the organization which trains the nation’s state court judges. He is a past Chairman of the Board of the NJC, and at his retirement in 2020, was the longest-serving trustee in its history.
More recently, Mr. Neeson has been asked to serve as General Counsel and Chair of the Board of the Biotech Foundation, an innovator of new vaccine and biofuels technology.
In 2023 Mr. Neeson was rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell for the 25th consecutive year. Martindale-Hubbell also selected him as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer for Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources. Mr. Neeson was individually honored by his peers, in an extensive nomination and polling process conducted by Thomson Reuters, as one of Pennsylvania’s Super Lawyers every year from 2004 through 2023.
PRESENTATIONS & PUBLICATIONS:
Moderator, “Building My Brand for Success in the Profession,” ABA TIPS Section Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 2015
Author, Pennsylvania: Asbestos Litigation – “Every Exposure” Theory Rejected, Rawle’s Reports, Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2012
University of Miami, Coral Gables FL (J.D. cum laude 1978)
University of Notre Dame, South Bend IN (B.S. 1970)
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Member, Executive Council, Young Lawyers Division 1983-1985
American Bar Association
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), Member 1988-2023
Chair of TIPS August 2006 – August 2007
TIPS Products, General Liability and Consumer Law Committee,
Member 1988-2023, Chair-Elect 1992-1993, Chair 1993-1994
TIPS National Trial Academy, Founder 2000
TIPS Governing Council, Member 2001-2004
TIPS Leadership Academy, Co-Founder 2006-2023
National Judicial College, Member 2009-2020; Treasurer 2011-2012; Chairman of the Board of Trustees 2014-2015
Defense Research Institute
Pennsylvania Defense Institute
Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel
U.S. Olympic Committee for Eastern Pennsylvania, Vice Chairman 1989-2002
Philadelphia 2016, General Counsel, Member of Board of Directors 2007-2011
Philadelphia Sports Congress/PHL Sports, Board of Directors 1989-2023
Philadelphia Amateur Sports Corporation, President 1987-1991
Philadelphia Women’s Basketball 2000 (PWB 2000), General Counsel, Executive Committee 1998-2019
U.S.G.A. Women’s Amateur, Executive Committee 2001-2004
The Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia, Board of Governors
Biotech Foundation, General Counsel and Chair of the Board of Directors 2006-2023