Michael R. Pontrelli



Michael R. Pontrelli is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Among other areas, Mr. Pontrelli’s practice has focused on high-stakes insurance and reinsurance matters, ERISA claims, disputes among the principals of closely-held businesses, and real estate litigation. He is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Environmental Regulation Practices and the Insurance & Reinsurance and Life Sciences Industry Teams.

Mr. Pontrelli handles a range of complex litigation in federal and state courts across the country. He brings to the table a pragmatic, businesslike approach to achieving client objectives, coupled with forceful advocacy whenever necessary. A seasoned trial and appellate lawyer, Mr. Pontrelli has had particular experience structuring, managing, and resolving large cases.

Representative Experience

  • Securing a judgment worth $200,000,000 in a federal court case over rights to share in the compensation paid to policyholders when a mutual life insurance company converted to a stock company.
  • Defeating at trial and on appeal the pension-related claims brought against a Fortune 500 company by a former director and senior executive officer. (See Hampers v. W.R. Grace & Co., 202 F.3d 44 (2000).)
  • Winning decisions worth several million dollars in a lawsuit on behalf of a leading defense contractor and its excess insurance carrier against the primary carrier for coverage of losses sustained by the defense contractor in two class actions.
  • Enforcing valuable easement rights in a case marked by extensive discovery and motion practice, a multiweek trial, and an appeal. (See Dent v. Lovejoy, 85 Conn. App. 952 (2004), cert. denied, 272 Conn. 912 (2005).)
  • Advising on and resolving disputes for leading insurers over myriad direct and reinsurance coverage matters, including directors' and officers', banking, professional and fiduciary liability, antitrust, environmental, first-party property, patent and trademark, and products liability.
  • Obtaining favorable results for both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving "freeze-out" claims by minority stockholders of close corporations.


In 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2013 - 2016, he was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer, an honor received by 5% of the state bar.


After receiving his A.B. from Harvard College (with honors, Phi Beta Kappa) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (with honors), Mr. Pontrelli clerked for the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.


He is the principal author of "Close Corporations and the Duty of Utmost Good Faith and Loyalty" in the book Massachusetts Corporation Law and Practice, a widely-cited reference work for business lawyers and litigators.

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Mr. Pontrelli is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


Giant Leap for Human Genomics
13 April 2022
Innovative Technology Insights
Foley's Annual CLE Week
6-17 December, 2021
Milwaukee, WI
Virtual CLE Week
Every Tuesday & Thursday from December 1 - 17 2020
Trending Legal Issues in Insurance
26 October 2016
Chicago, IL