Photo, David P. Hackett

David P. Hackett

Senior Counsel
Baker & McKenzie LLP


David Hackett advises senior management, legal departments and boards of major corporations and nonprofits on compliance, risk, environmental and sustainability matters. He has exceptional experience managing US and international compliance and environmental projects, including the evaluation and development of effective compliance and sustainability programs. He also has extensive experience litigating major civil and criminal environmental matters. David sits on multiple nonprofit boards and additionally advises many civic and nonprofit organizations across the globe.

Following his tenure with the Environmental Enforcement Division of the US Department of Justice, David joined the Firm where he has played a formative role in the establishment of the Firm's compliance, environmental, climate and ESG practices. At Baker McKenzie, David has served as the managing partner of North America, a member of the Global Executive Committee, and Chicago office managing partner. He has also been the North America Chair of both the Compliance Practice Group and the Banking, Finance and Major Projects Practice Group.

Practice Focus

David's practice concentrates on the representation of multinationals and organizations related to compliance and risk, especially involving ESG matters. In connection with ESG, he provides advice on ESG programs and reports, risk assessments, reporting and disclosure, governance and structure, transactions, supply chain matters, and litigation. He has evaluated and reviewed ESG programs and reports for leading multinationals in diverse industries. He advises companies, financial institutions, project developers and standard setters in relation to climate strategy, as well as carbon credit project development, transactions, trading and requirements. He has assisted multiple public companies in their development of conflict mineral programs and the related SEC filings as well as more broadly ESG supply chain strategies and matters. He is a frequent speaker on ESG and has authored articles on ESG governance and ESG litigation. He also has advised leading ESG standard setters and organizations such as the UN Global Compact, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, World Resources Institute, the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation Accounting for Sustainability, Global Reporting Initiative, and World Bank/IFC.  

Representative Legal Matters

ESG Programs, Advice, and Transactions

  • Evaluated ESG report and program of Fortune 100 food company.
  • Advised Board of Fortune 100 energy company related to ESG strategy and assisted company with submission of comments to SEC on potential ESG disclosure requirements.
  • Reviewed Fortune 50 retailer sustainability and responsible sourcing program and identified legal risks through comprehensive assessment for legal department, including extensive recommendations.
  • Advised Fortune 500 toy manufacturer in relation to its ESG program and ESG Annual Report

Compliance, Sustainability and Risk Management

  • Assessed Fortune 100 corporate compliance and regulatory program through 60 person interview and document review process for Chief Compliance Officer, General Counsel and Board, and oversaw multiyear implementation of recommendations.
  • Evaluated Fortune 50 natural resource company environmental compliance program through document review and 75 person (5 country) interview process for legal department and health, environment and safety group, and assisted with recommendation implementation.
  • Evaluated Fortune 500 natural resource company corporate compliance program for Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel.

Environmental Litigation and Enforcement

  • Litigated several cases in the Northern District of Illinois and Seventh Circuit, including a successful settlement against the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the largest wastewater treatment system in the United States, regarding its noncompliant wastewater discharges.
  • Representation of a former director and officer of a chemical manufacturer through the Eleventh Circuit and a petition for certiorari to the US Supreme Court, appealing his criminal conviction for violations of the Clean Water Act, RCRA and CERCLA.
  • Representation of a publicly traded diverse manufacturing company through trial in multiple class actions in the Northern District of Illinois alleging contamination of drinking water wells from historic TCE spills and seeking recovery for property diminution, personal injury, emotional distress, medical monitoring and punitive damages.

Professional Honors

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • US Department of Justice, Special Achievement Award
  • Best Lawyers in America, Environmental
  • Lawdragon, Leading 500 Lawyers in the United States
  • International Who's Who of Environmental Lawyers
  • Illinois Super Lawyers - Illinois Leading Lawyers
  • Ethisphere, Lawyers Who Matter, Environmental
  • Lexology, Client Choice, Illinois

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • USCIB Environment and CSR Committees
  • American Bar Association, Business, International and Environment and Natural Resources Committees
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Law Institute, Council of Partners

Corporate Responsibility

  • Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Board Chair
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development, North America Board Chair
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra Board
  • Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance Board
  • National Parks Conservation Association, Midwest Advisory Board
  • Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, Accounting for Sustainability, Global Advisory Board
  • World Resources Institute, Corporate Consultative Advisory Board
  • Ethisphere, Advisory Board

He also provides advice to multiple foundations and nonprofits, including, for example, Chicago CRED, Chicago Wilderness, Great Lakes Alliance, Joyce Foundation, Middleburg Film Festival, NPCA, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Prince of Wales Foundation, WRI, and XQ Institute.


  • Illinois~United States (1990)
  • District of Columbia~United States (1981)


  • University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.) (1981)
  • Haverford College (B.A.) (1976)


  • English


  • Climate Law University - U.S. Climate Developments Baker McKenzie Webinar, 16 December 2021 
  • Climate Change and Private Companies, Private Directors Association Webinar, 17 November 2021
  • 30th Annual International Environmental Conference:  U.S. Climate Developments, Baker McKenzie Webinar, 2 November 2021
  • Corporate Compliance: ESG and CSR, Society of Corporate Compliance Ethics, Las Vegas, 21 September 2021
  • Road to COP26 Podcast Series Baker McKenzie Podcast/webinar, 22 July 2021