Photo, David P. Hackett

David P. Hackett

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 sustainability 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.

Representative Legal Matters

Compliance, Sustainability and Risk Management

  • Assess Fortune 200 corporate compliance and regulatory program through 60 person interview and document review process for Chief Compliance Officer, General Counsel and Board, and oversee multiyear implementation of recommendations

  • Evaluate 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 assist with recommendation implementation

  • Review Fortune 50 retailer sustainability and responsible sourcing program and identify legal risks through comprehensive assessment for legal department

  • Ongoing project for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development evaluating Board sustainability governance through comparative review of governance requirements in 12 countries and interviews of Board members of 50 companies

  • Evaluate 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

  • Representation of the foreign parent in a Superfund site clean-up and 500 person class action in the Northern District of Ohio, seeking damages due to alleged property value diminishment, personal injury and economic impact in relation to the contamination of a 20 mile stretch of a major river and adjacent properties by an EPA banned substance

  • Defense of the second largest chicken rendering plant in the US in criminal prosecution alleging unlawful contamination of a major waterway and drinking supply in the Northern District of Mississippi

Professional Honors

  • Recognized in Environmental Law, Best Lawyers in America, 2015

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

David is a current Trustee or Board member of the following:

  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  • Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance
  • Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council
  • Kennedy Center, Corporate Advisory Board
  • National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Midwest Board
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development, North America
  • World Resources Institute (WRI), Corporate 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


  • Collaborating for SDG Impact, UN, WBCSD, UN, New York, 17 July 2019

  • International Environmental Conference: Sustainability Programs and Risk, Baker McKenzie, Chicago, 20 June 2019

  • UNGC Regional Meeting: General Counsel and Sustainability, UNGC, Chicago, 9 May 2019

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development Annual Delegates Meeting: Aligning Retirement Assets and Sustainability, WBCSD, Montreux, 2 April 2019

  • WBCSD Annual Delegates Meeting: Board Governance and Sustainability, WBCSD, Montreux, 1 April 2019