Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Back James J. Sullivan, Jr., Former Chairman, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to the Firm’s Labor and Employment Department

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Washington, D.C., March 25, 2021Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce James J. Sullivan, Jr., former chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), is returning to the firm after serving for three and a half years as one of three commissioners of the OSHRC. Sullivan will be joining the Washington, D.C., office as a member of the Labor & Employment Department and as co-chair of the OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice Group.

For almost four decades, Sullivan has had a distinguished career in labor and employment and workplace safety and health law working with clients in a wide range of industries. He has represented employers and owners of businesses in numerous matters prosecuted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and various state departments of labor and safety and health administrations. His exceptional track record of involvement with landmark decisions in several areas of labor and workplace safety law and his history of working with government officials, business leaders, and representatives of employees and labor organizations makes him a significant addition to the Cozen O’Connor team.

“With the advent of a new administration in Washington, we anticipate, and have already seen introduced, groundbreaking new legislation and regulations involving both workplace safety and labor relations. We are extremely pleased that Jim has decided to re-join the firm given the other opportunities presented to him as his federal government service comes to an end,” said Joseph E. Tilson, co-chair of the Labor & Employment Department. “Jim’s extensive network of relationships within the workplace safety and labor and employment legal space and his depth of knowledge and experience will be a valuable asset for our clients as they begin to interpret and comply with these new laws and regulations.”

Sullivan was a partner at Cozen O’Connor when he left the firm in 2017 after he was appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to fill a vacancy on the OSHRC. The OSHRC  is an independent federal agency, not part of the U.S. Department of Labor, that was established by Congress 50 years ago to function as a two-tiered administrative court that decides contests of citations between the U.S. Department of Labor and employers cited by OSHA.  

In 2019, he was appointed chairman of the OSHRC by the President and again confirmed by the U.S. Senate. During Sullivan’s tenure on the commission, he participated in several landmark decisions, including cases involving OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard and OSHA’s use of the statute’s “General Duty Clause” in prosecuting cases against employers. Prior to that time, Sullivan had a distinguished career in private practice that focused on representing employers in workplace safety and labor and employment law issues. From 2000 to 2003, he served as vice-president of labor and employment law and deputy general counsel for Comcast and served as chief spokesman in collective bargaining negotiations with various labor unions representing Comcast’s employees.

Frequently sought after as a keynote speaker and thought leader, Sullivan has spoken before such organizations as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Associated General Contractors, Inc., the National Association of Manufacturers, and various other employer trade associations. He has been regularly featured in Best Lawyers in America during his years in private practice and served as the management co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section’s Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Law.

“We are thrilled to have someone with such a distinguished career join our D.C. office,” said Jonathan M. Grossman, Cozen O’Connor’s office managing partner in Washington, D.C.  “Adding Jim’s experience now is particularly timely given the unique challenges that every employer in the country is facing as employees will return to the workplace and the inevitable changes to the safety and health and labor laws that are forthcoming.  Jim has always been a fierce advocate for his clients and has been an integral part of transformative legal rulings by the NLRB, federal and state courts, and the OHSRC.  He is a welcome and strategic addition to our growing D.C. office.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to join Cozen O’Connor’s D.C. office. While my prior service with the firm was brief due to my presidential appointment, I had always hoped to re-join such a talented group of professionals, some of whom I have known and practiced with most of my career,” Sullivan said. “This is an exciting time in workplace safety and labor and employment law. With a renewed focus on enforcement by the U. S. Department of Labor in workplace safety and health matters, as well as potential game-changing legislation already pending regarding union organizing and collective bargaining, I cannot wait to bring the depth of my experience, knowledge, and personal relationships to the already incredibly talented team of lawyers in the firm.”

Sullivan earned his B.A. in labor and employment relations from the Pennsylvania State University, where he graduated cum laude, and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

About Cozen O’Connor

Established in 1970, Cozen O’Connor has over 825 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle-market companies, Cozen O’Connor serves its clients’ needs through 32 offices across two continents.


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