With 30 years of experience, I. Michael Kessel concentrates on the representation of management in employment-related matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New Jersey Department on Civil Rights, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. He defends employers in cases alleging sexual, racial and other protected-category harassment and discrimination, wrongful discharge and other common law employment-related causes of action. He also focuses on federal and state employment statutes, such as:

  • Title VII and The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act
  • The New Jersey Family Leave Act

He has also successfully litigated cases involving enforcement and defense of restrictive covenants.

Additionally, Michael advises employers, often in retail, on a full range of issues, including:

  • Compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations
  • Development of policies to protect against claims
  • Accommodating disabled employees
  • Family and medical leave laws
  • Wage and hour laws
  • Reductions-in-force, including New Jersey WARN
  • Non-competition and confidentiality agreements
  • Preparation of employee handbooks
  • Union avoidance

Previously, Michael worked as an attorney at two other firms and served as employment counsel at a major cosmetics company.

Professional & Community Affiliations


American Bar Association

Outside Pro Bono Counsel

Rachel Coalition

Outside Pro Bono Counsel

Partners for Women and Justice

Books & Book Chapters

  • How Arbitration Works, Bloomberg BNA, 4th Ed., Contributing Author


  • J.D., George Washington University Law SchoolWith Honors
  • B.S., University of Pennsylvania The Wharton School

Bar Admission

New Jersey
New York


  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York