Christopher Cognato
Christopher Cognato

Christopher T. Cognato

Tel 215.864.8612
Fax 215.864.8999

Christopher T. Cognato advises public and private employers on a range of labor and employment issues and represents them in litigation and administrative proceedings. His experience includes cases brought under Title VII and the ADA, FMLA, FLSA, PHRA, and NLRA. He frequently helps clients develop employment policies, including those related to hiring, firing, disciplinary practices, employee leave, and reasonable accommodations.

Mr. Cognato has advised clients in connection with collective bargaining negotiations and has assisted in representations before the National Labor Relations Board and Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. He also has advised places of public accommodation on accessibility issues arising under Title III of the ADA and related federal and state laws.

Pro Bono Experience

Mr. Cognato's pro bono experience includes drafting employee handbooks for nonprofits and providing regular counseling for one of those organizations on a wide range of employment issues. He also assists immigrants who have been victims of crime and minors who are without a parent or guardian in the United States in obtaining employment authorization. He works with a team of lawyers at Ballard Spahr and students from the Penn Law chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project to help Afghan and Iraqi nationals obtain refugee or immigrant status.

He also represents claimants applying for Social Security benefits in administrative proceedings and in helping indigent clients obtain copies of important documents, such as birth certificates, and with filing change of name petitions.


Co-author, "Managing Divisive Politics in the Workplace," Society for Human Resources Management, February 27, 2017

Co-author, "U.S. District Court Enters Injunction Preventing Enforcement of New FLSA Rules," Ballard Spahr alert, November 23, 2016

Co-author, "DOJ Continues ADA Web Accessibility Enforcement," Ballard Spahr alert, October 19, 2016

Co-author, "Pa. Superior Court Affirms Punitive Damage Award in Breach of Noncompetition Agreement," Ballard Spahr alert, September 21, 2016

Co-author, "Northwestern University Football Players Can’t Form Union, NLRB Says and Refuses to Determine if They Are Employees," Ballard Spahr alert, August 17, 2015

Co-author, "Federal Court Notes Flaws in EEOC Stance on Severance Agreements," Ballard Spahr alert, October 10, 2014

Co-author, "Calif. Supreme Court Sides Against NLRB, Finds Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Enforceable," Ballard Spahr alert, June 27, 2014

Co-author, "Employee Benefits and the Unionized Workforce," chapter in ERISA: A Comprehensive Guide, 2011-2015 editions

Co-author, "Telecommuting May Be Reasonable ADA Accommodation for Some Workers, Sixth Circuit Holds," Ballard Spahr alert, April 29, 2014

Speaking Engagements

"Accommodating Test Takers: Hot Developments, Case Studies, and Practical Tips,"  The Association of Test Publishers, Innovations in Testing, March 22, 2016

Community Activities

Before joining the firm, Mr. Cognato was an extern at Constitution High School, a civics and social studies magnet school founded in 2006 through a partnership with Ballard Spahr, the National Constitution Center, and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. His work included consulting on the development of the civics curriculum, research projects, and teaching assistance. Mr. Cognato continues to be active in mentoring and other activities at the school. He is a volunteer for the Philadelphia Bar Association's Advancing Civics Education (ACE) program, working with other lawyers to develop and present lessons at Constitution High regarding civics and the American legal system.

Villanova University School of Law (J.D. 2009)
Managing Editor, Villanova Law Review; Member, Order of the Coif

University of Notre Dame (B.A. 2005, cum laude)

New Jersey


D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals