William K Whitner is a partner in the Litigation Department of Paul Hastings, where he is Chair of the Complex Litigation and Trial Practice group as well as Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity Council. His practice focuses on complex civil corporate matters, with wide-ranging substantive commercial experience that includes contract disputes, business torts, franchise disputes, intellectual property matters, privacy breaches, antitrust and competition, and class actions. Mr. Whitner represents global and national companies in federal, state and arbitration tribunals around the country at the trial and appellate levels.
Consistently recognized for his legal excellence, Mr. Whitner is routinely identified by Best Lawyers, by Super Lawyers as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," by Franchise Times as a "Legal Eagle," and by Savoy Magazine as one of "The Most Influential Lawyers" in America. He has an established record of success counseling clients on their most sensitive matters and successfully resolving disputes at every stage of litigation.
- Identified in Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in Georgia and named Best Lawyer Atlanta Lawyer of the Year, 2014 and 2017.
- Identified by Super Lawyers as one of the "Top 100 Attorneys in Georgia."
- Identified in Savoy Magazine as one of the "2018 Most Influential Black Lawyers."
- Recognized as a leading litigation lawyer in Euromoney’s Benchmark: America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.
- Recognized as one of Georgia Trend's Legal Elite.
- Named a Legal Eagle by Franchise Times.
- Recognized in Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of "Top 50 Movers and Shakers in Atlanta Sports."
- Identified in The International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers.
- Named by the National Bar Association as one of the "Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40."
- Listed on The Root 100.
- "AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
- Yale Law School, J.D., 1996 (Served on the Journal of Yale Law and Policy Review and as a member of the Moot Court Board and Barristers’ Union Trial Board).
- Georgetown University, B.A., 1993.
- Represents global entertainment company in privacy breach litigations worldwide.
- Represents one of the world’s largest pork producers in multiple tort matters relating to the company’s hog farming operations.
- Represented a major airline in more than a dozen employment disputes in federal courts across the country.
- Represented global data provider in Nebraska and Florida federal court actions alleging theft of trade secrets, violation of state consumer protection statutes and breaches of contract.
- Represented large municipality in multiple litigations and FAA regulatory proceedings.
- Represented individual plaintiffs in constitutional challenge to educational tax credits, including recent oral argument before State Supreme Court.
- Represented global talent and branding agency in confidential arbitration proceeding.
- Represented North America’s largest manufacturer of wire and cable in breach of Licensing Agreement dispute. NeWire, Inc. vs. Southwire Company, In the Chancery Court for the State of Tennessee, 18th Judicial District (Sumner County), Case No. 2011C-21.
- Represented the former officers and directors of publicly-traded mortgage lending company HomeBanc in securities fraud class action. Eldon Kadel, et al. v. Patrick S. Flood, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Civil Action No. 1:08-CV-01461-HTW.
- Represented international hair care manufacturer in trademark infringement and counterfeiting litigations. TIGI Linea, LP, et al. v. The Kroger Co., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Case No. 1:03-CV-1234; TIGI Linea, LP, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Case No. 1:03-CV-1235; TIGI Linea, LP, et al. v. Albertson’s, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, Case No. 03-22689-CIV-ZLOCH.
- Represented a national bank in action alleging fraud and conspiracy. Regions Bank vs. TA-Colonial Traditions LLC, et al., In the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Alabama, Case No. CV-2010-901895.
- Represented lender in a consumer fraud class action. Greene, et al. v. Georgia Cash America, Inc., et al., In the State Court of Cobb County, State of Georgia, Civil Action No. 2004A-7104-6.
- Represented global manufacturer and dealer of office equipment in trade secret, restrictive covenant and intentional interference disputes in multiple confidential arbitrations and court actions in multiple jurisdictions.
- Represented national e-filing service provider in putative class action alleging breach of contract and fraud. Clowdus, et al. v. Fulton County, Georgia, et al., In the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 2010-CV-179757.
Engagement & Publications
- Speaker, ABA’s 43rd Annual Forum on Franchising, "How to be a Strong Advocate and Effective Counselor to Your Client in Mediation" (October 27, 2020)
- Speaker, MCCA Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference, "MCCA/Paul Hastings Case Studies Series: Strategies on How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Work Culture" (October 27, 2020)
- Co-chair, 2019 ABA Forum on Franchising, October 2019
- Panelist, 8th Annual Conference of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society, September 2019
- Speaker, 2016 ABA Forum on Franchising, November 2016
- Co-authored chapter in Inside the Minds: Managing Legal Issues in Franchising, Published in 2013 by Aspatore Books, a Thomson Reuters business
- Speaker ABA's Section of Litigation Annual Conference, 2013 - Dispute Resolution: Leaving the Courtroom, Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?
- Speaker, 18th Annual Securities Litigation and Regulatory Practice Seminar, 2012: The Private Litigation Environment.
- Co-authored article and participated in multiple panel presentations at the ABA's 35th Annual Forum on Franchising in Los Angeles, California, 2012: There is no such Thing as Boilerplate.
- Speaker, Annual Business Law Institute: Business Litigators Look at Deal Lawyer Documents: Understanding ADR, Arbitration and Other Boilerplate You May Be Overlooking.
- Co-authored the ABA’s Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments, 2010 edition.
- 2009 and 2010 speaker at Emory Law School regarding Diversity in the Legal Profession.
- Mr. Whitner currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which owns the Atlanta Zoo, and also owns State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks.
- Leadership Atlanta.
- Governing Committee for ABA Forum on Franchising.
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America.
- Fellow, Lawyers Foundation of Georgia.
- Founding member of the Business Law Committee for the Georgia Bar.
- Former member of the Georgia Supreme Court’s Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts.
- Member of the National Bar Association.