Image: William K. Whitner

William K. Whitner

Partner, Litigation Department

Overview

William K Whitner is a business litigator who handles complex civil corporate matters representing clients in state and federal courts and arbitrations around the country. His wide-ranging substantive experience includes contract disputes, business torts, franchise, antitrust and competition, and securities fraud class action related matters. He serves as Global Vice-Chair of the Litigation Department, a team of nearly 300 lawyers across the world. 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

Recognitions

  • Benchmark Litigation Guide, Future Star (2023)
  • Ranked as one of the world’s leading patent practitioners by IAM Patent 1000 
  • 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 "Most Influential 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.

Education

  • 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.

Representations

  • Represents emerging technology company in bet the company breach of contract and fraud dispute.
  • Represents leading global energy provider in international subrogation action involving claims of breach of contract and negligence.
  • Represents global entertainment company in multiple international privacy breach litigations.
  • 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 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 leading 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

  • "How to be a Strong Advocate and Effective Counselor to Your Client in Mediation," Speaker, 2020 ABA Forum
  • Co-chair, 2019 ABA Forum on Franchising (October 2019)
  • Panelist, 8th Annual Conference of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society (September 2019)
  • "Nipping it in the Bud: Effective Early Evaluation and Resolution of Franchise Disputes," Speaker, 2017 ABA Annual Conference
  • Speaker, 2016 ABA Forum on Franchising (November 2016)
  • Co-authored chapter in Inside the Minds: Managing Legal Issues in Franchising (2013)
  • "Leaving the Courtroom, Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?," Speaker, ABA's Section of Litigation Annual Conference (2013)
  • "The Private Litigation Environment," Speaker, 18th Annual Securities Litigation and Regulatory Practice Seminar (2012)
  • "There is no such Thing as Boilerplate," Co-authored, and participated in multiple panel presentations, ABA's 35th Annual Forum on Franchising (2012)
  • "Business Litigators Look at Deal Lawyer Documents: Understanding ADR, Arbitration and Other Boilerplate You May Be Overlooking." Speaker, Annual Business Law Institute
  • "The ABA’s Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments," Co-authored (2010 edition)
  • Speaker at Emory Law School regarding Diversity in the Legal Profession (2009 and 2010)

Involvement

  • 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.

Practice Areas

Litigation
Securities Litigation
Intellectual Property
Class Actions
Complex Litigation and Arbitration

Languages

Anglais

Admissions

Georgia Bar

Education

Yale Law School, J.D. 1996
Georgetown University, B.A. 1993

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