Keola Robert Whittaker


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  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, JD, cum laude, 2007
  • Reed College, MA, Liberal Studies, 2004
  • Whitman College, BA, Political Philosophy, 2001
  • California
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Business Law Fellow, American Bar Association Business Law Section, 2015-2017

Board Member, OutRight Action International

Member, National LGBT Bar Association

Member, National Hispanic Bar Association

Keola Robert Whittaker is an experienced commercial litigator. Keola has successfully litigated disputes arising out of commercial agreements for financial service and other Fortune 500 companies in state and federal courts. Keola regularly monitors developments in Delaware corporate law and corporate governance issues and has published several articles on shareholder lawsuits relating to corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Keola is a member of the firm’s Food and Beverage Industry Team and represents food and beverage companies in a wide range of disputes and transactions. He has successfully defended a snack food company in trademark litigation against one of Mexico’s largest corporations.  He also represented an international seed company in antitrust and intellectual property litigation against its main competitor. Most recently, Keola counseled a food startup company dealing with its first food recall.  

Keola has also represented a number of clients in appellate matters. He has litigated cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, as well as the California Courts of Appeal.  

Before joining McGuireWoods LLP, Keola practiced law at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York.  During the 2008 financial crisis, Keola defended a number of large companies in regulatory matters and litigation relating to corporate mergers and acquisitions. 

Keola is an active participant in community affairs and pro bono activities, and has volunteered for The Trevor Project, Equality California, Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality, and currently serves on the board of OutRight Action International.  Keola was recently awarded with the Business Law Fellowship by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and serves on the Section’s Business and Corporate Litigation Committee.

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Keola Whittaker
T: +1 213 457 9848F: +1 213 457 9885Wells Fargo Center
South Tower
355 S. Grand Ave., Suite 4200
Los Angeles, CA 90071-3103
T: +1 415 490 0868F: +1 415 844 1938Two Embarcadero Center
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San Francisco, CA 94111-3821

Represented a private equity firm in a trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery relating to a failed corporate merger.

Successfully defended a snack food company in a trademark and trade dress dispute with its largest competitor.

Provided pre-litigation advice to a large entertainment studio in several trademark and copyright matters.

Defended several large financial institutions in federal securities lawsuits and government investigations relating to the financial crisis of 2008.

Represented an internet media company in a fraud and breach of contract action relating to the sale of one of its subsidiary companies.

Named to "40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40," National LGBT Bar Association, 2014

Co-author, Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2018 Edition, American Bar Association, Chapter 9, Appellate Practice, Volume 1, April 2018
Co-author, "Will Trulia Drive “Merger Tax” Suits Out of Delaware?," Legal Backgrounder, Washington Legal Foundation, April 2016
Author, "Soul Men Ruling Latest to Demonstrate Courts’ Shift To Transformative Use Test In Publicity Rights Cases," Entertainment Law & Finance, December 2013
Author, Trademark Dilution in a Global Age, 27 U. Pa. Int’l 90, 2007
Speaker, "Slants, Redskins, Credit Cards and Wedding Cakes: First Amendment Limits on Regulation of Business Speech," ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, Orlando, FL, April 13, 2018