Rodney A. Satterwhite Partner

For over 25 years, Rod has protected and pursued his clients’ interests in high stakes intellectual property, employee mobility and employment litigation.

Rod was trial counsel for DuPont in its trade secret litigation against Kolon Industries over KEVLAR® technology. The client representative (a former prosecutor) remarked during trial that Rod’s cross examination of defendant’s financial trade secrets expert was one of the best he had ever seen. In that case, later recognized by The American Lawyer as the “Global Dispute of the Year,” the jury awarded DuPont $919 million. Best Lawyers in America has recognized Rod in the areas of Employment Law and Technology Law for the last ten consecutive years. In 2017, it named Rod “Lawyer of the Year” for Information Technology (Richmond).

Maintaining a national practice, Rod guides clients through disputes with competitors and employees alike. He has litigated claims in state, federal and administrative courts, including the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th circuits. Much of his practice focuses on disputes at the executive level, and includes investigating and prosecuting malfeasance such as trade secret theft, fiduciary breaches, and unfair competition.

Dispute resolution – whether through proactive counseling or hotly contested litigation – must account for a company’s business and strategic needs. This requires a broad view of the landscape beyond the immediate legal issues. In this context, Rod brings an organized, direct and common-sense approach to solving client problems.


Trial counsel for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company in federal trial involving theft of trade secrets by a competitor. After an eight-week trial, the jury returned a $919 million dollar verdict for DuPont.

Representation of international recruiting agency against employee claims of age discrimination, resulting in summary judgment in favor of our client, which was upheld after oral argument by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Representation of international beverage manufacturer in jury trial alleging race discrimination. At the close of the plaintiff’s evidence, the Court entered judgment in favor of our client.

Representation of beverage container manufacturer in defending against claims of wrongful termination under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Obtained summary judgment for employer, which was upheld after oral argument by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This was a case of first impression regarding the continuation of an employee’s probationary status while on protected FMLA leave.

Representation of cookie and cracker manufacturer in trade secrets claim against former employee and his new employer – a competitor of our client. After multi-day trial, obtained injunction against former employee and competitor prohibiting use or disclosure of our client’s trade secrets.

Representation of railroad testing company against former director of technology and his new employer for theft of trade secrets. Despite the lack of a non-competition agreement, obtained an injunction that effectively precluded former employee from continuing to work for competitor.

Representation of financial services company in class action age discrimination claims relating to employee evaluation system. Obtained favorable settlement after discovery.

Representation of electronics manufacturer in trade secrets claims against former vice president. After multi-day evidentiary hearing, obtained injunction against former employee precluding work in restricted market, and precluding solicitation of our client’s customers.

  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law - Management, 2009-2023; Information Technology Law, Labor Law - Management, 2009-2023; Trade Secrets Law, 2023; Woodward/White, Inc., 

Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets (Litigation and Noncontentious Matters), 2021, 2022; Labor and Employment – Disputes (including Collective Action): Defense, 2022

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Employment and Labor, Intellectual Property Litigation, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2021

Named to "Legal Elite," Labor/Employment, Virginia Business, 2006, 2011, 2013-2015, 2018-2021

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Information Technology Law, Richmond, Best Lawyers, 2017

Senior Law Firm Technology Advisor, The Center for Legal and Court Technology and Courtroom 21 Project, William & Mary School of Law, 2006-present

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2016

Chair, Virginia State Bar Special Committee on Information Technology, 2013-2014

  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, 1991
  • The College of William & Mary, BA, cum laude, 1988

Member; Chair, Special Committee on Information Technology, Virginia State Bar

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