Kathleen Wilkinson

Contact Information
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Two Commerce Square 2001 Market Street, Suite 3100 Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States
Phone Number: 

Well known throughout Pennsylvania’s legal community for her consummate legal skills and uncompromising dedication, Kathleen Wilkinson served as chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2013, only the sixth woman to lead this 13,000-member organization founded more than 200 years ago.

Kathleen built her practice and earned her reputation defending complex cases involving a variety of products, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals, as well as construction, premises and professional liability matters. A litigator with more than 30 years of experience, Kathleen is regularly entrusted by clients with their most difficult cases, frequently involving death and severe injury and exposures of up to $20 million. Her clients include a major insurance brokerage firm, construction companies and major products manufacturers. Well versed in the substance and subtleties of insurance policies, she also serves as a technical writer for self-insured municipalities.

Kathleen has tried many cases to verdict, occasionally arguing before the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She works closely with her clients to help ensure an appropriate and effective resolution to liability actions. Kathleen also serves as a judge pro tem and discovery master in state and federal court, earning the respect of the bench and bar. Closer to home, she served on Wilson Elser’s Equity Partner and Associate Focus Committees and has been instrumental in the firm’s implementation of part-time policies for its attorneys.

Recognition and Work in the Community
Well known for her strong leadership capabilities, Kathleen was appointed by former Governor Edward G. Rendell to serve on the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness, a statewide committee charged with making recommendations to the three branches of government on eliminating racial, gender and ethnic bias. She was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence Committee from 2006–2008.

Kathleen was also a founding member of Villanova University's School of Law J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court (a member of American Inns of Court); in 2002–2003 she was Program Chair. In June 2004, Kathleen became the first woman president of the Inn of Court. In 2013, she was honored by the Villanova Law Alumni Association and received the Gerald Abraham Alumni Association Award for Service to Villanova Law School, as part of a program entitled “Our Future in Focus: Advance, Transform, Lead.” This award is presented each year to an alumna who has exhibited outstanding leadership qualities and made significant contributions toward assisting the law school in fulfilling its mission and goals.

Kathleen has served as chancellor-elect, vice chancellor, secretary and assistant secretary of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as well as co-chair of the State Civil Litigation Section, co-chair of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Essay Competition, co-chair of the Rules Committee, and co-chair of the Women in the Profession Committee, among many other positions. She was elected to the Board of Governors and served from 2001–2003.

Active in the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Kathleen received the Anne X. Alpern Award from the PBA Women in the Profession Committee in June 2008. This award is presented to a woman attorney who has had a significant professional impact in Pennsylvania, demonstrated leadership in her profession and community, participated in mentoring activities and engaged in significant activities on behalf of women in the profession.

Professional Achievements
National Judicial College: Member of Philadelphia Planning Committee, 2007, 2009, 2013
National Association of Women Judges Conference: Member of Friends Committee planning conference, 2007
Villanova Law J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court: President: 2004-2006; Immediate Past President: 2007; Program Chair: June 200 3-2004; founding member of Inn
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Committee: appointed by a Justice of Supreme Court to provide recommendations concerning the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence; Member 2006-2008.

Philadelphia Bar Association
Secretary: 2008-2012
Assistant Secretary: 2005-2007
Board of Governors Member: January 2001-December 2003
State Civil Litigation Section: Section Co-chair, 2006 & 2007; Section Secretary, 2005
Task Force for Civil Litigation Section: Member of Interim Executive Committee to State Civil Litigation
Section and assisted in creating the Section: June 2004-2005
Executive Council of the State Civil Litigation Section, Member: 2005-2007
State Civil Rules Committee: Committee Co-Chair: 2003 & 2004; Member since 1997
Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention: 2006 & 2007 & 2011 to present
Women in the Profession, Committee Co-chair: 1998 & 1999

Pennsylvania Bar Association Contributions
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section: Executive Board: May 2004-2010
Mid-year Meeting, Co-chair, 2007
Zone One Director of Political Action Committee of PBA: 2007-2010
Prepared and presented resolutions before Board of Governors and House of Delegates, which adopted PBA Diversity Policy, and diversity representation on Nominating Committee, 2006
Women in the Profession, Committee Co-chair, 2004-2006
Helped develop and obtain PBA approval of part-time policies for lawyers, 2000

Areas of Focus

Kathleen handles numerous matters regarding property loss claims and related litigation. She is experienced at both the state and federal level and has argued on several occasions before the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Professional Liability and Insurance
For more than 20 years, Kathleen has been involved in representing various professionals in liability actions, errors, omissions and subpoena matters. The practice includes a focus on assisting insurance agents and brokers in the preparation of insurance policies, defending them in direct litigation and guiding them in responding to subpoenas. Committed to avoiding litigation, she advises her clients before law suits have been filed. While Kathleen practices principally in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, she regularly collaborates with local counsel in other geographic areas when it helps to advance her clients’ objectives. Kathleen handles complex cases involving D&O liability. She has tried several cases and works closely with her clients to ensure an appropriate and effective resolution to liability actions.

Product Liability
Kathleen has defended numerous product liability cases for manufacturers and providers of products or product information, involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial and construction equipment, recreational and marine products, and household appliances. She has also handled medical equipment claims, including catheters, clips, clamps, sprays, Hoyer lifts and other devices. She has tried product liability cases, handled appeals and argued cases before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Additionally, she has defended cases involving wrongful death and serious injuries including brain injuries and quadriplegia.

Directors & Officers
Kathleen handles complex cases involving D&O liability. She has tried several cases and works closely with her clients to ensure an appropriate and effective resolution to liability actions.

General Liability and Construction Experience
Kathleen handles complex cases, such as construction , general, dram shop, and premises liability. She has handled personal injury cases stemming from minor matters, such as slip-and-fall accidents, to major, high-exposure incidents at construction sites. Whether an injury stems from an accident or a crime, Kathleen is able to advise and counsel insurers on how best to handle the ensuing legal challenges. Her clients include major construction companies and prominent corporations and entities.

Kathleen has an extensive background in the area of employment. She has written employment practice insurance policies and given numerous seminars on employment liability. She has also defended at trial many employment practice cases.