Corporate Litigation Attorney Orange County

Trust Your Case to Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff

Legal cases such as litigation are things to be taken seriously, that’s why Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group never takes your situation lightly. Our services revolve around our customer’s complete satisfaction and we work hard to maintain a reputation that has endured the test of time. But what does our law firm have that makes it so special?

We demonstrate our value and trustworthiness throughout every case we receive. No client is more important than other, no matter the case; we make sure you get the results you need and the best service all the way.  Because you deserve nothing less, all our partners are singlehandedly able to solve any possible problem; they all have at least 10 years of experience to back their work. Their various backgrounds give them the skills they need to make sure all your needs are covered. Avoid the stress of massive paperwork and terms you can’t understand, Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff’s makes everything plain and simple for you. No one will be able to fool you.

We also make sure to keep up with modern technology; we keep the papers to the minimum by offering you the virtual copies of each document. This way, you get the lowest prices with the maximum effectiveness. We also care for you in economical terms; we help our clients by developing a flexible billing that adapts to each of them perfectly.

Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group has represented all sorts of clients; from big enterprises all the way to customer complaints, so be assured that we will fit and exceed your expectations. Along our website you can search and find the specifications of each member of our team, the details of our cases and everything that makes our law firm stand out from the rest. You can also reach us through our phone number (949)679-6400, our fax number (949)679-6405; or if you wish, send us an e-mail to and get to know more about us. We will be there to take care of every single detail to ensure you the outcome you desire.

Before your issue takes a turn for the worse, don’t doubt to contact Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff, when everyone else fails to prove their worth, we will be here to offer you excellence.

Orange County Litigation Attorney

Understanding the Litigation Process

Litigation is the disagreement between a defendant and a plaintiff  in a court procedure.  Sometimes, litigation is referred to as “a lawsuit” and when referring to a civil action put before a court of law when no criminal action is involved and the plaintiff has incurred a loss due to the actions of the defendant and the plaintiff demands a legal or equitable solution.  The defendant must respond to the plaintiffs pleading (complaint).

Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff understands the rules and practices involved in the resolution of disputes within the court system.  We are specialized in complex business litigation which includes, technology licensing agreements, class action suits, trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret abuse and unfair competition, securities and corporate litigation, environmental actions, and products liability.  We also offer guidance in all forms of real estate and construction law.

Litigation law also refers to contested divorces, tort cases, eviction proceedings and more.  The definition of “Litigation” in the Lectric Law Library is stated below:

“Litigation. A case, controversy, or lawsuit.  A contest authorized by law, in a court of justice, for the purpose of enforcing a right.”

The litigation process begins with a pleading, more commonly known as a complaint and is a document that proves the basis for the plaintiffs cause of action and demand to be brought before the court for settlement.  The complaint should list all the claims against the defendant and specify the solution that the plaintiff demands from the defendant.

The defendant is then “served” with the notice that the plaintiff has filed a complaint with the courts which is often called “being sued”.  The defendant must give an answer to the complaint to the courts.  Thomas Whitelaw is well-trained to help you understand what you need to either file a complaint or to respond to the complaint.

Federal courts are governed by various rules: the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.  State and local courts supplement the local rules and the judge’s standing orders.

When all of this becomes confusing or demands your attention, then contact Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff to guide you through the required procedures because this was only the beginning and there are many more steps involved through the process.

The most common basics in a civil case are listed below:

  1. The plaintiff files a complaint with clerk of the court.
  2. The defendant is served the complaint to establish personal jurisdiction.
  3. The plaintiff and defendant meet to identify the issues in the complaint, attempt a settlement without need of the court and to make a plan for discovery and disclosure.
  4. The court holds a pretrial scheduling conference or issues a pretrial scheduling order
  5. The defendant can file motions in response to the complaint. Additional motions can be filed later.
  6. Defendant files their answer with the courts.
  7. Both parties give proof and documents to move the discovery process forward.
  8. Both parties have the opportunity to file additional motions with the court.
  9. The final pre-trial conference is held by the court.
  10. The trial is conducted by the court.
  11. The judgment is rendered, signed and filed by the court.
  12. Any post-trial proceedings are held if required.

At the end of this process if the defendant is not pleased can continue the process by appealing the court’s decision.  The court may or may not “stay” (agree to more legal actions) depending on the situation.  If an appeal is agreed to by the court, a new and different procedure begins which include: consideration of the appeal based on briefs or oral argument, rendering judgment, additional proceedings if required and enforcing final judgment.

Thomas Whitelaw will walk you through the process making sure you understand each step along the way and give you the expert advice and experience that you need for any civil action.  Don’t hesitate to contact Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff when you need answers to legal questions “BEFORE” you mistakenly cause more problems or invalidate your claims.

Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff Litigation Law Firm

Local Excellence and Global Standards at Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff

Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff in Irvine is a law firm specialized in litigation and patent law and is proud of its tradition in providing services of the highest level, combining the experience gained through many years of practice with the most modern business methods employed in order to achieve top results for its clients.

If you are looking for quality legal services, Irvine’s Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff is your best option because it uses a unique way of approaching each case while any undertaken work involves maximum responsibility and dedication. Our lawyers are willing to work on the most complex legal assignments and always offer a highly personal and tailored service.

If you are an inventor who wants to protect its intellectual property or if you are coping with real estate and construction issues, Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff in Irvine will provide you with an exceptional legal expertise in order to help you exercise your rights and protect yourself in the best possible way. Each lawyer will do everything in his power to resolve the dispute amicably with the least amount of stress and unnecessary costs.

In case you fear that our outstanding services are not available or affordable to you but you still need to effectively solve the problem related to unfair competition, false advertising, banking or any other issue associated with the trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition, technology licensing and royalty dispute, trademark and copyright infringement, right of publicity, project finance, leasing and acquisitions or title insurance, don’t hesitate and feel free to contact Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff because we work to keep expenses low by providing clients an array of transparent billing choices including project fees, fixed fees, success fees, highly competitive hourly rates or other alternative billing arrangements.

When you find yourself faced with hazardous waste or chemical exposure litigation, contact us because our lawyers will never unnecessarily pull you in judicial proceedings but will help you in overcoming the problem with a minimum cost of time and money. Keep in mind that the most expensive litigation is an easily lost lawsuit.

Our lawyers are always doing all they can in order to maintain and enhance your independence and dignity and will always do regardless of who our client is. Our lawyers continuously educate themselves and are trying to improve the efficiency of their litigation regardless of whether it is shareholder or takeover litigation or maybe a breach of fiduciary duty.

We can offer you advice or help you discover the best and quickest way to solve your litigation problems since we always strive for a creative and winning approach. Remember, when everybody leaves you, we will remain with you.


Our Team

Exceptional Lawyers, Exceptional Outcomes

Thomas Whitelaw litigators are courtroom veterans, possessing deep knowledge of the courts throughout California and the nation, including appellate courts. We have tried highly technical and complicated cases to successful verdicts–time after time. Through our unique collective experiences from various national law firms and within global corporations, our attorneys offer insight from both a legal and business perspective. We embrace the latest technology and fight tirelessly for our client results.

Our real estate and environmental attorneys are highly sought after to provide counsel on complex real estate matters and environmental issues. Each attorney brings a wealth of knowledge in his or her area of specialization–from commercial development to finance, eminent domain, land use, hazardous waste, mitigation and other issues. Our well-trained associates and paralegals also play an important role in Thomas Whitelaw. From research to document filing to brief writing, they contribute to our teams and stay focused on client goals. These valuable team members help us to remain cost efficient.

attorney Joseph E. Thomas has more than 30 years of experience in intellectual property litigation and is the Managing Partner and chair of Thomas Whitelaw & Kolegraff’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group. The firm is a nationally-renowned intellectual property litigation boutique located in Irvine, California. Mr. Thomas received a B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science and Economics from Lehigh University. He received his J.D. graduating magna cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was Articles Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review. He also held a judicial externship with Senior District Judge Terry S. Hatter in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Mr. Thomas has successfully tried over 30 cases in his career, and has handled patent and intellectual property litigation throughout the country for clients such as VIZIO, Western Digital, Toshiba, CoreLogic and First American Financial. Mr. Thomas has won several eight-figure jury verdicts. Most recently, in 2014, Mr. Thomas served as lead trial counsel in Pabban Development (“Pabban”) v. Kyphon Sarl (“Kyphon”), et al. in the Central District of California. Pabban sued Kyphon for damages arising from Pabban’s sale to Kyphon of its patent and state-of-the-art Natrix System, a bone cement delivery system used to treat vertebral compression fractures. Following four years of intense litigation and a seven-day trial, the jury agreed with Pabban and concluded that Kyphon owed $15.417 million in damages. In addition, Mr. Thomas successfully defensed Kyphon’s fraud and breach of contract counter-claims against Pabban, two affiliates, and its CEO, seeking $17 million plus punitive damages. Pabban was also awarded over $8.5 million for all of its attorneys’ fees and costs, bringing the total judgment to $23,979,400.

Practice Areas

Our firm is divided into five practice areas. Our core litigation and trial practices include: Intellectual Property Litigation, Complex Business Litigation, Real Estate. Construction and Environmental Litigation, and Securities and Corporate Litigation. In addition, Thomas Whitelaw also provides real estate and environmental law transactional expertise to meet our clients’ complementary needs.

Intellectual Property Litigation

  • Patent Infringement
  • Trade Secret Misappropriation and Unfair Competition
  • Technology Licensing and Royalty Disputes
  • Trademark and Copyright Infringement
  • Right of Publicity

Complex Business Litigation

  • Commercial Contacts
  • Entertainment and Media
  • Banking
  • Products Liability
  • Class Actions
  • Consumer Litigation including Unfair Competition and False Advertising

Real Estate and Construction Litigation

  • Real Estate Development and Construction Litigation
  • Eminent Domain
  • Land – Use Litigation
  • Project Finance, Leasing and Acquisitions
  • Title Insurance

Environmental Counseling and Litigation

  • Hazardous Waste Litigation
  • Hazardous Waste Mitigation Counseling
  • Chemical Exposure Litigation
  • Land Use Counseling and Representation

Securities and Corporate Litigation

  • Shareholder Litigation
  • Securities Class Actions
  • Takeover Litigation
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty

About Us

Winning Solution for High-Stakes Matters

As one of the nation’s premier litigation firms, Thomas Whitelaw prides itself on its hunger to win. And, to win big, we earned our reputation for success through hard-fought trials, mediations and strategic settlements.

A high-stakes real estate dispute presents an example of Thomas Whitelaw’s approach. We defended a city against claims for breach of a ground lease, fraud and inverse condemnation. Not only did we obtain summary judgment in our client’s favor dismissing all claims, we then went to trial on the city’s cross-complaint, forcing a settlement valued at $50 million in favor of the city.

Or again, Or again, in a recent patent infringement case, we employed our litigation skills and technical expertise to obtain a highly-favorable settlement for a Fortune 50 Company against a claim seeking millions of dollars of unpaid royalties under a license agreement involving transportation technology.

We achieve these results by pouring ourselves into each case. First, we understand the unique intricacies of each client and matter. Then, through our collaborative approach, we develop and execute winning solution for high-stakes matters–from discovery to trial to appeal–both in state and federal courts.

Not only do we win big, but we do it with a consideration for delivering value to clients. In this difficult economic environment, we understand that in-house counsel are asked not only to win , but to do so efficiently. At Thomas Whitelaw, we work with clients to develop situation-specific billing arrangements. We utilize state-of-the-art  electronic document management technologies that allow us to store, retrieve and search electronic data in the most efficient manner. We provide our clients password-protected access to all electric documents, which allows us to partner with our clients on a real time basics to manage large cases effectively.

Another key to delivering value is efficient lawyer staffing.  At Thomas Whitelaw, our business is not driven by leverage. To staff a case, we judiciously team seasoned partners with highly experienced senior associates based on client needs, attorney expertise and relevant trial or specialized experience. We have no associates-in-training. As a result, all of our lawyers are experienced. Our seasoned associates and paralegals, cherry-picked from national firms, round out the teams to create efficiencies, not hourly charge overloads.

Thomas Whitelaw had earned its coveted reputation for providing its clients with winning solutions for litigating high-stakes matters.