Kate Whitby is an of counsel attorney in the St. Louis office of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, LLP, where she concentrates her practice in environmental law, the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, and complex environmental litigation and dispute resolution.
For over 25 years, Kate has helped big and small companies, non-profits, municipalities, and individuals manage or resolve environmental problems so that they can run their businesses, pursue their missions, serve their citizens, and live their lives. She combines her expertise in federal and state environmental laws with her experience as a third party neutral to come up with cost-effective, workable solutions that meet her clients’ needs.
Kate began her career representing companies at federal CERCLA (a/k/a the Superfund law) sites and she continues that concentration, helping her clients negotiate fair settlements which allow the appropriate level of site remediation with funding from multiple responsible parties. She handles Brownfield properties and state-lead sites with the same goal, allowing businesses to continue operating as investigation or cleanup work goes forward. If a particular project involves federal or state laws other than Superfund, she helps the client navigate through the permitting or enforcement process with clear explanations of options, timing, and likely results.
Kate also supports the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, including All Appropriate Inquiry compliance — Phase I environmental site investigations, Phase II invasive sampling, and post-closing “due care” obligations — and the myriad of contract issues that accompany a real estate deal on formerly-used commercial or industrial property. Kate’s knowledge about typical contaminants, environmental contractors, and remediation technologies allows her to help focus the investigation, the contract terms, and the cleanup requirements on those items most likely to impact the client’s needs, whether the client is the buyer, the seller, or the lender.
Finally, Kate serves as a third party neutral, committee chair, or informal mediator at many sites and projects, and teaches as an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law. Her experience as a mediator, arbitrator, allocator, trainer, and teacher allows her to work with client teams to clarify their goals and interests, develop insights about why the other side is doing whatever they are doing, and make suggestions for how to steer a path toward resolution, all of which leads to faster, more satisfying solutions for everyone involved.
- J.D. cum laude, St. Louis University School of Law
- B.A. magna cum laude, Benedictine College
- Multi-Party/Public Policy Dispute Resolution Theory & Practice
- Activity and Affiliations
- Roster neutral for the National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals compiled by the Morris K. Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (beginning 1999).
- Roster neutral for U.S. Arbitration and Mediation – Midwest, a regional dispute resolution provider based in St. Louis, Missouri (beginning 2004).
- Honors and Awards
- 13th Annual Women’s Justice Awards, “Business Practioner,” Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, April 2011.
- Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review AV® Preeminent™ rating and 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Environmental Law.
- Adjunct Professor, Washington University School of Law, “Multi-Party Negotiation and Public Policy Dispute Resolution, ” (Fall, 2013-present)
- “ADR & Mediation Practice and Theory” (2004 – 2012)
- Roster neutral for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (beginning 2004).
- American Bar Association
- Former Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) ADR Committee (2003-05); Vice-Chair (2012-14, 2002-03, and 1997-99).
- Bar Admissions: States of Missouri and Illinois; U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois.
- Member, American Bar Association (ABA) and Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL).