Seasoned Trial Attorneys, Exceptional Results

Joseph E. Thomas

James M. Whitelaw


  • Co-Founder / Partner

Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Product Liability
  • Real Estate and Construction Litigation
  • Securities Litigation


James M. Whitelaw possesses both a strong legal and engineering background that is an important asset to the firm and its clients. Mr. Whitelaw's extensive trial and litigation experience with diverse matters has distinguished him as a talented litigator with a winning track record.

Mr. Whitelaw's legal practice was preceded by a ten-year career as an aeronautical engineer at both McDonnell Douglas Corporation and Grumman Aerospace Corporation. Mr. Whitelaw applies his in-depth understanding of complex technologies in patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation matters that span a broad range of technologies. His ability to quickly comprehend and communicate case intricacies in a simple way has been of substantial benefit in numerous jury trials, hearings and arbitrations.

Mr. Whitelaw has acted as a lead lawyer in a host of high-profile, high-stakes commercial litigation and intellectual property matters, as well as real estate construction and securities disputes. He is highly regarded by both clients and his team for both exceptional intellect and strategic thinking.

Mr. Whitelaw works closely to guide and train the associates at the firm, sharing both technical and legal insights. Prior to founding Thomas Whitelaw, Mr. Whitelaw was a partner in the Irvine office of McDermott Will & Emery, where he was a member of its Litigation and Trial Practice Group, with a focus on complex commercial and intellectual property matters.


  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
    • J.D. – 1994
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
    • B.S.
    • Honors: Cum Laude; Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society
    • Major: Aerospace Engineering

Bar Admission

  • California, 1994
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1994

Representative Cases

  • Pabban Development, Inc. v. Kyphon Sarl, et. al. (C.D. Cal.)
  • Duhn Oil Tool, Inc., v. Cooper Cameron (E.D. Cal.)
  • Bird Products Corporation v. Pulmonetic Systems, Inc. (C.D. Cal.)
  • Inland Empire Foods v. Zateca Foods, Inc. (C.D. Cal.)
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit District (B.A.R.T.) v. Tanforan Park Shopping Center (California Superior Court, San Mateo County)
  • Teachout v. S.P. Properties Inc. (California Superior Court, Los Angeles County)
  • Food 4 Less of California v. Foothill Marketplace Partners (California Superior Court, Orange County)

Past Positions

  • McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Aeronautical Engineer
  • Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Aeronautical Engineer
  • Irvine office of McDermott Will & Emery, Partner

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of California, Intellectual Property Law Section, Member
  • American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section, Member