Kathleen D. Wilkinson: Lawyer with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Kathleen D. Wilkinson


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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Aviation & Aerospace
  • e-Discovery
  • Employment & Labor
  • Hospitality
  • Insurance Agents & Brokers
  • Insurance & Reinsurance Coverage
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Liability & Services
Contact InfoTelephone: 215.606.3905
Fax: 215.627.2665
University Kean University, B.S., 1978, summa cum laude/Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society
Law SchoolVillanova University School of Law, J.D., 1981 Villanova Law Review, MemberReimel Moot Court Competition Semifinalist
Admitted1981, Pennsylvania; 1983, New Jersey; 2003, U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Pennsylvania; U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey; U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

Memberships & Affiliations

Philadelphia Bar Association, Chancellor
Philadelphia Bar Association, Cabinet Member: 2005 - present
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Voting Member of House of Delegates for Zone One, Philadelphia: 2003 - present
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee, November 2002 - present
Philadelphia Association of Defense Lawyers
Historical Society of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The Lawyers Club of Philadelphia
Forum of Executive Women
Asian American Bar Association of Pennsylvania
Louis D. Brandeis Society
Brehon Society
Justinian Society

Board Positions
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Board of Governors
Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Board of Directors
Philadelphia Bar Foundation, Board of Directors
Philly VIP, Board of Directors
Philadelphia Defender Association, Board of Directors
PILCOP, Board of Directors
Friends of Farmworkers, Board of Directors


Well known throughout Pennsylvania's legal community for her consummate legal skills and uncompromising dedication, it is fitting that Kathleen Wilkinson was elected chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, a position she assumed in January, 2013. As only the sixth woman to lead this 13,000 member organization founded more than 200 years ago, Kathleen's standing as its chancellor represents a particularly remarkable milestone in a distinguished career.

Kathleen built her practice and earned her reputation defending complex cases involving a variety of products, construction, premises, professional liability, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. 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. Kathleen 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

Awards & Distinctions

Gilbert Nurick Award, Conference of County Bar Leaders of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, 2014

AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Philadelphia's Top Rated Lawyers, Insurance, 2012

Included in the 2013 Pennsylvania Top 50 Women list by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
Selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2006-2007, 2009-2014

Alumni of the Year, Kean University, 2010

Woman of Distinction, Kean University, 2009

Anne X. Alpern Award, Pennsylvania Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee, 2008

Woman of the Year, Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 2007-2008

Villanova Law School Inn of Court, President, 2004-2006

Pennsylvania Bar Association, Leadership Award, 2006


Daubert Déjà Vu July 15, 2014


Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Whether Drug Company Has Expanded Duties
February 10, 2014

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations
January 15, 2014


Kathleen Wilkinson Chairs Host Committee of Vision 2020's Women's Wit and Wisdom Luncheon
May 5, 2014

Empowering Women to LEAN-IN
April 22, 2014


Kathleen Wilkinson Appointed to the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
June 23. 2014

Kathleen Wilkinson Honored by Pennsylvania Bar Association for Dedication and Service
March 18, 2014

Reported CasesRepresentative Matters; While Kathleen continually seeks and frequently achieves early resolutions, she is not afraid to elevate matters to court if it helps to advance her clients' objectives. She has tried many cases to verdict at both the state and federal levels.Currently handling the defense of two companies, which provide drug information, in more than 300 pharmaceutical cases in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, and have obtained dismissals from over 65 cases to date.Successfully defended a case against a clip manufacturer in state court in Cincinnati, OH. The plaintiff mother donated a kidney to her son and nearly died from the alleged failure of a clip used to close the renal artery, which led to severe bleeding and damage to all major organs. Duration of this highly technical case was several years, and a favorable outcome was obtained for the client. The demand was $20 million. This case was successfully mediated.Reached nominal settlement of a New Jersey case against a catheter manufacturer.Obtained a defense verdict in a New Jersey case against elevator maintenance company.Obtained defense verdicts in mass tort cases in Philadelphia County on many occasions for lack of sufficient product identification or exposure by plaintiff to clients' products. Successfully defended and obtained the dismissal of a latex manufacturer due to lack of involvement with latex in its gloves.Tried a case in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court against a medical device spray company that settled shortly after cross-examination of the plaintiff.Successfully defended construction company and owner in case involving a death and alleged brain injury allegedly sustained in an accident following the design and installation of an elevator. Settlement demand was in excess of $10 million. Obtained dismissal of construction company and obtained nominal settlement for owner.Successfully defended construction company in case involving a death following an alleged fall from a multi-story building during construction. Case involved very complex indemnity and insurance issues with settlement demand of $20 million.Successfully defended construction company and owner in suit involving electrical burns during installation of power to a construction site, resulting in dismissal of owner and nominal settlement for construction company. Settlement demand was in excess of $10 million.Obtained summary judgment on many occasions in favor of construction companies involving statutory employer defense.Successfully defended against injunction sought to force insurer to pay insurance policy proceeds into court.Obtained revision of insurance policy with dismissal of client insurer from suit.Successfully defended insurance brokers on many occasions involving allegations of potential gap in coverage with dismissal of brokers from suits.Obtained dismissal of insurance broker from suit pending in Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court seeking over a million dollars in damages if prize policy placed by broker did not cover casino winnings.

Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

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What Remains of Act 13 in Pennsylvania after Robinson? Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Strikes Further Provisions of Act 13 as Unconstitutional
Michael J. Cawley,Kathleen D. Wilkinson, August 19, 2014
Earlier this year, we reported in our Client Alert dated January 15, 2014, on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013). In Robinson, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional provisions of Act 13 that required...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Whether Drug Company Has Expanded Duties
Henry F. Canelo,Kathleen D. Wilkinson, February 19, 2014
On January 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in a 4-2 vote in Lance v. Wyeth, 2014 PA. 17 EAP 2011 (PA Supreme Court 2014), that a pharmaceutical company for the first time under Pennsylvania law may face negligence claims where the drug manufacturer introduced a drug into the...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations
Michael J. Cawley,Kathleen D. Wilkinson, January 17, 2014
On December 19, 2013, in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared portions of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), commonly known as the “Marcellus Shale Act,” unconstitutional. As enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature and signed into law...

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Office Information

Kathleen D. Wilkinson

Independence Square West, Suite 1130 East
PhiladelphiaPA 19106-3308


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