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Kara Petteway Wheatley

Senior Counsel

Kara Petteway Wheatley

Washington, DC

T:+1 202 662 4714

Kara approaches complex civil litigation and government investigation matters strategically and from the unique perspective of an in-house counsel, a high-ranking state government lawyer, and a litigator who has successfully tried a high-profile, bet the company case.

Kara has litigated matters across a wide variety of subject areas, including breach of contract disputes, insurance coverage disputes, the enforcement of international arbitral awards, business torts and lawsuits brought under federal statutes, including the Endangered Species Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Her government investigation experience has involved the False Claims Act, securities enforcement and pay-to-play allegations. 

Kara is skilled in all procedural stages of a lawsuit, including the preparation of pleadings and dispositive motions, designing and executing affirmative and defensive discovery strategies, managing large scale data collection and review, taking and defending depositions, and trial. Kara has extensive motions practice experience, including argument in federal and state court. 

In 2015-2016, Kara completed a nine-month, full time secondment to the civil litigation group of the world's largest pharmaceutical company. In that role, Kara independently handled a varied docket of breach of contract, business tort, personal injury and product liability matters; directly counseled business colleagues on potential disputes; and shadowed senior in-house counsel on major litigation matters. 

From 2010-2011, Kara served as Assistant General Counsel to the Treasurer of the State of North Carolina.  In that capacity, she had primary responsibility for all legal and policy matters regarding the investments made on behalf of the North Carolina Retirement Systems. She managed the work of several outside legal practices and the staff of the North Carolina Attorney General's office on diverse matters such as the litigation and settlement of a $34.7 million claim against an investment manager, public records litigation, employment litigation, an internal investigation and securities litigation claims. Kara also had significant involvement in managing the Treasurer's legislative agenda and media relations.

Prior to joining Fulbright, Kara clerked for the Honorable Ronald L. Buckwalter of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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  • Education

    JD, with honors, University of North Carolina School of Law, 2005
    BA, with highest distinction and highest honors, political science and music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002

    Kara is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

  • Admissions
    • District of Columbia Bar
    • North Carolina State Bar
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • Washington DC Rising Star, civil litigation: defense, Thomson Reuters, 2014 - 2015
    • Legal Lion, Law360's Weekly Verdict: Legal Lions & Lambs, May 15, 2014
  • Publications
    • "Objections to the Use of Video and Audio Recordings at Trial," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Young Lawyers' Division Newsletter, Summer 2016
    • Co-author, "Contractual Limitation of the Duty to Defend," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Business Litigation Committee Newsletter, Summer 2015
    • Co-author with Lesley Reynolds, "Ethical Issues Concerning Experts," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Business Litigation Committee Newsletter, Fall 2013
    • Co-author with Michelle Pardo, "Strategies for Managing Animal Law Claims and Controversies," 7th Annual John Huffaker Agriculture Law Course, Lubbock, TX, May 2013
  • Memberships and activities
    • American Bar Association
      • Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
        • Young Lawyers Division, Co-Chair (2015-2016)
      • Section of Litigation
      • Judicial Division
    • Defense Research Institute
    • District of Columbia Board of Professional Responsibility, Alternate Hearing Committee Member
    • District of Columbia Bar Association
    • Office of the Attorney General, District of Columbia, Special Assistant Attorney General, Fulbright Attorney Loan Program (2008)
    • Norton Rose Fulbright Washington, DC Employment Committee (2012-present)