Katharine Van Dusen


Katharine Van Dusen is an experienced litigator who focuses on complex business and commercial disputes in state and federal courts. Her representations include land use and real estate disputes, employment matters, and complex commercial cases.

Katharine focuses on solving the problems her clients face.  She has tried multiple matters to verdict and has successfully defended trial court decisions on appeal.  Katharine’s clients come from a variety of industries, and her practice takes into account the scope of the dispute and the needs of the client to tailor an appropriate litigation strategy.

Prior to joining the firm, she clerked for the Honorable Vaughn R. Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Katharine is a member of the State Bars of California and Illinois and the Bar Association of San Francisco. From 2015-2018, she was a member of the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court. Katharine chairs the firm’s pro bono committee and has an active pro bono practice.

Katharine received her A.B. with high distinction in political science and German from the University of Michigan. She earned her J.D. cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law, where she was an editor of the Northwestern University Law Review. While in law school, Katharine served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Mark R. Filip of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Representing developer of landmark mixed-use project in its defense of project approvals under SB 35.

Represented public employer and obtained summary judgment defeating whistleblower retaliation claims.

Representing developer of mixed-use project in streamlined CEQA litigation.

Successfully appealed jurisdictional order under the Class Action Fairness Act, resulting in published opinion. See Ehrman v. Cox Communications Inc., 932 F.3d 1223 (9th Cir. 2019) (argued).

Obtained a complete defense verdict in an eight-day trial concerning enforceability of buyout agreement for the minority owner of a privately held company.

Represented iconic San Francisco institution in its efforts to resolve construction and design issues that have arisen in its new building.

Obtained seven-figure verdict in a five-day breach-of-contract trial on behalf of former CEO of a major construction firm.

Obtained a favorable defense verdict in a federal jury trial in a class action against a video satellite broadcaster related to an interruption in services.

Successfully defended Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of consumer class action complaint before the Second Circuit. See Heskiaoff v. Sling Media, Inc., No. 17-1094-cv, 2017 WL 5632078 (2d Cir. Nov. 22, 2017).

Obtained complete victory in interlocutory appeal before the Eighth Circuit, resulting in published opinion. See Stokes v. DISH Network, L.L.C., 838 F.3d 948 (8th Cir. 2016).

Katharine was named to Benchmark Litigation’s 2018 and 2019 40 & Under Hot List for her general commercial practice. She is frequently recognized as an outstanding volunteer for pro bono services by the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco.