Spencer Fane LLP Logo

Kathleen M. (Kate) Whitby

Of Counsel

Spencer Fane attorney Kate Whitby

T 314.333.3929
F 314.862.4656

Kate Whitby focuses her practice on environmental law, the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, and complex environmental litigation and dispute resolution.

For over 30 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, if appropriate. 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, seller, lender, a non-profit, or municipal entity.

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.

Highlights of Kate Whitby’s experience include:

  • Served as chair of the legal committee and informal coordinating counsel for an Illinois Superfund site, and orchestrated PRP outreach efforts, initial allocation shares, and administrative settlement negotiations allowing the PRP Group to expand from 39 to 162 member companies, all of whom signed the RI/FS ASAOC for the site. Continues to represent the client’s interests as a member of the Group’s steering and allocation committees, and is using her allocation database experience to advance the Group’s efforts to retrieve electronic information from a legacy WANG computer database and translate it into a modern format that can be used in assigning fair shares of cleanup costs.
  • Provided environmental regulatory, Missouri law, and settlement negotiation support as local counsel in a breach of lease and toxic tort case involving property previously used as a retail sale and warehouse distribution facility.
  • Assisting numerous real estate clients with environmental due diligence assessments, investigative sampling, and remediation efforts, with a particular focus on the environmental consultants’ contract terms, the future use of the property, and cost-efficient, timely methods to determine if the property is appropriate for the clients’ intended uses.

To view Kate’s additional experience, please click here.


  • American Bar Association


  • Chambers USA, Environment, 2020-2022
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2022-2023

Contact Kate Whitby at 314.333.3929 or kwhitby@spencerfane.com.