Katherine P. Chiarello is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who routinely handles extremely sensitive, high stakes, and urgent legal matters, including temporary restraining orders (TROs) and preliminary injunctions. Katherine represents a broad range of clients, from individuals and startups to multinational corporations.
Katherine is passionate about the practice of law and has litigated, arbitrated, and mediated cases (including class actions) involving business contracts, business torts, theft of trade secrets, fraud, trademarks, and copyright infringement. Katherine also regularly assists clients with business divorces and other internal governance disputes. Many of her litigation clients return to her for counseling on litigation avoidance and compliance issues because she offers legal advice in a user-friendly manner. She also conducts internal investigations for her clients when allegations of potential misconduct arise.
Katherine’s pragmatic approach to litigation prioritizes achieving a favorable outcome for her clients, whether that means trial and appeal, or securing a pre-trial resolution that avoids the expense and uncertainty associated with litigation. In both state and federal court, she has a demonstrated record of finding a path to success in factually and legally challenging cases. And she has built her reputation as a creative problem solver who maintains a sharp focus on business priorities when formulating her legal strategies.
Her recent victories include arguing a successful appeal at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in a high-stakes theft of trade secrets case and obtaining a preliminary injunction in a First Amendment case. She also served as co-lead counsel in a successful arbitration, defeating a former employee’s claim for religious discrimination and saving her client hundreds of millions of dollars.
Katherine is regularly retained to assist out-of-town firms as local counsel, having been retained by prominent firms in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, California, and Georgia to advise clients in high-stakes Austin-based litigation.
After law school, Katherine served as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After her clerkships, Katherine began her legal career at Williams & Connolly, LLP, in Washington, D.C.
In her free time, Katherine enjoys spending time with her family, binge-watching documentaries at SXSW Film Festival, and creating found object art, some of which has been featured in local art fairs.
- Travis County Women Lawyers
- Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMAs)
- Texas State Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- Texas Bar Foundation
- Litigation/Appellate Attorney of the Year, Travis County Women Lawyers Association, 2023
- Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, 2018–2022
- Austin’s Top Attorneys, Civil Litigation, Austin Monthly Magazine, 2022–2023
Trade Secret, Non-Compete, and Non-Solicit Litigation
- Favorably settled theft of trade secrets, breach of non-compete and non-solicit agreement matter on behalf of a multi-state mortgage company when a former management employee effectively took the branch to a competitor;
- Defeated request for preliminary injunction for alleged theft of trade secrets brought by established market player against a newcomer in the used semiconductor trading industry;
- Obtained broad injunction against former employee for theft of trade secrets, breach of non-compete and non-solicit agreement on behalf of a large healthcare technology company.
Complex Commercial and Shareholder Litigation
- Secured favorable arbitration ruling for major commercial developer in a religious discrimination case involving eight-figure claim for damages;
- Defended a Fortune 50 technology company in a major federal lawsuit involving allegations of business interference, violations of software copyrights, and global antitrust violations;
- Obtained a favorable interpretation of a power purchase agreement on behalf of a major government-owned energy authority in a nine-figure dispute;
- Defended largest privately-held seed company in the United States in complex civil litigation, including RICO, fraud and racial discrimination claims;
- Represented a large credit insurer in numerous cases, including a nationwide class action;
- Represented one of the nation’s largest newspaper companies in litigation on three simultaneous fronts over the ownership of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Business Dissolutions and Fiduciary Litigation
- Obtained business dissolution on behalf of managing member of an LLC on more favorable terms that those initially offered by that member prior to engagement of counsel;
- Negotiated successful business dissolution of a locally owned hardware and fixture company despite there being no tie break or buy-sell provision in the operating agreement;
- Successfully defeated personal jurisdiction challenge and favorably settled lawsuit involving services provided to a major metropolitan airport in California;
- Assisting owners of a concrete company in obtaining a receivership and litigating breach of fiduciary duty claims.
- Obtained favorable settlement with frequent copyright plaintiff after obtaining pre-trial legal ruling that turned a seven-figure case into a five-figure one;
- Represented the independent alumni association of a Big 12 school in bet-the-entity intellectual property litigation against its parent university;
- Represented national insurance provider in trademark litigation regarding use of internet-based advertising;
- Litigated and successfully resolved trademark and copyright disputes involving multiple iconic Austin marks.
- Secured unanimous affirmance from the 5th Circuit of district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction in a theft of trade secrets lawsuit;
- Obtained order from 3rd Court of Appeals reversing the trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration on behalf of a national solar company;
- Participated in successful 5th Circuit appeal resulting in the affirmance of the trial court’s interpretation of a multi-million dollar energy purchase agreement.
Impact Litigation & Pro Bono
- Participated in challenge to the electoral college/winner-take-all system;
- Currently representing citizens asserting a First and Fourteenth Amendment challenge against Llano County’s removal of books from the public library based on their content and viewpoint;
- Represent individuals who have been subjected to illegal evictions or improper charges through Volunteer Legal Services.