Patti Santelle is Chair Emeritus of the firm. For seven years, as the Managing Partner and Chair of the Executive Committee, Patti was responsible for carrying out the strategic plan and policies of the firm, overseeing the management of the operations of the firm and such other duties and responsibilities as are typically associated with being a chief executive officer. When Patti was appointed to that position in December 2013, she was the first woman in the firm’s history and in the City of Philadelphia to serve in that role in a major law firm. During her tenure, the firm grew to over 200 lawyers in ten offices in six states. Prior to being Managing Partner, Patti served as Chair of the Commercial Litigation Department, as well as Co-Chair of the firm’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Practice.
Patti is recognized by her clients and peers as a leading attorney in the field of complex insurance coverage. She has devoted more than 30 years to the representation of insurance company clients in matters involving asbestos, environmental, toxic tort and long-tail claims. She is known for her depth of experience, responsiveness, drive and ability to craft solutions for her clients, whether they are in litigation or not. Patti thoroughly understands the needs of her insurer clients.
Patti’s practice includes the prosecution and defense of insurers in coverage actions in state and federal courts around the country as well as alternative dispute resolution proceedings. She also negotiates the resolution of disputed coverage claims and counsels insurance company clients on claims litigation strategy, claims resolution procedures and coverage questions.
While in law school, Patti was President of the Student Bar Association, winner (overall and best brief) of the Hunter Advanced Moot Court Competition and a member of the school’s National Moot Court Team. After graduation, she served as Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Daniel J. O'Hern, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of New Jersey, and an associate with the Morristown, New Jersey firm of Pitney, Hardin Kipp & Szuch. She joined White and Williams in 1990.
Since serving as her firm’s Managing Partner, Patti has devoted significant time to leadership not only in the legal community but also in the business, law school and pro bono communities in the region in which she lives and works. She is a frequent speaker not only on key issues impacting on the insurance industry but also the legal industry, including leadership and professional development.
Recognition and Involvement
Recognition & Involvement
Since 2016, Patti has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer and eminent practitioner in Pennsylvania Insurance law. She is described by clients as a "formidable" litigator who provides high-quality advice on sophisticated insurance coverage matters and is well-versed in asbestos and long-tail claims with an impressive roster of carriers on regional and nationwide disputes.
Since 2005, Patti has been selected in a survey of her peers as a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers. Patti has also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2019 for the practice area of Insurance Law and in 2024 for the practice area of Litigation - Insurance.
For the past several years, Patti has been nominated by her peers and named to Who’s Who in Legal for her work in the field of Insurance and Reinsurance. In 2023, she was named a Thought Leader as well as Global Leader in Insurance and Reinsurance. Previously selected as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation for her work in the Insurance field, in 2016, she was among the 25 women recognized by The Legal Intelligencer as "Top Women In Law."
Patti is a former member and Past Chair of the District IV Ethics Committee in New Jersey and has been appointed four times by the Supreme Court of New Jersey to serve (and is currently serving) as a Special Master on complex ethics proceedings in New Jersey.
Patti was a 20-year member and Past Chancellor of the Board of the Rutgers-Camden Law Alumni Association. In 2010, she was given the Scarlet Oak Meritorious Service Award by Rutgers University for her contributions as an alumni leader and student mentor at the Rutgers-Camden School of Law. Patti is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur E. Armitage Sr. Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors Rutgers Law graduates who have achieved an extraordinary level of success through their legal and professional experience and exemplary community leadership. In 2020, she was appointed as one of the first Co-Chairs of the Executive Committee of the newly established Rutgers Law Alumnae Network. The network’s mission is to bring together alumnae from both law schools to support each other as well as current law school students.
In 2015, Patti was appointed to the inaugural Corporate Council for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The council is comprised of top executives who serve as advisers and advocates for CHOP, providing strategic insight to strengthen the hospital's partnerships. Its members act as public ambassadors for the hospital and are committed to advancing CHOP's research, teaching, clinical priorities, and innovative research initiatives.
From 2018 through 2022, Patti served as a Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Large Firm Management Committee.
In 2021, Patti was appointed to the Large Firm Management Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and is currently serving as its Co-Chair.
In 2021, Patti was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Committee of Seventy, an independent, non-partisan nonprofit organization which advocates for better government in the City of Philadelphia. The Board consists of business, legal and civic leaders.
In 2023, Patti was appointed Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee.
Patti is President of the Board of Trustees of the C. Wallace Stuard Sailing Foundation and a former member of the Board of Directors and Legal Committee of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May.
Patti has handled pro bono matters for the Homeless Advocacy Project, the Senior Law Center of Philadelphia, the Support Center for Child Advocates and Volunteers for the Indigent (VIP) Tangled Title Program.
Bar and Court Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, JD, 1985
Boston College, AB, magna cum laude, 1982
News & Insights
- 12.18.23 | Pennsylvania Bar News
- 10.26.23 | New York, NY
- 10.12.23 | Philadelphia, PA
- 9.22.23 | Atlantic City, NJ
- 8.18.23 | Firm News
- Who's Who Legal Recognizes Two White and Williams Lawyers as Thought/Global Leaders in Insurance and Reinsurance8.7.23
- Consent to General Jurisdiction by Registration Affirmed … But Only In Pennsylvania, and Perhaps Not For Long6.28.23 | Client Alert
- 6.8.23 | Insurance Coverage Alert
- 11.21.22 | The Complex Insurance Coverage Reporter
- 9.16.22 | Philadelphia Bar Association 2022 Bench-Bar & Annual Conference
- 8.18.22 | Firm News
- New York Appellate Court Restores Insurer’s Right to Seek Pro Rata Allocation of Settlements Between Insured and Uninsured Periods3.23.22 | Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith and Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Alert
- 12.14.21 | Webinar
- Is Your Insured in a Financial Crisis? Not Sure What to Do Next? Part II: Assignments for Benefit of Creditors (ABCs)12.7.21 | Webinar
- 11.30.21 | Webinar
- 11.29.21 | Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Alert
- 11.21 | Rutgers Camden Magazine
- 11.12.21 | Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith and Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Alert
- NJ Supreme Court Declines to Review Decision that Exxon Has No Duty to Indemnify Insurers for Environmental Liability Under Prior Settlement Agreement11.11.21 | Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Alert
- 10.1.21 | Philadelphia Bar Association 2021 Virtual Bench Bar & Annual Conference
- 3.11.21 | Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel Webinar
- Patti Santelle Honored by Rutgers School of Law with Arthur E. Armitage Sr. Distinguished Alumni Award2.10.21
- 8.11.20 | Webinar
- 2.3.20 | Law360
- 12.2.19 | Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor's Forum
- 10.4.19 | Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Alert
- 11.16.18 | Philadelphia Diversity Law Group
- 10.16.18 | Rutgers Law School (Camden, NJ)
- A View from the Top: Current and Future State of the Insurance Claims Industry10.4.18 | 12th Annual Coverage College
- 6.15.18 | 2018 Federal Bench-Bar Conference (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1.18 | Law Practice Today
- 5.1.17 | Temple Law Newsroom
- 3.30.17 | 10th Annual Philadelphia Credit and Restructuring Summit
- 9.23.16 | Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar and Annual Conference
- 5.19.15 | Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocation Issues (Perrin Conferences, Philadelphia, PA)
- 2.27.15 | Restatement of Law of Liability Insurance Conference, Rutgers School of Law-Camden
- Advises insurer clients on cutting edge issues involving climate change, PFAS ("forever chemicals"), and talc, as well as other contemporary mass tort claims
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of multiple insurers, defeating a policyholder’s novel efforts to invalidate asbestos exclusions contained in insurance policies on the ground that they had not been submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance for approval prior to use and, therefore, were unenforceable
- For almost 20 years, serves as lead counsel for a group of insurers who are signatories to the landmark “Wellington Agreement"; representation has involved handling multiple phases of alternative dispute resolution adverse to major asbestos producers who also signed the Wellington Agreement and, in most instances, brought about creative, cost-effective solutions to what has otherwise been described as a crisis in litigation in this country
- Serves as lead counsel for insurer clients in dozens of complex disputes involving hazardous waste sites around the country; adversaries have included a number of Fortune 500 companies
- Tried multiple coverage cases, including serving as lead counsel in a two-month bench trial involving the largest waste management company in North America
- Served as lead counsel for a major insurance company before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a case which affirmed the dismissal of a claim seeking unaggregated coverage for asbestos-related bodily injury claims
- Assisted in a two-week jury trial involving pollution at a manufactured gas plant in New England and a multi-day bench trial involving issues presented by underlying asbestos claims
- Served as lead or co-counsel on appeals in state and federal courts on significant procedural issues such as forum non conveniens and choice of law, and substantive issues such as allocation and applicable limits
- Obtained favorable and/or otherwise dispositive rulings for insurance company clients on key issues such as the duty to defend, application of pollution exclusion, after-acquired/involved sites and “trigger” of coverage
- Assisted insurance company clients in limiting policyholders’ attempts to get broad declaratory relief
- Aided clients in preventing underlying claimants from pursuing “direct actions” under the state’s Spill Act
- Counseled insurer clients on cutting-edge issues presented by chemical/indoor exposure and Chinese Drywall claims
- Ohio Court Refuses to Annualize Mult-Year Policies' Per Occurrence Limits
- White and Williams Secures Summary Judgment in Dispute Over Coverage for Breach of Contract Claims
- Coverage Team Obtains Summary Judgment Based on Employer's Liability Exclusion
- Coverage Team Obtains Summary Judgment in Case Involving Insurability of Punitive Damages
- White and Williams Defeats Claims Brought by Insured’s Alleged Successor in Environmental Coverage Dispute
- Coverage Team Secures Significant Choice-of-Law Victory in Ohio State Court