Kristin Klein Wheaton

Kristin Klein Wheaton

Partner

Practice Groups

Kristin Klein Wheaton counsels and defends the interests of clients involved in complex commercial disputes. A skilled problem solver, Kristin’s wide-ranging experience includes labor and employee relations, contract negotiations, and assisting clients with the creation and maintenance of compliance strategies for state and federal laws.

Over the course of her 20-year legal career, Kristin has held a variety of positions in the public and private sectors. Most recently, she was the Executive Vice President for Legal Affairs at a large community college in Western New York, where, in reporting to its president, managed a team of 20 professionals across a range of departments. Kristin coordinated and represented the school in all of its legal matters, as well as union matters, including grievances, arbitration, negotiations and labor management meetings, tort and employment litigation, administrative proceedings, and more. She also instituted monthly labor management meetings and reduced grievances by more than 50 percent over her tenure — including a two-year period with no grievances from one of its four unions, and only three grievances total that went to arbitration.  

Kristin also spent several years in the Erie County Attorney’s Office, as an Assistant County Attorney, a First Assistant County Attorney, and the Acting County Attorney. Among other duties, she frequently appeared before the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, negotiated settlements with unions on employment issues, represented the county and its employees before a variety of state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and acted as in-house counsel for Erie County Commissioners. She also has extensive experience handling municipal litigation, including civil rights and First Amendment claims, negligence claims, and Article 78 proceedings. 

Kristin has been an adjunct professor at Hilbert College since January 2012, where she teaches Trial Preparation and Practice for Paralegals (Advanced Civil Litigation). In 2015, Kristin was named one of Western New York’s Legal Elite by Buffalo Business First and the Buffalo Law Journal.

Honors
  • Buffalo Business First Legal Elite of Western New York, 2015
Professional Affiliations
  • New York State Public Employer Labor Relations Association
  • Erie County Bar Association, Labor Law Committee
  • New York State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions
  • Organization of Public Employer Negotiators
  • National Order of the Barristers
  • Michigan State University Alumni Association, WNY Chapter
  • National Public Employer Labor Relations Association
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Education
  • Albany Law School, J.D., 1994
  • Michigan State University, B.A., 1991
Publications/Presentations
  • Co-Presenter, “Labor and Employment Law Update Looking Ahead in 2017," Navigating a New World: A 2017 Roadmap for Private Sector Employers, Buffalo NY, February 9, 2017
  • Presenter, “Trends and Legal Updates – Employment Practices Liability," AIG Claims Advisory Board Meeting, Buffalo, NY, November 2, 2016
  • Co-presenter, “Internal Investigations – Ethical Considerations,” New York State Public Employer Labor Relations Association Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 22, 2016
  • Panelist, "Bargaining Issues Involving Dual Credit and Enrollment Issues at Community Colleges," National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions Annual Conference, New York, NY, April 5, 2016
  • Panelist, “Campus Sexual Assault Panel Discussion: Navigating the Tough Terrain of Compliance, Awareness and Prevention,” WNY Network for Women Leaders in Education, May 2015
  • Co-Presenter, “County Correctional Facilities, Federal and State Claim, and Litigation Exposure — Is Your County Exposed?” County Attorneys Association of the State of New York Annual Conference, Albany, NY, April 2010
  • Co-Presenter, “Furloughs and Employment Law Updates,” County Attorneys Association of the State of New York Winter Conference, Albany, NY, February 2010
  • Presenter, “Electronic Records, Retention and Litigation Issues for Municipalities,” New York State Public Employer Labor Relations Association Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 2006