Dennis A. Whitaker

Partner / Lawyer

Dennis Whitaker is an experienced appellate advocate, partner with Hawke, McKeon & Sniscak, LLP, and founder and principal contributor to Pennsylvania Appellate Advocate, a blog on issues of interest to appellate practitioners and particularly those issues in or on their way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Dennis combines expertise in administrative law with extensive litigation, trial and appellate experience.  He is the only person to have been appointed as chief counsel to both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  During his nearly 28 years of Commonwealth service, he litigated and argued complex cases at trial and on appeal before administrative tribunals and state and federal courts, prosecuted selected criminal matters as a Special Deputy Attorney General, and authored amicus briefs before the Third Circuit, the Sixth Circuit, the Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts and the courts of common pleas.

Dennis currently focuses on appellate and original jurisdiction practice in Pennsylvania and in selected federal courts, using his extensive knowledge of government and the courts to offer sound advice, creative solutions and effective strategies. Dennis is a past President of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and a past chair of PBA’s Administrative Law Section, and frequently serves as a planner and faculty member in CLE programs related to administrative law and appellate practice. He was law clerk to Joseph T. Doyle, President Judge of the Commonwealth Court, as well as Commonwealth Court Judges Bonnie Leadbetter and Renee Cohn Jubelirer. He received his J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law and his B.S. from the Pennsylvania State University.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Pennsylvania medical marijuana grower/processors and laboratory in challenging the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s regulation requiring two separate laboratories test cannabis product at the two separate testing phases.  Green Analytics, LLC et al. v. Pa. Dept. of Health (Pa. Cmwlth. 2023). (Court ruling that the “Petitioners’ right to judgment is clear and … the Department’s regulation was invalid.”)