Ernest “Will” Klatte, III — Partner

Ernest “Will” Klatte, III founded Klatte Budensiek & Young-Agriesti, LLP, a specialized labor and employment law firm that places a premium on client care and relationships. Mr. Klatte heads up the firm’s litigation practice, which is devoted exclusively to the representation of business and management. For almost 30 years, Mr. Klatte has represented some of the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies in state and federal court proceedings throughout the state of California.

Prior to starting his own firm in 2012, Mr. Klatte spent almost 26 years at Rutan & Tucker, LLP, the largest full-service law firm in Orange County, most recently as a Senior Partner. He served at various times as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and the Chair of its Labor and Employment Section.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Klatte has defended his clients against a wide variety of California state and federal claims. His employment litigation experience includes the defense of hundreds of individual employment claims, including actions for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. He also has significant experience representing employers in complex wage and hour class actions.

Mr. Klatte’s commercial litigation experience includes the defense and prosecution of claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage, and breach of contract. Mr. Klatte also has significant experience representing businesses in the defense of consumer claims under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.

A native Californian, Mr. Klatte is married to his wife of 36 years. They have three adult children. He speaks French fluently and Spanish conversationally. In his limited free time he enjoys tending his vegetable garden, exercising, and travel.


J.D., King Hall School of Law, University of California Davis, 1984

B.A., English Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981, with highest honors


State Bar of California

United States District Court, Central District of California

United States District Court, Southern District of California

United States District Court, Eastern District of California

United States District Court, Northern District of California


Defense of State and Federal Wrongful Termination and Discrimination

Defense of Wage and Hour Class Actions

Defense of Private Attorneys General Act Claims (PAGA)



Department of Labor Proceedings

California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Proceedings

EEOC Investigations and Proceedings

Department of Fair Employment and Housing Investigations and Proceedings

CalOSHA Proceedings

Trade Secrets

Workplace Violence Prevention and Response


American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)

California State Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)

Orange County Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)

American Business Trial Lawyers Association

Federal Bar Association


California State Board of Governors, President’s Pro Bono Service Award

Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Rated “Pre-eminent”

Super Lawyers


Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Adjunct Faculty (Employment Law)

Constitutional Rights Foundation

Mentor, University of California, Irvine, School of Law

Volunteer, Public Law Center

Board Member and Vice-Chair, Share Our Selves