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Michael Whelan, a veteran litigator for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. who spent part of his career at the state attorney general’s office died Monday. He was 54. Friends and colleagues remember Whelan as an outstanding lawyer, a dedicated family man and a “moral compass.” “He was a man of amazing integrity; everybody sought his counsel,” said PG&E Deputy General Counsel Robert Bordon. “He proved that one could be ethical and successful,” said Patrick Golden, an attorney at PG&E. Whelan lived in Orinda with his wife, Christine. According to colleagues, he had taken a few months off of work to undergo surgery. He was expected to return to work part time on Monday, but complained of shortness of breath in the morning. The oldest of six brothers and sisters, Whelan grew up in the Bay Area and attended San Mateo’s Junipero Serra High School. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1966 and went on to earn his law degree from the USF School of Law. Upon graduating, Whelan began working for the criminal division of the state attorney general’s office in San Francisco, where he spent the first half of his career. During that time he represented the state in a number of significant cases prosecuting organized crime. In 1988, Whelan joined PG&E. According to colleagues, he quickly distinguished himself as a hard worker and a skilled litigator, who was always able to maintain his sense of calm and humor in tense situations. Whelan served as the head of PG&E’s employment and torts litigation group, where he managed a team of seven attorneys. “He had impeccable judgment,” recalled Iathan Annand, the head of PG&E’s litigation division. “He was willing to take on the toughest cases.” Colleagues remember Whelan’s door always being open and attorneys of all levels seeking him out for guidance when faced with ethical questions in their cases. “He was considered so ethical and so honorable that people would come to him and say, ‘Here’s the situation, how should I handle this?’” Golden said. “You might say that’s the person who is so ethical, he may not tell me what I want to hear, but I’ll sleep at night.” A funeral mass will be today at Our Lady of Angels Church in Burlingame, followed by burial services at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. Whelan is survived by his wife, and two children, Lisa Marie and Helen.

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