John Williams practices in the area of complex civil litigation with a particular focus on securities litigation, professional liability defense, and appellate work. 

John’s securities practice has involved the representation of issuers, private equity firms, underwriters, professional advisers, and individuals.  Those matters have included successful representations of clients at all levels of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as favorable negotiated resolutions. 

John has defended international, national, and regional law firms, as well as individual lawyers.  The cases have involved civil matters initiated by clients, non-clients, and bankruptcy-related trustees, as well as government investigations and criminal prosecutions.     

Appellate work also makes up a large portion of John’s practice.  He argued before the Supreme Court in Turner v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 1885 (2017).  And he has otherwise successfully represented clients in the Supreme Court in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborer’s District Counsel Construction Industry Pension Fund, 135 S. Ct. 1318 (2015), and Bailey v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 1031 (2013), as well as in the Second, Fifth, Ninth and D.C. Circuits.  He also has experience defending clients in the state appellate courts, having argued in the appellate courts of New York and the District of Columbia.   

Born in New York City, John grew up in Scarsdale, New York.  He graduated from Princeton University, magna cum laude, in 1999, and received a master’s degree from Yale University in 2002.  John received his law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2004, where he was an Articles Editor and Executive Committee Member of the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review.  After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  He joined Williams & Connolly in 2005.  

John serves on the firm’s Discovery Attorney Committee.  His pro bono representations have included representing asylum seekers and a D.C. habeas petitioner, in a case that was featured in the Netflix series “The Confession Tapes.”   

Representative Experience

  • Defense of healthcare company in case before the Supreme Court addressing liability for statements of opinion
  • Defense of healthcare company in securities fraud case and parallel shareholder derivative litigation arising from statements in wake of resolution of government False Claims Act investigation
  • Defense of medical-device company in securities fraud case arising from statements in connection with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation
  • Defense of medical-device company in class certification proceedings in case alleging scheme liability
  • Defense of media and proprietary-education company in securities litigation resulting from Senate investigation into the proprietary-education sector 
  • Defense of private equity firm in securities litigation and parallel shareholder derivative litigation involving alleged false statements regarding FCPA compliance and oil prospects
  • Defense of underwriting syndicate in securities litigation arising from offering by foreign media firm
  • Defense of CEO and founder in securities fraud case and parallel shareholder derivative cases involving media analytics firm
  • Defense of law firm in securities litigation arising from collapse of client commodities brokerage
  • Defense of law firm in securities litigation arising from collapse of client energy firm
  • Defense of bank in parallel criminal and civil securities fraud matters
  • Defense of foreign mining firm in FCPA investigation by the SEC
  • Defense of law firm in coordinated suits by bankruptcy trustees and former customers of client commodities brokerage 
  • Defense of law firm in matter arising from underwriting of foreign energy company
  • Defense of law firm in matter arising from tax opinion
  • Defense of law firm in matter arising from criminal representation
  • Defense of law firm in matter brought by SIPA Trustee following collapse of broker-dealer
  • Defense of law firm in matter involving estate planning advice
  • Defense of law firm and lawyers in appeal from order imposing sanctions
  • Argument before the Supreme Court on behalf of six, separately represented defendants in Turner v. United States
  • Representation of criminal defendant before the Supreme Court in Bailey v. United States
  • Representation of media company in the D.C. Circuit in appeal of labor dispute
  • Representation of lawyer in the Second Circuit in criminal case alleging securities fraud and wire fraud
  • Representation of law firm in the Second Circuit in securities fraud case
  • Representation of international energy company in the Second Circuit in arbitration-enforcement matter
  • Representation of law firm and lawyers in Fourth Circuit in appeal from sanctions finding
  • Representation of private equity firm in the Fifth Circuit in securities fraud case
  • Representation of law firm in the Fifth Circuit in securities fraud case
  • Representation of asylum-seeking family in the Ninth Circuit
  • Representation of law firm in the Court of Appeals of New York
  • Argument before the Appellate Division-First Department in New York for law firm client.

Education

Recognitions

“40 & Under Hot List”, Benchmark Litigation, 2018

Selected to Washington, D.C. “Rising Stars” list, Super Lawyers, 2014-2016

Admissions

Government Service

Law Clerk, the Honorable Danny J. Boggs, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2004-2005

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