Williams & Connolly has consistently been recognized as one of the nation’s top commercial litigation firms by leading publications and ranking services, including Chambers, where it has been ranked in Band 1 for over a decade; The Legal 500, where it is one of ten Tier 1 firms nationally; and Benchmark Litigation, where it is likewise Tier 1 and identified as one of the Top 20 Trial Firms in the country, boasting six of the top 100 trial lawyers recognized by the publication. Williams & Connolly’s lawyers handle virtually every form of complex business dispute, from breach of contract actions involving billions of dollars, to clashes over failed mergers and acquisitions or other business combinations, to the defense of major consumer class actions. They represent individuals and corporations in trials and arbitration hearings throughout the United States, in both federal and state courts, as well as abroad. Clients in every industry trust the firm with their most significant cases, many of which involve bet-the-company issues.
Examples of the firm’s commercial litigation experience extend beyond traditional breach of contract actions to real estate and construction disputes, breach of fiduciary duty claims, licensing disputes, business dissolution controversies, civil RICO, unfair competition litigation, employment disputes, including restrictive covenant and non-compete agreements, trade secrets cases, tortious interference claims, financial services litigation, franchise issues, fraud claims, insurance coverage controversies, and internal corporate governance disputes and investigations. There is virtually no substantive area of business litigation that Williams & Connolly has not handled.
Representative Williams & Connolly clients in this area include a virtual “Who’s Who” of corporations from every major industry sector, including leading technology firms like Intel, Google, Dropbox, and Samsung; e-commerce companies like Amazon; pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Medtronic, Genentech, and Cardinal Health; major banking and finance companies like Bank of America, HSBC, The Carlyle Group and Silver Lake; industrial titans like Danaher and W.W. Grainger; firms from the defense industry, like Lockheed Martin, Textron, and Northrup Grumman; and leading media companies like Disney, 21st Century Fox, CNN, and The Washington Post, to name a few.
Williams & Connolly lawyers have been retained to try cases in virtually every state in the Union, from Alaska to Vermont; in federal and state trial courts and appellate courts, including state supreme courts and the U.S. Supreme Court; as well as in courts and tribunals around the world. Examples of major commercial litigation handled by Williams & Connolly include:
- Trial victory in Delaware Court of Chancery on behalf of a global pharmaceutical company in breach of contract action where plaintiffs sought $275 million in milestone payments under a merger agreement.
- Jury trial victory in Kansas on behalf of the leading credit report repair law firm in the United States and its primary vendor in a civil RICO case where plaintiffs alleged the firm’s business amounted to a wide-ranging mail and wire fraud scheme affecting millions of consumers and counterparties.
- Trial victory in Montana on behalf of a leading private equity firm in a decade-long dispute brought by a municipality seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages arising out of the purchase of a privately held water system, in which the city made breach of contract, fraud and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing allegations. Obtained a complete defense verdict and an award of over $4 million in attorney’s fees.
- Appellate victory on behalf of a leading pharmaceutical company before the Delaware Supreme Court in a landmark decision on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that safeguards the stability of contracts governed by Delaware law.
- Dismissal in New York state court for a leading global bank of $500 million breach of contract action arising out of an asset securitization, successfully raising the novel argument that the case was time-barred based on the location of the RMBS trustee. The judgment was affirmed by the New York Court of Appeals.
- Lead trial counsel for a global medical company in a commercial dispute in Delaware state court involving contract and trade secrets claims in excess of $400 million. After the firm secured summary judgment on the trade secrets claims, the jury returned a defense verdict on the remaining contract claims.
- Trial and appellate victories in New York for a leading hospitality and gaming company against plaintiff’s claims it was owed additional shares worth $270 million under a convertible notes instrument, securing a complete defense verdict after a two-week bench trial, as well as affirmance on appeal.
- Lead counsel for a global pharmaceutical company in commercial dispute over a supply agreement, successfully narrowing $300 million dispute originally brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to a few state law claims pending in state court.
- Lead counsel for the subsidiary of a major global bank against claims of fraud and breach of contract in connection with 30 mortgage-backed securitizations where plaintiffs sought over $2 billion in damages.
- Successful representation of an Ivy League university against putative class action claiming breach of contract in connection with the transition to remote and online classes when the Covid-19 pandemic arose in the Spring 2020 semester.
- Represented a major electronics manufacturer in an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration hailed as a model of constructive resolution of a licensing dispute concerning royalties owed to extend the parties’ patent license agreement.
- Lead counsel for two of the world’s largest banks in multi-billion-dollar litigation related to mortgage-backed securities.
- Lead counsel for another large commercial lender in lawsuits brought by bankruptcy trustees that seek to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in loan proceeds paid to the lender by companies that allegedly were engaged in a multi-billion-dollar fraud scheme.
- Summary judgment in California for a public company in a breach of contract action brought by a major automobile manufacturer.
- Lead counsel in a $100 million consumer class action against one of the nation’s largest wireless carriers alleging fraudulent billing practices.
- Verdict for a manufacturing company in New York in a plaintiff side action against a defendant corporation for breach of a commercial lease.
- Reversal in North Carolina of an arbitrator’s certification of a nationwide class against a public company.
- Co-lead counsel on behalf of a national accounting firm in consumer and competitor class actions seeking hundreds of millions of dollars based on alleged misrepresentations relating to the provision of services.
Finalist for "General Litigation Department of the Year," by The American Lawyer, 2023
"General Commercial Litigation (D.C.)," Chambers USA, 2004-2023
Ranked #7 Law Firm for General Commercial Litigation, Vault, 2023
Dispute Resolution: General Commercial Disputes, The Legal 500, 2015-2023
General Commercial Litigation - Tier 1, Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2023
Shortlisted for "Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year," Chambers USA, 2021-2022
Commercial Litigation Practice Ranked in Band 1 by Chambers USA
Bob Van Kirk Named “General Commercial Litigator of the Year”