Law Firm Defense

Known as the “go-to” firm for lawyers and law firms facing every conceivable type of malpractice allegation, Williams & Connolly has defended law firms, their partners, and their insurers for more than 40 years.  During this time, nearly half of the Am Law 100 firms have trusted us to defend them in professional liability matters.

The Washington Post has reported that Williams & Connolly is the firm “that lawyers and law firms turn to when they’re in trouble.”  Law360 has identified our firm as one of the select few firms to “Have on Speed Dial if Malpractice Trouble Hits.”

The firm’s experience defending lawyers, law firms, and their insurers includes almost every conceivable type of case, including allegations of malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of banking laws, fraud, and discrimination laws.  In fact, many of our law firm defense matters have resulted in opinions establishing the standards of care for lawyers and law firms.

Our work for law firms and lawyers has included trials, appeals, arbitrations, disciplinary proceedings, and Congressional hearings.  We have represented law firms and lawyers in criminal investigations and SEC investigations; we have represented law firms confronting the controversies that may arise when partners depart one firm to join another; we also provide counsel on legal ethics and law firm governance.

We are committed to working with clients and their insurers to staff matters leanly with confidence, knowing that experienced lawyers bring productivity and efficiency to matters.  

We have specific depth and relevant experience for intellectual property malpractice matters – particularly those involving patents.  A number of our attorneys defend legal malpractice claims, and also have active intellectual property practices, making them uniquely positioned to handle legal malpractice claims arising from intellectual property matters. 

Similarly, several of our attorneys have considerable criminal defense and legal malpractice defense experience, making us especially adept at navigating criminal investigations and parallel proceedings on behalf of lawyers and law firms.

The firm established its Law Firm Defense practice in the 1980s, often representing law firms that represented insolvent saving and loans.  Today, more than 25 Williams & Connolly partners devote a substantial portion of their practice to litigating legal malpractice cases and related law firm defense work.

Our work includes representation of law firms in the following areas:

  • Alleged negligence in drafting transactional documents
  • Alleged negligent litigation advice
  • Alleged errors at trial
  • Alleged negligence in the patent prosecution process, including missed filing deadlines
  • Alleged negligent tax advice
  • Alleged overbilling
  • Fee disgorgement claims
  • Fee disputes
  • Alleged conflicts of interest, including disqualification motions and actual lawsuits
  • Criminal investigations
  • Alleged securities fraud
  • Alleged contributions to a client’s insolvency, including banks and other financial institutions
  • Disputes with departing partners
  • Disciplinary proceedings for law firms and individual lawyers

Members of our Law Firm Defense practice are active in related bar and professional organizations, with several holding leadership positions. They regularly publish materials on cutting-edge legal ethics issues.  Some examples include the following:

Leadership positions

  • Virginia Supreme Court, faculty member for professionalism for new lawyers, Rob Cary
  • Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law for the District of Columbia Courts, Chair, Charles Davant
  • D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee, member, Charles Davant
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Rules Committee, member, Kevin Hodges
  • TriBar Opinion Committee, member, Craig Singer



John Villa Presents at General Counsel, Compliance and Risk Forum

John Villa Presents at General Counsel, Compliance and Risk Forum

Craig Singer Elected to D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee

Craig Singer Elected to D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee

Williams & Connolly Named Among Law360’s Trials Groups of the Year

Williams & Connolly Named Among Law360’s Trials Groups of the Year
back to top