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Education & Honors
  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., with honors, 1973; Board of Editors, Michigan Law Review
  • Duke University, A.B., 1970
  • "AV-Rated" by Martindale-Hubbell®
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  John K. Villa
TEL: 202-434-5117
FAX: 202-434-5029
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Williams & Connolly LLP
725 Twelfth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005


John K. Villa is a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP and long-time member of the firm’s Executive Committee.  Mr. Villa is Co-Chair of the firm’s Financial Services and Banking and Legal Malpractice and Ethics practice groups.  He focuses on corporate, securities and financial services-related litigation (both civil and criminal) and legal malpractice defense.  He has represented a substantial number of the largest law firms in the United States, but does not disclose his clients.  Mr. Villa was named to National Law Journal's list of "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" as "the first lawyer that other attorneys and law firms turn to when caught up in the S&L and banking scandals."  Chambers says “John Villa is the ‘first name to come to mind for financial services litigation matters.’”  The American Lawyer has called him “perhaps the premier [legal] malpractice defense lawyer in the nation.”  The Financial Times writes, “John Villa, of Williams & Connolly in Washington, has a reputation for being the lawyer that law firms turn to when in a spot of bother.”   In its list of "6 Firms to Have on Speed Dial if Malpractice Trouble Hits," Law360 puts Williams & Connolly and John Villa first.  The PLC Global Counsel’s Handbook calls him “an exceptional banking, financial and corporate governance litigator.”  The Washington Post reports “John Villa of . . . Williams & Connolly [is] the lawyer and firm that lawyers and law firms turn to when they’re in trouble,” and describes Villa as “a litigator who has gained national prominence with a somewhat rare specialty: defending top-flight law firms in trouble.”  In 2014, Benchmark Litigation listed Mr. Villa as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in America. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 Chambers identified him in the first tier in the District of Columbia in Litigation: General Commercial and Litigation: Securities, and in the first tier nationally in Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement and Investigations).  In 2009, American Lawyer named him “Litigator in the Spotlight”: “Lawyers’ lawyer, John Villa of Williams & Connolly scored three big wins for law firm clients this spring.”  The following year, naming him “Litigator of the Week” for a favorable Second Circuit decision, American Lawyer writes “John Villa [has] made a career of getting law firms out of big trouble.”  The American Lawyer has described his successful trial victory in In the Matter of USAT (decided September 12, 2001) as “the longest trial arising from the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980’s” – a “trial that stretched over 18 months” and resulted in a decision that “exonerated [his client] on all counts” “a crushing defeat for the federal agency that brought the case.”  He has authored the following treatises: Banking Crimes: Fraud, Money Laundering and Embezzlement (2 vol.) (Thompson), Bank Directors' and Officers' and Lawyers' Civil Liabilities (Wolters Kluwer), and Corporate Counsel Guidelines (2 vol.), (co-published by Thompson and Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)).  Mr. Villa is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School teaching a course entitled "Counseling the Corporation in Crisis".  Mr. Villa was a trial attorney (Honors Program) in the United States Department of Justice and a special assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia.  He was a recipient of the Attorney General's Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Service.  He is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Michigan Law School, where he was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.  Other publications: 70 Mich. L. Rev. 171; 71 Mich. L. Rev. 372; 37 Cath. U. L. Rev. 489.  Mr. Villa's biography appears in Who's Who in Hispanic America.

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Click here to view list of speaking engagements.

  • Corporate Counsel Guidelines, (2 vol. treatise), West and American Corporate Counsel Association (copublishers), 1999
  • Bank Directors', Officers' and Lawyers' Civil Liabilities (treatise), Aspen Law and Business, 1991
  • Banking Crimes, Fraud, Money Laundering and Embezzlement, (2 vol. treatise), West, 1987