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Williams, Mr. Michael L.

May 26, 2010

Michael Williams is a partner with Williams Love O’Leary & Powers PC in Portland, Oregon. 

Leading trial lawyers from major national law firms and from Canada regularly ask Mike to work with them on cases involving hundreds of injured people. He has handled many large Daubert hearings in federal courts where large numbers of cases are at stake.

Mike graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978. He received his Masters in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wabash College.

Mike was admitted to the Oregon State Bar and the U.S. District Court of Oregon in 1978, to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979, to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in 1980, and to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983. In 2002, Mike was admitted to the Washington State Bar.

Mike began his legal career working for Art Johnson’s firm in Eugene, Oregon, a highly respected plaintiffs’ law firm. The first client he represented was a woman injured by a Dalkon Shield IUD. Ultimately, Mike tried nine Dalkon Shield cases to verdict in federal court in 1984.

In 1986, Mike moved to Portland and established what is now Williams Love O’Leary & Powers. Mike has been actively involved in many medical device and pharmaceutical mass torts, often trying the “first in the country” cases. He tried a Neo Mull Soy infant formula case in 1986, then proceeded to settle all eight of his cases. Mike filed the first L-tryptophan case in the country, and in 1991, he tried the nation’s first three L-tryptophan cases, receiving more than $2.2 million in verdicts, and then settling all the rest of his 80 cases.

In 1987, Mike Williams tried the country’s third breast implant case in federal court in Tacoma, Washington, and won a plaintiffs’ verdict. The firm eventually represented over 800 breast implant clients.

In April 1997, Mike filed the first Fen-Phen (diet pill) case in the country and prepared dozens of others for trial, even starting trial in Jefferson County Mississippi before settling hundreds of Fen-Phen cases that night. The firm represented over 200 clients injured by Fen-Phen in Oregon and in Washington, and worked with attorneys in other states to represent over 2,000 clients.

In 2003, he was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the PPA Ischemic Stroke Daubert hearing in the MDL court in Seattle, where he won the right to go to a jury trial for as many as 1,000 ischemic stroke victims.

Beyond his experience as a leading litigator, Mike is also an accomplished author and editor. He co-authored the chapter on Parties in the Tort Litigation treatise published by AAJ, the Oregon Class Action chapter of the ABA’s survey of state class action laws, and the “Products Liability,” “Ultra-hazardous Activities,” and “Spontaneous Declarations” chapters for Oregon State Bar Continuing Legal Education, among others. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the Oregon State Bar Litigation Journal, the newsletter of the Litigation Section of the Oregon State Bar, a job he kept for ten years (1980-90).

Mike is a past president of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. He and his firm have had the highest rating for competence and ethics by Martindale Hubbell (a.v. rating) since 1988. He is currently a member of the American Association for Justice (President’s Club Member), Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Washington Trial Lawyers Association, Multnomah County Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association.

Mike also served as chair, Oregon State Bar Federal Practice and Procedure Committee (1999-2002); and member, Executive Committee, AAJ Litigation Group on PPA (where he is also a court appointed member of the MDL Plaintiffs Management Committee).

Since 2001, he has served as co-chair of the AAJ Litigation Croup on Vaccines. In addition, Mike is also a frequent speaker at the invitation of the American Association for Justice, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Oregon Law Institute, Oregon State Bar, and Mealey’s.

Mike also has been active in his community, including having served as member and chair of the Eugene School Board. He has also contributed generously to charitable and political groups that help the poor and protect our civil justice system.

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