FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Michael  Williams

Michael Williams

Williams Love O’Leary & Powers

Beaverton, OR, USA


Leading trial lawyers from major national law firms and from Canada regularly ask Mike Williams 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 (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)  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. Mike's firm has specialized even further in Daubert issues on mass pharmaceutical torts, playing a major role in the the Ephedra MDL in New York, where Mike's partner Leslie O'Leary was lead plaintiffs' counsel on the Daubert hearings in February and March 2005.  Mike and Leslie were asked by the PSC to provide special Daubert counsel in the Fosomax jaw necrosis litigation in 2009. Mike also participated in all of the many Daubert challenges to plaintiff experts in the Hormone Therapy MDL in Little Rock over the past seven years.

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 Survey of Class Action Law (as an annual supplement to West Group's multi-volume treatise, Newberg on Class Actions (April 2003, 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 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 (1999-2002past chair OSB Federal Practice & Procedure Committee (2003); past-President OTLA ; past-chair OSB Procedure & Practice Committee; past-member OSB Civil Jury Instruction Committee;; and he is a supporting character in Dispensing With the Truth: the Battle Over Fen-Phen, authored by Alicia Mundy (St. Martin's Press, May 2001).  Mike has published one peer-reviewed paper in the scientific literature: R. Clapp and ML Williams , Regarding "phenylpropanolamine and hemorrhagic stroke in the hemorrhagic stroke project", 16, Vol. 1, Ann Epidemiol, 49-52 (Jan 2006).

 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. 

 In March 2009, Mike received the Henry H. Hewitt Access to Justice Award from the Oregon Campaign for Equal Justice, which annually is awarded in recognition of strong leadership, consistent effort, commitment to the ideal of equal justice under the law, and substantial contribution to legal aid for low-income Oregonians.

  Mike's law firm has recently endowed Portland's Lewis & Clark Law School's Women in the Law Distinguished Speaker Series. Due to this endowment the program will continue in perpetuity. Mike has had a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating for more than ten years, and is recognized in Best Lawyers.  His firm was named one of the top 25 plaintiff mass tort firms in the country by US News and World Report beginning in 2010.

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