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 O'Leary LLC. 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 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.
- Washington, 2002
- U.S. District Court District of Oregon, 1978
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1980
- U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1979
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1983
- Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 1978
- Honors: magna cum laude
- University of California, Berkeley
- Honors: Philosophy
- Wabash College
- Major: Philosophy
- Chapter on Parties in the Tort Litigation Treatise, (Co-Author), AAJ
- Oregon Class Action Chapter of the ABA's Survey of State Class Action Laws, (Co-Author)
- "Products Liability", (Co-Author)
- "Ultra-hazardous Activities", (Co-Author)
- "Spontaneous Declarations", (Co-Author)
- Oregon State Bar Litigation Journal, the Newsletter of the Litigation Section of the Oregon State Bar, Editor-in-Chief
- "Seeing is Believing: Technology in the Courtroom," Portland, Oregon, Federal Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education, May 12, 2004
- Conference Co-Chair, "Mature Litigation Updates from the Leaders: Thimerosal Update", Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices Conference for Plaintiff Attorneys, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 22, 2004 - March 23, 2004
- "Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is This a Viable Mass Tort?", American Association for Justice, Trial of the Pharmaceutical Cases Seminar, Dallas, Texas, 2004
- Evidence: Basics to Cutting Edge, "Scientific Evidence Issues in Litigation: Where Oregon Law Applies", Oregon State Bar Seminar, Portland, Oregon, February 26, 2004
- Conference Co-Sponsor and Moderator, "Overview of the Litigation: Perspective from an Experienced Mass Tort Lawyer", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar II for Plaintiffs' Lawyers Only, Orlando, Florida, February 2, 2004
- "Proving Causation in PPA Cases", Mealey's PPA Litigation Conference, Houston, Texas, January 13, 2004
- Conference Co-Chair, -"Epidemiology & Daubert "Case Study In Re: Phenylpropanolamine [PPA] Products Liability Litigation", Mealey's Daubert Conference, Pasadena, California, November 18, 2003
- "Lessons Learned from the Daubert Battles in Toxic Torts", Oregon Law Institute Seminar on Oregon Evidence Law, Portland, Oregon, November 14, 2003
- E-Evidence: Discovery and Using Electronic Evidence at Summary Judgment and Trial, "Seeing is Believing: Technology in the Courtroom", Federal Bar Association Conference, Portland, Oregon, September 12, 2003
- Past President's Rapid Fire, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Sunriver, Oregon, August 3, 2003
- Conference Co-Sponsor and Moderator, "Overview of the Litigation: Perspective from an Experienced Mass Tort Lawyer", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar I for Plaintiffs' Lawyers only, San Francisco, California, August 3, 2003
- Conference Co-Sponsor and Moderator, "PPH Cases: How Good Are They? How Many Are There? Is This A Different Disease From The Old Days? What Impact Will PTO 2867 Have?", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar I for Plaintiffs' Lawyers only, San Francisco, California, August 3, 2003
- Conference Co-Sponsor and Moderator, "Strategies for Survival: Practical Tips From Experienced Mass Tort Guys", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar I for Plaintiffs' Lawyers only, San Francisco, California, August 3, 2003
- Moderator of Litigation Strategy Workshop, "When to File? Where to File? How to Skin the Cat", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar I for Plaintiffs' Lawyers only, San Francisco, California, August 3, 2003
- Conference Co-Sponsor and Moderator, -"Critique of Opening Statement. Q & A. What Can We Do To Make It Better? How Firmly Are Our Hands Tied? How Bad Is It?", Williams/Petroff PPH/Fen-Phen Conference Seminar I for Plaintiffs' Lawyers only, San Francisco, California, August 3, 2003
- "Professionalism Workshop," - "Technology in the Courtroom", Federal Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, October 23, 2002
- "Proving Liability and Punitive Damages in your PPA Case", PPA MDL Plaintiffs' Steering and Discovery Committees, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2002 - October 18, 2002
- "OVERVIEW of Pre-Yale Scientific Literature with Focus on Notice and Laser Decision", PPA MDL Plaintiffs' Steering and Discovery Committees, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2002
- "PANEL DISCUSSION - Daubert Challenges in the MDL", PPA MDL Plaintiffs' Steering and Discovery Committees, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 17, 2002
- "Mass Torts Meets Mass Media", "Hormone Replacement Therapy", Lawyer's Marketing Roundtable, Atlanta, Georgia, August 24, 2002
- "I Need a New Drug: A Drug-by-Drug Update, Mass Tort Review", "Thimerosal", AAJ Convention, Section on Toxic, Environmental, and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP), Atlanta, Georgia, August 22, 2002
- "Mercury from Childhood Vaccines: The Thimerosal Litigation", AAJ Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Litigation: Emerging Drugs & Devices and Litigation Updates - [Beth Bernard] , Chicago, Illinois, September 1, 2002
- "Vaccine Litigation", Mealey's Thimerosal In Vaccines: A Litigation Update Teleconference, May 13, 2002
- "Ninth Circuit Cases: Calculation of a Reasonable Attorney Fee in Common Fund Cases", Oregon State Bar Federal Court Conference - Federal Practice Seminar, Portland, Oregon, May 10, 2002
- "The Introduction of Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony in Federal and State Court- Part One", Mealey's Mass Torts: Rezulin, Propulsid, Scientific Evidence & Expert Testimony, Phoenix, Arizona, April 22, 2002 - April 23, 2002
- Guest Lecturer, Scientific Proof Course, "Admissibility of Scientific Evidence in Oregon Courts", Willamette University School of Law, Salem, Oregon, April 3, 2002
- -"Thimerosal Litigation Part II: Litigating Your Case" and "Challenges For the Future: Skeptics Face Enthusiasts - A Panel Discussion", Co-Chair, Mealey's Vaccine Litigation Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 18, 2002
- "Seeking Justice for Consumers: Class Actions", OTLA Brown Bag Lunch Seminar, Northwestern College of Law at Lewis & Clark Portland, Oregon, January 29, 2002
- Co-Chair, Mealey's Conference On Baycol Litigation, San Diego, California, January 14, 2002 - January 15, 2002
- "The New Thimerosal Controversy", Mealey's Emerging Drug Litigation In Drugs & Medical Devices Conference, West Palm Beach, California, December 3, 2001
- "What Ongoing Studies Do We Know About? What Studies Need to be Done?" and "How Can One Prove a Case with the Evidence We Have so Far?", AAJ Vaccine Litigation Group Strategic Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 15, 2001
- Keeping the Mass Tort Defendant in the State Court of Your Choice, Louisiana State Bar Association, New Orleans, Louisana, October 26, 2001
- The Relevant Medical Literature, PPA/Ephedra Litigation Conference, San Diego, California, April 16, 2001 - April 17, 2001
- "Civil Actions by Injured Workers Against Third", Oregon State Bar, Workers Comp Section, Salishan, Oregon, June 1, 2001
- "Scientific Evidence and Experts: The Divergence of State and Federal Law", Montana Trial Lawyers Association, Helena, Montana, April 20, 2001
- "The Ethics and Practice of Referring Cases and Doing Deals", Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Portland, Oregon, April 10, 2001
- Program Co-chair, Mealey's Mass Torts: Scientific Evidence & Causation, Boston, Massachusetts, April 5, 2001 - April 6, 2001
- "Daubert Issues", Mealey's Rezulin Litigation Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, April 2, 2001 - April 3, 2001
- "The Medical Literature: The Foreseeability of the PPA Recall Based on the Open Medical Literature", Mealey's PPA & Ephedra Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 12, 2001 - March 13, 2001
- "Identifying a Good Case", AAJ Midwinter Convention; Propulsid Litigation Group, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 13, 2001
- "Liability Issues Part 1: The Medical Literature", Mealey's Propulsid Litigation Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 22, 2001 - January 23, 2001
- "Getting Rid of the Gap on Pain & Suffering: The Oregon Success Story Parties and Employers", Kansas Trial Lawyers Association Annual Meeting, December 1, 2000 - December 2, 2000
- Expert Evidence, Portland/OLI/Lewis & Clark College, November 17, 2000
- Cutting Edge Science Update, Fen-Phen Trial and Settlement Strategies, November 13, 2000
- Jurisdictional Issues in Rezulin Litigation, Rezulin Litigation Conference, October 24, 2000
- A Review of the Medical Literature and What the Adverse Event Statistics Reveal: A Chronology, American Association for Justice National College of Advocacy: Propulsid and Rezulin: Medical and Legal Update Conference, October 21, 2000
Honors and Awards
- Highest Rating for Competence and Ethics by Martindale Hubbell (A.V. Rating), 1988 - Present
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Past President
- American Association for Justice, Member
- American Association for Justice, President's Club Member
- Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Member
- Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Member
- Washington Trial Lawyers Association, Member
- Multnomah County Bar Association, Member
- Federal Bar Association, Member
- Oregon State Bar, Chair, Federal Practice and Procedure Committee, 1999 - 2002
- AAJ Litigation Group on PPA, Member, Executive Committee
- AAJ Litigation Group on PPA, Court Appointed Member, MDL Plaintiffs Management Committee
- AAJ Litigation Group on Vaccines, Co-Chair, 2001 - Present
- Eugene School Board, Member/Chair
Past Employment Positions
- Art Johnson's Firm in Eugene, Oregon
- PPA Ischemic Stroke Daubert, Lead Counsel