of American Lawyer‘s “45 Under 45.”
More recently, Williams led the defense of a major Los Angeles law firm accused of professional negligence. The three-week trial, which Williams calls one of his “most rewarding,” ended in an acquittal. Not bad for a self-proclaimed jock who decided to study law after landing a spot on the debate team.
Williams grew up in Los Angeles but left sunny California for provincial New England to attend Yale University, where he was a starting guard on the Yale varsity basketball team.
A former assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California, Williams doesn’t take his practice or what he considers his duty to the community lightly. He’s proud of his work with the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, where he serves on the board of trustees. “My father was one of the doctors who helped found this medical school in the ’60s. I want to carry on that tradition of involvement.” — Courtney Charity Joe R. Caldwell
Career Highlights: Before ascending to private practice, Caldwell served as deputy attorney general for the state of New Jersey and legal counsel to former Washington, D.C., Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. Caldwell is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and earned his J.D. at Rutgers University.
Power Play: Caldwell served as independent counsel on the Kenneth Starr’s investigation of President Clinton and represented a Tyson Chicken executive accused of providing illegal gratuities to former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.
Eric H. Holder Jr.
Covington & Burling
Career Highlights: The first African American to serve as deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice (the No. 2 spot in that department) under President Clinton. The Columbia Law school graduate also served under President Bush as acting attorney general. Holder began Lawyers for One America, designed to increase pro bono work done by the nation’s attorneys. He currently handles complex civil and criminal cases and counsels on domestic and international matters.
Power Play: While he was with the attorney general’s office, Holder drafted guidelines for indicting corporations which are still being used by the Bush administration.
James E. Johnson
Morrison & Foerster
New York, NY
Career Highlights: The Harvard College and Harvard Law School graduate previously served as under secretary of enforcement at the Treasury Department. Aside from his white-collar defense practice, he is co-counsel on efforts to overturn a Florida law that prevents felons from voting after they’re released from prison. Johnson conducts internal investigations for private companies and other organizations.
Power Play: Johnson represented former Enron and Tyco employees in investigations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York District Attorney’s Office.
Hogan & Hartson
New York, NY
Career Highlights: The Harvard Law School graduate and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York specializes in white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance issues. During her tenure as U.S. attorney, she was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, serving as co-chair of the White Collar Crime Subcommittee. Lynch has been a frequent instructor