Jay Williams is partner of Schiff Hardin LLP. Although a seasoned litigator whose practice is nationwide in scope, Jay considers litigation a means to solving a business problem, not an end in itself.
He knows the best strategy for most clients is to avoid litigation and counsels accordingly about their most cost-effective options. Where litigation is unavoidable, his clients rely on him to resolve cases quickly.
During his 30-year career Jay has represented numerous individual and business clients – both plaintiffs and defendants – in civil litigation and white-collar criminal matters at the trial and appellate court levels.
He has experience in all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration and has appeared before local, state and federal courts and agencies across the country, including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Jay understands the different mindsets associated with prosecuting versus defending a case, and zealously advocates for clients regardless of which side of the table they sit on. His clients benefit from his unique background, which couples the street smarts, work ethic and tenacity of a former interstate truck driver with the intelligence, creativity and fast thinking of a classically educated doctor of philosophy.
When dealing with clients, Jay’s priorities are to provide lightning-quick responsiveness and identify at the outset what a “win” means from a practical business perspective. He also works with clients to find alternative billing arrangements.
This approach has proved successful for Jay on some of Schiff Hardin’s most complex and unorthodox cases. While his opponents are often mired in the minutiae that high stakes litigation can involve, Jay is able to simplify and quickly get to the heart of the matter, providing his clients with cost-effective and favorable results.
- Through his pro bono representation of an inmate wrongly convicted by a jury of murder, Jay obtained a complete reversal of the conviction in the appellate court. He won again in the Supreme Court, and then literally broke his client out of Stateville Correctional Center by serving an order of release on the warden.
- When his client was defrauded by a diamond merchant, Jay sued the merchant in federal court and won a judgment for multiples of the amounts stolen. When the merchant sought refuge in the bankruptcy courts of a friendlier state, Jay tried and won the fraud case before the bankruptcy court, ensuring that the debt against his client would never be discharged.
- Jay represented a wealthy elderly woman fleeced by an accountant and financial adviser in a life insurance scheme, suing the responsible parties, exposing the scheme and winning a very favorable settlement for his client.
- When a client was sued for fraud and misrepresentation in connection with an investment, Jay quickly secured a dismissal of the case – with no payment of any damages by his client – within weeks after deposing the plaintiff and exposing the fatal flaws in the case.
- University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1987
- Stony Brook University – State University of New York, M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy, 1984
- Northwestern University, B.A., 1980
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
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