Paul A. Williams

Williams, PaulPaul focuses his trial practice on complex litigation and trial practice management. Paul partners with clients to create relationships that align client and firm interests to achieve better legal outcomes at an exceptional value. Win-win partnerships with clients that focus on collaboration, innovation, strategic action, and trust get better results and the metrics to prove them. Paul has received national recognition for his innovative use of alternative billing arrangements and strategic litigation management techniques and has extensive experience in commercial and products liability litigation for many types of product manufacturers. Paul is also experienced in counseling clients on product safety and minimizing tort and products liability risk and exposure and advises clients regarding Consumer Product Safety Commission issues and product recalls.

Matters of Note
Since 2004, Paul has managed the firm’s role as Tyco International’s National Counsel of Product Liability Litigation, leading a team of SHB lawyers in a flat-fee partnership with the company. The American Lawyer noted the firm’s representation of Tyco in its feature story on the firm as Winner of the 2012 Product Liability Litigation Department of the Year Award. The ABA Journal also featured the program in an article titled “Facing the Alternative,” which highlighted the trusting relationship that exists between Tyco and SHB and is to credit for much of the success found under the flat fee arrangement. The Association of Corporate Counsel recognized Shook, Hardy & Bacon and Tyco International as inaugural ACC Value Champions for “effectively driving value by cutting spending, improving predictability, and achieving better legal outcomes.” Together, Paul and the company have reduced Tyco’s overall inventory of product liability cases by more than half and its level of new matters filed has been decreased by nearly 60 percent.

Paul’s successes in effectively managing entire dockets of litigation using alternative fee arrangements have resulted in him being tapped as a featured speaker and panelist to discuss litigation management and alternative fee arrangements. Paul has been invited by the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, as well as LexisNexis and the Association of Corporate Counsel, to participate on roundtables to discuss growing demand for alternatives to the billable hour and the use of legal project management to enhance value in legal services. The American Lawyer magazine has recognized Paul’s ability to effectively manage entire dockets of litigation on alternative fees, featuring him as one of its “Alternative Fee Gurus” (January 2010). InsideCounsel magazine has also recognized Paul’s work in this regard, highlighting the “docketwide makeover” that he and Tyco International first performed in 2004 (February 2010). Corporate Counsel magazine has echoed the arrangement as unique, calling the approach one that is “all about efficiency” (November 2009). Paul also leads Shook Hardy & Bacon’s professional development programming for strategic litigation management. Paul passionately teaches client-focused philosophy, provides practical tools and techniques, and mentors colleagues to partner with clients to provide superior value in addition to exceptional legal services.

Paul’s litigation and trial experience extends beyond products liability, tort, negligence, and commercial cases to class actions, environmental/toxic tort, patent infringement, commercial litigation, and medical malpractice cases. He represents clients in commercial disputes as well as wrongful death, personal injury, and subrogation actions for property damage. Paul has extensive experience in cases involving catastrophic accidents, fires, and explosions. Paul has counseled clients on matters in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and regularly represents clients from a variety of industries in cases before federal and state courts across the United States, including the manufacturers of:

  • motor vehicles,
  • recreational vehicles,
  • heavy industrial equipment,
  • aircraft and aviation systems,
  • emergency and rescue safety equipment,
  • steel and plastic products for water, wastewater, and fire sprinkler system applications,
  • valves and actuators for industrial and commercial use,
  • electrical products and components,
  • propane, natural gas, and other combustible fuels,
  • fuel leak detection equipment,
  • oilfield operations and well equipment,
  • chemicals and chemical products,
  • consumer products, and
  • animal health and performance products.

Paul also represents clients from a variety of service industries, including:

  • vehicle fleets,
  • construction,
  • sprinkler system design, installation, maintenance and inspection,
  • fire/burglar alarm system design, installation, maintenance, and inspection, and
  • wholesale and retail supply and service of propane, natural gas, and other combustible fuel systems.

Professional Honors
Paul has been recognized for several years by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business which notes his “great ability to come up with effective ideas and strategies” and his “energetic and aggressive, yet balanced” approach to litigation. He also has been named a future litigation star in the 2010, 2011 and 2013 editions of Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys; and was recently recognized as a 2010 Rising Star by KC Business magazine.

Recent Publications and Media
Paul Williams & Sandra Stigall, 6 Tips For Responding To Notices Of Catastrophic Loss, Law360, Apr. 17, 2012. View

Rachel M. Zahorsky (quoting Paul Williams), Facing the Alternative, ABA Journal, Mar. 2012. View

Paul A. Williams, Charles C. Eblen & Kristina L. Burmeister, Minimizing Tort Liability With The Right Terms, Law360, Feb. 28, 2012. View

Paul Williams, Wouldn't You Rather Be Partners?, Corporate Counsel, June 7, 2010. View

Defense Research Institute
Propane Gas Defense Association
Marian Hope Center

Paul is admitted to practice before the state courts of Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, District of Kansas, and Southern District of Texas.

1995 J.D., University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

1991 B.A., Park College