William M. Connolly

Executive Partner

Overview

An accomplished litigator, William Connolly represents companies and professional services firms in their complex commercial litigation and consumer class actions matters. Bill has achieved successful results for Fortune 500 companies in multiple jurisdictions across the country, including defense of clients facing multijurisdictional attacks involving a combination of class actions, mass actions, individual actions and/or arbitrations.

Clients in the telecommunications, energy, professional services and pharmaceutical industries value Bill’s ability to understand their businesses, passionately convey that understanding to others, strategically manage exposure and reputational issues, effectively resolve matters where possible, and try cases when needed. Bill also serves as an executive partner on the firm’s executive leadership team, where his responsibilities include working with the firm’s business litigation and insurance practices.

Class Action Litigation

Bill advocates for clients’ interests through strategic use of dispositive motions, challenges to class certification and settlement negotiations. He has advised on matters involving classes of hundreds of plaintiffs. An effective collaborator, Bill often works with other attorneys in co-counsel or joint-defense group roles.

Commercial Litigation

With a background in public accounting, Bill defends complex claims involving business valuation and complex economic damages. He represents officers, corporations and shareholders in corporate governance disputes. When litigation crosses borders, Bill helps clients resolve issues through international arbitration, including both defending against and securing multimillion-dollar damages awards.

Professional Background

Bill has served as chair of the firm’s Audit Committee, as a member of its national hiring committee, and as partner in charge of evaluating alternative fee arrangements for litigation matters. He worked as an auditor for the public accounting firm Deloitte before entering William & Mary law school, where he graduated first in his class. Bill joined the firm in 1996 following a two-year judicial clerkship with the Honorable Joseph J. Longobardi, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

Representative Experience

  • Bill has represented Fortune 500 companies in more than 50 class actions in the state and federal courts, achieving successful results through dispositive motions, challenges to class certification, and effective and efficient settlement strategies where warranted.
  • Bill defended a national insurance company in multi-jurisdictional litigation brought arising out of a $250 million Ponzi scheme centered in Los Angeles California. Bill represented his client in a series of putative class actions and individual actions brought by more than 150 plaintiffs in state and federal courts in four states. Bill worked with his client to successfully negotiate potentially significant litigation exposure through a strategy of early dispositive motion victories, targeted and efficient discovery, multiple mediations to implement a common settlement matrix across all claims, and targeted summary judgment and trial strategies for the remaining claims.
  • Bill represented a national professional services fund in a series of malpractice actions filed by a bankruptcy trustee and associate claimants following the collapse of a financial services firm, achieving dismissal of all claims.
  • Bill pursued claims in an international arbitration on behalf of a pharmaceutical industry client against a commercial partner for breach of a commercialization agreement. Bill obtained $10 million damages award, representing the full damages sought by his client.
  • Bill leveraged the Supreme Court’s 2014 decisions in Daimler AG and Walden v Fiore to achieve dismissals for lack of personal jurisdiction on behalf of two different clients in two different state courts.

Personal Interests

Bill lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife, Carol, their two sons, one dog and one very old cat. Much to the amusement of his family, Bill has a somewhat fraught relationship with squirrels.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

New Jersey
Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Education

University of Notre Dame
B.B.A. in Accounting and Philosophy, cum laude (1989)

William & Mary School of Law
J.D. William and Mary Law Review (1994)

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Bar Association

Firm Leadership

  • Executive Partner
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