Our firm has taken a major step for the future today as attorney James
M. Williams joins our firm, which we have rebranded as Chehardy Sherman
Williams. Attorney Inemesit U. O’Boyle has joined Williams as a
partner, as well.
Managing Partner Lawrence E. Chehardy said the firm will focus on its traditional
strengths and dedicate its resources to supporting Williams’ expertise.
“This is a big step for us to become a true regional law firm. The
addition of James Williams cannot be understated. He has an impeccable
record in the areas of personal injury and complex business litigation,
and the firm has the resources to support him in ways that will enable
him to excel even further,” he said.
“Perhaps Jefferson Parish’s best-known firm, Chehardy Sherman’s
record of supporting its attorneys in complex litigation was a big factor
in my joining the firm,” said Williams. “I am excited to merge
my team’s talents, experience and litigation prowess with Chehardy
Sherman’s sterling reputation and their army of highly skilled attorneys.
Together, we will be a formidable force on behalf of our clients who are
involved in high stakes litigation that is too important to leave to chance.
Whether it is a life-changing personal injury or a ‘bet the company’
lawsuit, Chehardy Sherman Williams is perfectly positioned to deliver
victories for our clients in their toughest legal battles.”
With the addition of Williams, the firm will also be able to focus on a
wider geographic region.
“Williams is an outstanding attorney with deep roots and a deep commitment
to New Orleans,” said David R. Sherman, major partner. “He
was born and raised in New Orleans, is a product of Orleans Parish Public
Schools and has been active in the New Orleans community his entire life.
He has served as a judge (pro tempore) in Civil District Court for the
Parish of Orleans, a board member of New Orleans Chamber of Commerce,
vice president of the New Orleans Bar Association and past president of
the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society – a specialty
bar association to which New Orleans’ African American lawyers and
James M. Williams
James Williams is a nationally recognized trial attorney who has litigated
cases in 15 different states. He is one of the “Nation’s Top
One Percent” of attorneys according to the National Association
of Distinguished Counsel. He has been named a “Super lawyer”
by the rating service that recognizes the top 5 percent of lawyers in
each state. He has also been selected to the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers”
by the American Trial Lawyers Association. He is a fellow of the Litigation
Counsel of America, a society to which only one half of one percent (0.5%)
of American lawyers are invited to belong. In addition, Williams has been
certified as one of the “Top Trial Lawyers in America” by
the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Williams has an unprecedented record of success as a personal injury and
business litigator. He has collected more than $150 million for individual
clients (excluding class actions). He also has a litany of jury verdicts
each worth in excess of $1 million, including a jury verdict worth $10
million in West Palm Beach, Florida. Referred to as “rescue counsel”
by some of the top 10 largest companies in the world, Williams is often
hired as trial counsel to be implanted into existing high stakes and problematic
litigation. His litigation success on behalf of businesses caused him
to be one of only seven lawyers inducted into the inaugural class of the
New Orleans CityBusiness magazine “Hall of Fame.” It also earned him a six-year stint
on the board of directors for the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. In
2015, he was the keynote speaker for an annual meeting of the Defense
Research Institute (DRI).
In 2009-2010, Williams took a leave of absence from practicing law to serve
as the judge (pro tempore) presiding over Division “J” of
the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. He was unanimously
appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to fill a vacancy on the court.
Williams was only 35-years old at the time, making him the youngest judge
in the State of Louisiana.
Williams also has a reputation for handling high profile litigation in
a tasteful and effective way. He has repeatedly demonstrated an ability
to achieve legal victories in these cases while strategically working
to preserve positive public perception. In 2012, he was lead counsel for
Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson in a civil rights
lawsuit she filed when the State of Louisiana attempted to block her ascension
to Chief Justice. He argued and won her case before the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and she became the
first African-American Chief Justice in the 200-year history of the Louisiana
Supreme Court. In 2014, Williams represented Dorian Johnson who was with
Michael Brown when he was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson,
Missouri. That same year, he successfully represented then-United States
Senator Mary Landrieu in a challenge to her residency.
Williams’ professional success is matched by his community involvement.
In 2008, he donated $35,000 to the National Bar Association local affiliate
chapter, Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, to commemorate its 50
th anniversary. He is also a past president of the Martinet Society. He funds
the Louise Halper Award, an annual award in the memory of a dear deceased
professor at his alma mater, Washington & Lee University School of
Law. The award recognizes a student who publishes a scholarly article
in the area of civil rights and social justice. Williams also funded an
$80,000 scholarship for a student at “The Good Shepherd School,”
a privately funded New Orleans school for children living below the poverty
line. Williams sponsors a teacher in the “Teach for America”
program in New Orleans. He has also been a little league basketball coach
and a Sunday school teacher. He served as chapter advisor to the Rho Iota
Chapter at Tulane University of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and was
an adjunct professor at Tulane University teaching Legal Aspects of Sports.
Williams received a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University and his
juris doctor degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law. In his third
year at Washington & Lee, he was editor-in-chief of the
Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. As a third year law student, he collaborated with United States Supreme
Court Justice Clarence Thomas on a law journal publication entitled “Civility.”
And as a second year student, he published a journal article analyzing
the United States Supreme Court’s treatment of the federal sentencing
guidelines’ disparity between powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
In his second year, he was also president of the Black Law Students Association.
After law school, Williams served as a law clerk to Louisiana Supreme
Court Justice Bernette J. Johnson.