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Richard H. Willis

Richard H. Willis

Managing Partner

Richard Willis is an accomplished trial lawyer with more than 35 years of experience practicing in the areas of product liability defense, environmental litigation, toxic torts, class actions and commercial litigation. He has acted as lead counsel in trials throughout the Southeast, and has argued appeals in Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits and all state appellate courts in which he is admitted to practice.

Richard has served as lead counsel in catastrophic injury cases and significant business disputes for numerous corporate clients, including those in the communications industry, automotive and tire manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, retail distributors, pulp and paper companies, specialty chemical companies and consumer product manufacturers. Richard's case experiences include a wide variety of automotive and consumer products, involving disputes over the performance of large industrial equipment, Lanham Act and Unfair Trade Practice claims, construction defects, fire cause and origin claims and mass tort chemical exposure. Richard recently defended a medical device manufacturer against allegations of design defect, failure to warn and loss of consortium. He also acts as regional counsel for various manufacturing and corporate clients, directing the supervision and management of their cases.

Outside of the courtroom, Richard holds an adjunct professor position at the University of South Carolina, teaching trial advocacy. He is a regular writer and speaker on trial advocacy and product liability issues.


Bar Admissions

  • South Carolina, 1981
  • Georgia, 1993

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit


  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1981
    —Chief Justice; Moot Court Board
  • University of the South, B.A., 1978
    —Major: English

Professional Associations

    • American College of Trial Lawyers
    • American Board of Trial Advocates
      —Board of Directors, 2017 – 2019
    • Defense Research Institute
      —Trial Tactics Committee 
    • American Bar Association
      —Environment, Energy and Resources Section, Litigation Section
      —Trial and Insurance Practice Section
    • South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association
      —Board of Directors, 2015 – 2019
    • South Carolina Bar
      —Trial and Appellate Advocacy Section
      —Environmental and Natural Resources Section
    • State Bar of Georgia
      —Environmental Litigation Section
    • John Belton O'Neall American Inn of Court
      —Board of Directors, 2017 – 2019
    • International Association of Defense Counsel


    • South Carolina Bar Association
      —Trial and Appellate Advocacy Award, 2015
    • South Carolina Lawyers Weekly
      —"Leadership in Law" Award, 2015
    • Burton Award
      —Excellence in Legal Writing, 2012
    • Super Lawyers Magazine
      —South Carolina Super Lawyers, 2009 – 2019
    • Atlanta Magazine
      —Top Environmental Litigators - Georgia, 2000
    • The Best Lawyers in America
      —Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigation; 1995 – 1997, 2001 – 2003
    • Georgia Defense Lawyers Trial Academy
      —Faculty, 2000 – 2019
    • University of South Carolina School of Law
      —Adjunct Professor, 2003 – 2019
    • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
      —Faculty, 1994 – 2019
    • Who's Who Legal
      —Named in American Law

Recent News, Events and Blogs

Speaking Engagements

  • “Products Liability Update: Comparative Fault, Workers Comp, Sophisticated User,” Presenter, ACC Midyear Meeting, May 2018
  • "Cross Examination, Hollywood Style: What the movies can teach us about effective cross exams," Georgia Defense Lawyers Annual Meeting, Palm Coast, Florida, June 2015
  • "Valukas Report Review - Protecting Your Client While Staying Out of Jail," Association of Corporate Counsel, Greenville, SC, May 2015
  • "Preparing the 30(b)(6) Witness for Deposition: Preventing the Crash and Burn," Association of Corporate Counsel - South Carolina, Colombia, SC, October 23, 2014
  • "The Ethics of Corporate Witness Preparation, and Other Headaches," Association of Corporate Counsel - South Carolina, (with Angela Strickland) Colombia, SC, October 23, 2014
  • "Shakespeare in the Courtroom," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 11, 2013
  • "Comparative Fault in Crashworthiness Cases: A Defense Whose Time Has Come," South Carolina Defense Attorney Association, July 27, 2013


  • "Making it Stick: Drafting Enforceable Arbitration Clauses in South Carolina," Association of Corporate Counsel – South Carolina, FOCUS, Co-Author, March 2017
  • "'It Ain't Necessarily So' - Lessons in jury selection," South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, April 1, 2011
  • "Working on the Chain..." South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, December 20, 2010
  • "The Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination, Revisited," South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, November 2010
  • "Meeting the enemy: 10 tips for interesting direct examinations," (with Angela G. Strickland), South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, July 2010