Barbara Ann Williams

Deputy General Counsel

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  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD
  • University of Rochester, MA
  • Agnes Scott College, BA, with High Honors
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • Supreme Court of Virginia

President, 2012-2015; Immediate Past President, 2015-2017; Member, Board of Directors (2006-2012); Emeritus Board Member 2017 to present; Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers

Member, Board of Directors, 2013-2017; Member, Strategic Planning Committee (2014-2015); Finance Committee (2012-2013), Judicial Administration Committee (2009-2012); Richmond Bar Association

Member, Board of Directors (2010-2013); Fellows Committee (2007-2013); Virginia Law Foundation Member, Subcommittee on Judicial Functions, Supreme Court of Virginia Commission on Virginia Courts in the 21st Century, 2005 -2006

Member, American Bar Association and Center for Professional Responsibility

Member, Virginia Bar Association

Barbara rejoined McGuireWoods in January 2006 as deputy general counsel.  She provides internal advice about professional conduct, risk management, and compliance matters, and oversees the firm-wide process and procedures used to identify and address conflicts of interest and new business intake issues. She writes a weekly best practice tip addressing recent developments affecting the practice of law and lawyers’ professional duties. 

Before returning to the private practice of law, Barbara served as bar counsel for the Virginia State Bar for eight years. In that capacity, she oversaw the bar’s regulation of the professional conduct of lawyers licensed in Virginia. In addition to supervising a 40-member staff of prosecutors, investigators, and support personnel in two offices, she prosecuted lawyer discipline matters and was   the Virginia State Bar’s spokesperson on lawyer discipline.

Prior to her appointment as bar counsel, Barbara had a diverse civil litigation practice focusing on commercial disputes, professional malpractice, product liability, insurance defense, and coverage matters. Her clients included privately and publicly held business entities, financial institutions, professional service providers, insurers, and individuals.

Barbara’s involvement with Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers first as bar counsel and later as a volunteer has led to an abiding interest in helping lawyers and other members of the legal profession struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.  She has served as a faculty member for the Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law. While earning her law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law, she was named a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow. She received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Rochester, where she was a Rush Rhees Scholar and a University Fellow. As an undergraduate at Agnes Scott College, Barbara was honored as a Charles H. Dana Scholar and won the Southern Literary Festival Essay Contest.

Barbara Ann Williams
T: +1 804 775 4311F: +1 804 225 5408Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

Counsels firm lawyers and staff on professional conduct, risk management, and compliance issues.

Oversees the firm-wide conflicts clearing and new business intake process and procedures.   

Monitors firm litigation and coordinates responses to third-party subpoenas and file transfer requests.

Works closely with accounting, human resources, information technology, and marketing on matter specific and firm-wide issues.

Helps develop firm policies and procedures promoting compliance with professional rules of conduct, applicable laws, client requirements, and firm standards.

Recipient, North Star Award, Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers

Recipient, Virginia State Bar Council Resolution Recognizing Service to the Public and the Bar

Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Recipient, Woman of Achievement Award, Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association

Author, "The Duty to Care," Virginia Lawyer, October 2016
Author, "Lawyers Helping Lawyers Matters," Virginia Lawyer, April 2014
Panel Member, "Hiding in Plain Sight: How Your Law Firm Can Identify and Help Impaired Attorneys," Virginia Bar Association, January 2016
Speaker, "Ethical Considerations for Lawyers Serving on Nonprofit Boards," McGuireWoods CLE Presentation, January 2015
Panel Member, "Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Lawyer Discipline," Albemarle County Bar, September 2014
Panel Member, "The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary System," Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Conference, July 2014
Speaker, "How Not to Commit Legal Malpractice with Technology," McGuireWoods CLE Presentation, June 2013
Speaker, "Ethical Issues in Outside Counsel Guidelines: What Every General Counsel Needs to Know," Women General Counsel Roundtable, May 2013
Panel Member, "Ethics for the Bar Leader," Virginia State Bar Leaders Institute, March 2013
Moderator, "Venus and Mars: Gender Differences in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Matters," Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association, March 2013
Panel Member, "The Aging Attorney: Options and Duties," Henrico County Bar Association, February 2013
Panel Member, "The Aging of the Virginia State Bar and What It Means to You," Lawyers Helping Lawyers, June 2012
Panel Member, "Conflict? How Can I Have a Conflict?," Virginia State Bar CLE Showcase Presentation, June 2012