Barbara Ann Williams Deputy General Counsel

Barbara advises the firm on professional conduct and risk management matters. She helps develop firm policies and procedures that foster compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, applicable laws, and regulations in every jurisdiction where McGuireWoods has an office, as well as client requirements. She writes a weekly on-line post addressing recent developments in the practice of law, professional conduct, and firm practices, and frequently speaks on professional responsibility and wellness issues.

Her interest in professional conduct, risk management, and wellness issues stems from her service as bar counsel for the Virginia State Bar. For eight years, she led the bar’s efforts to protect the public from lawyers engaged in professional misconduct or impaired by addiction or other disorders that adversely affected their ability to practice law. In addition to prosecuting lawyer misconduct and impairment cases, she supervised intake counsel, ethics counsel, investigators, prosecutors, and support staff in two offices; and advocated for significant changes in the rules governing the lawyer disciplinary process, which the Supreme Court of Virginia adopted.

Barbara joined McGuireWoods after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to her appointment as bar counsel, Barbara had a civil litigation practice that included product liability actions, particularly ones involving medical devices; commercial disputes; and defending professional malpractice claims.


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

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

Works closely with accounting, business services, 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.

  • Agnes Scott College, BA, with High Honors
  • University of Rochester, MA
  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD

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, 2005-2006, Subcommittee on Judicial Functions, Supreme Court of Virginia Commission on Virginia Courts in the 21st Century

Member, American Bar Association and Center for Professional Responsibility

Member, Virginia Bar Association

  • Speaker, "Ethical Considerations for the Bankruptcy Lawyer," Virginia State Bar Bankruptcy Section, February 2018
  • 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, "Conflict? How Can I Have a Conflict?," Virginia State Bar CLE Showcase Presentation, June 2012
  • Panel Member, "The Aging of the Virginia State Bar and What It Means to You," Lawyers Helping Lawyers, June 2012
  • 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

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

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