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WJA 2021: Lauren Williams

“There is no cure for mesothelioma,” says Lauren Williams. “A lot of my clients die. I am very passionate about making sure that they get their say against large corporations.”

williams-laurenWilliams was the first associate and is now the first female partner at SWMW Law, one of the top law firms in the country focusing on asbestos litigation. Her grandfather was a lawyer, but he didn’t live long enough to see her become one.

She leads a team that seeks recovery from companies who manufactured, supplied and distributed asbestos-containing products, but who have petitioned for bankruptcy. Her goal is to maximize recovery from asbestos manufacturers’ bankruptcy trust finds for clients. She also coordinates efforts with co-counsel to investigate and resolve potential liens that may be attached to her clients’ settlements.

In addition, she is routinely called upon to testify during Missouri legislative sessions against proposed legislation that would be detrimental to clients’ interests. She speaks at conferences and seminars on asbestos bankruptcy trusts. She has given lectures to peers and members of the Bar on public and private lienholder resolution to maximize her clients’ settlement recoveries.

One of Williams’ passions is making sure that secondary exposure is recognized as a claim in asbestos cases.

“Secondary exposure claims are often valued less than the direct occupational exposure claims,” she says. “I want everyone to be treated equally regardless of the type of exposure.”

All lawyers face challenging days and challenging issues. What makes a difference for Williams is receiving a note from a client who is sick and dying.

“Hearing that I’ve helped them and their family means a lot to me,” she says. “Knowing that our efforts to make them feel at ease among all of the medical, financial and end-0f-life decisions they’re facing puts everything into perspective for me.”

Williams appreciates the opportunity to be a leader in her firm. Her desire is for her firm to be successful while seeking justice for their clients.

“Building our team at SWMW Law is rewarding for me,” she says. “We create this dedicated team to help our clients every day. I’m helping to steer our path and our practice.”

This year, one of her greatest professional accomplishments is navigating the logistics of managing a team of lawyers and support staff when they can’t all be physically present in the office, while continuing to serve their clients in the best ways possible. She has a new appreciation for the traditional ways of collaboration.

Williams and other members of her firm are involved in several volunteer efforts in the Greater St. Louis community, including Motion for Kids for foster children and Arch City Defenders.

“I am proud to be a member of an inclusive law firm and to work with collaborative partners,” she said. “They have positively impacted the trajectory of my career. I look forward to continuing our work to secure our clients the justice they deserve.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021