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06.29.2021 Firm News

Williams Mullen Bolsters Litigation Practice with Two Hires

Veteran Product Liability Litigator Dick Willis and Associate Derek Tarver Join South Carolina Office

Williams Mullen is pleased to announce that it has added two attorneys to its Litigation Section. Richard H. “Dick” Willis has joined the firm as a partner, and Derek D. Tarver has joined the firm as an associate. They will be based in the firm’s Columbia office and will focus on product liability litigation.

Dick Willis has over 40 years of experience representing product manufacturers and business clients in product liability litigation, mass torts, environmental litigation, and various types of commercial litigation. He has tried over 40 jury trials to verdict in eleven states and has argued appeals in the 3rd, 4th and 11th Circuits and before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Dick has served as lead counsel in trials involving a wide variety of products and subjects, including the chemical industry, petroleum companies, automobile manufacturers, manufacturers and retailers of consumer products, drug and medical device companies, building and construction products, and many others. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is the current President of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Derek Tarver focuses his practice on product liability litigation, particularly among clients in the automotive and consumer product industries. Derek earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law, magna cum laude, where he was both a member of the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Wig and Robe. During that time, he also served as the associate editor in chief of the South Carolina Law Review. Derek also served as the Associate Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s committee on automated vehicles (UAOVA), drafting model legislation on the use, registration, and licensing of automated vehicles.

Williams Mullen opened its Columbia office in 2015. In March 2021, the office moved to a larger workspace in the First Citizens Bank Building.

“Our South Carolina office and our firm as a whole continue to see steady growth,” said President and CEO Woody Fowler. “Williams Mullen provides Dick and Derek with an excellent platform to serve their clients. I look forward to what they will accomplish here.”

“Dick’s vast experience in the product liability space is a rare find in the market, and it will benefit our Litigation team and our clients,” said Litigation Section Chair Turner Broughton. "Dick and Derek are both excellent additions to our firm, and we’re very excited to welcome them to Williams Mullen.”

Williams Mullen’s Litigation Section is among the firm’s largest and encompasses 22 litigation practice areas. The section has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation (2021) and Chambers USA (2021).