2023 Bill Murphy headshot 8 x 10
William J. Murphy
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

William J. (“Bill”) Murphy is the 74th President of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a Baltimore-based partner with Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, which he joined in 2011. Prior to joining Zuckerman, Bill was a named partner for many years in two small litigation boutiques located in Baltimore. Bill moved to Baltimore after three years as an associate with Williams & Connolly, where he was fortunate to work with the late Edward Bennett Williams on the last matter that EBW tried before he passed away. Throughout his subsequent career Bill has handled criminal matters and civil litigation of all sorts in state and federal courts, as well as many appeals. For much of his career Bill has represented law firms – large and small – in the defense of legal malpractice claims and he has represented lawyers in professional responsibility matters and in a few criminal prosecutions. 

Over the course of the last 25 years Bill has been named in Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation, “bet the company” litigation, appellate practice, white collar criminal defense, ethics and professional liability law, and legal malpractice defense. During that same period he has been listed by Chambers USA as one of Maryland’s leading lawyers for business litigation. In 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia presented its Daniel M. Gribbon Award for Pro Bono Advocacy to Bill and a partner for their representation of a Yemeni physician detained at Guantanamo for seven years before Bill and his partner secured his release. Bill took on that pro bono matter following a call for volunteers issued by the ACTL. 

Bill graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1975, and then attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating magna cum laude in 1978. He had clerkships with two outstanding jurists – Collins J. Seitz, then the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Associate Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Bill has always deemed himself fortunate to have had such outstanding mentors, including Edward Bennett Williams, at the start of his professional career.