“Johnny is going to be a lawyer,” his mother used to tell people. “She always admired attorneys and I think she planted an early seed in my head,” John Eddie Williams, Jr. Managing Partner for Williams Hart Hart Boundas Law Firm, LLP recalls. “My father and grandfather were union longshoremen so I was raised in a strong union household. For our summer vacations we would go down to Miami for the yearly Longshoremen Conference and my mom would tell all the union people of her aspirations of me becoming an attorney.”
Even with that seed planted, John Eddie considered the corporate world for a while as he graduated cum laude from Baylor University with a business degree. But soon went back to what he knew was his passion, the law. He graduated first in his class at the Baylor School of Law and served as editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review. “The legal system got me fired up. I clerked at some of the larger corporate firms in town, and everyone there knew I would “switch sides” even when I hadn’t decided yet. To think that I could be an advocate for people and help them in situations where the law may be their only recourse was plenty of motivation for me. I find it the most rewarding.”
John Eddie is passionate about the law and helping the proverbial “little guy.” “I truly enjoy what I do, bringing huge wrong doers to justice and helping clients, especially in those ‘Gorilla-type’ cases.” And a gorilla of a case was exactly what he got when he represented the State of Texas against the tobacco industry in 1995. “Big Tobacco had a tremendous record in the courts winning 800 cases in a row! We were in a true David versus Goliath scenario, but the group worked extremely hard and knew what we were doing was the right thing to do. It was a complex case, the most complex. We had papers piled floor to ceiling, but we fought hard and we won.” That victory in that landmark case resulted in the largest settlement in United States history.
Hard work and tenacity are attributes that helped John Eddie achieve success not only in the tobacco trial, but also in life and these qualities are ones he impresses on the attorneys and staff of Williams Hart. “We have an outstanding track record of success here. We have the resources and experience to handle the largest, most complex cases. Clients can be assured that we do not back down in the face of adversity. The tougher and bigger the opposition, the better for our firm; we get completely fired up for a good legal battle. Those are the type of employees we have assembled here, ones that are going to fight hard for our clients. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
John Eddie doesn’t forget his roots as the son and grandson of union longshoremen, though. He remains a strong advocate of workers and organized labor, representing members and their cases at every opportunity. “Workers are the backbone of our country and we work hard to help them in anyway we can.”
An experienced pilot, flying is another of John Eddie’s passions. “I love to travel, and I can actually fly us where ever we want to go, that is a big plus.” John Eddie and his flying companion, his wife Sheridan, enjoy flying all over the world in his aircraft. They also enjoy going to the ranch where he hunts and rides his mules.
While they have a shared passion for travel, he and Sheridan also feel strongly about helping the community they both live and in which they were born. They are involved in many charities throughout the area, donating both their time and money. One charity that they enjoy giving to each year is the Houston Chronicle’s Goodfellows Fund which provides new toys for needy children ages 2 to 10 during the holiday season. In fact, they have donated the largest individual gift in local toy drive’s 97-year history two years in a row. “Sheridan and I believe in giving back and hope we can inspire others to give what they can. Whether it is time or money we all have a responsibility to make our communities better.”
When talking to John Eddie, you get his sense of concern and compassion for others and it is evident in his advice to all his clients. “We want to help you the very best we can. Work with us, keep us informed of your situation and always listen to your medical professionals. We care about you not just as our client, but also as a member of the Williams Hart family.”