Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Abigail Williams

Abby Williams is an associate in Porter Wright's Cleveland office. She focuses her practice in commercial litigation matters and has experience practicing tort litigation in both federal and state courts. She further assists with matters of eminent domain and e-discovery.

What made you want to focus in your practice area? 

One of my favorite aspects of litigation is that, at any given moment, you can be tasked with learning everything there is to know about a client’s line of business to determine how to best approach the matter at hand. I have always been an investigative and analytic person who is intrigued by figuring out how and why things work the way that they do. Having a job that requires me to learn about why other businesses or industries function the way that they do, and to determine the potential legal implications of those functions, makes for a very fulfilling profession.

What is the best advice you’ve received about how to be a successful attorney?

My favorite piece of advice I’ve received regarding the successful practice of law came from the chair of our litigation department, Jim Curphey. When discussing business development tactics, he told me to be really great at my job and the work will follow. How simple, but so important and so true in a field where this can often be overlooked.

What advice would you give to women just starting out at a law firm?

Be so grateful to the women who came before us and paved this path. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last year, a clip of an NPR interview with her in 2019 circulated where she discussed whether she had any regrets (spoiler alert: she had none). She recapped her life stating she graduated law school with top grades at a time when women lawyers were not welcome at the bar, so instead of joining a large law firm, she began teaching and dedicated her time outside of work to gender equality. To think there was a time in recent history where intelligent and gifted attorneys were denied positions simply based upon gender is baffling. And then, those same attorneys fought so that women like us have the opportunity and ability to practice in the law firms we do today. How truly humbling and motivating.

Tell us about your favorite thing to do outside of work.

My favorite activity outside of work is doing just about anything with my dog, Wally, including walks, fetch, teaching him new tricks and making him his favorite treat – scrambled eggs. As a person who was personally victimized by the "get a puppy during the pandemic" trend, I have to say that he made out nicely. But it’s mutual as he is just the most wonderful addition to my life!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? 

"That’s Life" by Frank Sinatra.