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William Billy Murphy Jr.


Attorney William H. Murphy, Jr in his office lobby. MF-D 5/29/02.William “Billy” Murphy isn’t afraid of the spotlight. He’s represented his share of famous clients, including boxing promoter Don King, Mary J. Blige and even Microsoft. Locally, he often is at the forefront of many of the region’s big cases.

He negotiated a $6.4 million settlement between Baltimore and the family of Freddie Gray following Gray’s death while in police custody in April 2015.

“It is so important that we be strong, fearless advocates for our clients,” Murphy said in 2017 when he was recognized at the Icon Honors by The Daily Record. “It’s amazing how many problems people have, and these problems are often more difficult than they can handle alone. Helping people is very rewarding.”

Murphy was elected to the Circuit Court in Baltimore City in 1980, but returned to private practice in 1983. He said he believes in protecting the underrepre-sented and is known for his tough and effective cross-examinations.

“In court, you only know, at best, 60 percent of what’s going to happen,” he said in 2017. “The other 40 percent is unexpected.”

His father was one of the first Black judges in Baltimore and a staunch civil rights supporter. Murphy decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and entered the University of Maryland School of Law in 1966. He helped found the Black Law Students Association and pushed for admission standards for Blacks and women that were adopted by the school in 1968.

This profile is part of The Daily Record's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. See the full list at or in our digital edition.