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William J. Murphy

Partner
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

murphy_william_1547_4x5William J. Murphy was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) in 2002. A decade later, he was selected to chair the group’s Maryland State Committee for two years. For the next four years, he served on the Board of Regents representing Maryland and the District of Columbia.

“In that role, I was influential in presenting other candidates from this region for Fellowship of the College, the nation’s preeminent organization of outstanding trial lawyers,” he said.

In 2020, Murphy was named the ACTL’s National Secretary and is currently a member of the college’s Executive Committee.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University, Murphy received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Upon finishing two clerkships, he was an associate with Williams & Connolly and later became a partner at Murphy & McDaniel.

For 20 years, he was a member at Murphy & Shaffer LLC before taking on his current role as partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in 2011.

A litigation attorney with a 40-year career, Murphy has played an integral role in important legal cases while advocating for justice for his clients and helping to shape the practice of law. Some of his representations include helping Guantanamo Bay detainees such as a Yemeni physician detained for close to eight years.

He also served as the co-lead defense for prominent Washington attorney Gregory Craig who was accused of lying to federal prosecutors regarding his law firm’s work on behalf of the government of Ukraine. After a jury trial and only five hours of deliberation, Craig was acquitted.

Murphy’s principal community service activity has been working with the nonprofit, CollegeBound Foundation, which helps Baltimore City Public Schools students pursue higher educational degrees through grants, scholarships and college completion initiatives.

Murphy has served on CollegeBound’s Executive Committee for the Lawyers Campaign since 2011.

How do you believe legal professionals can make an impact on social justice?

I think lawyers are in as good a position as anybody to help make an impact on social justice. Both through the representation of clients sometimes through their work with organizations to which they volunteer their services, through their ability to have impact on the legislature here in Maryland … through the organized bar, which, you know, often takes a position on legal issues that are important to the achievement of social justice.

“In that role, I was influential in presenting other candidates from this region for Fellowship of the College, the nation’s preeminent organization of outstanding trial lawyers.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's 2021 Leadership in Law awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.