Edward Bennett Williams
— August 13
) was a legendary Washington, D.C. trial attorney who founded the law firm
of Williams & Connolly
and owned several professional sports teams. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut
and studied law at Georgetown University
Career in law
He represented many high profile clients, including Frank Sinatra
, financier Robert Vesco
publisher Hugh Hefner
, spy Igor Melekh
, Jimmy Hoffa
, organized crime figure Frank Costello
, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy
, corporate raider Victor Posner
, Michael Milken
, the Washington Post
newspaper and the Reverend Sun Myung Moon
Williams, who was a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University Law Center, successfully defended – among others – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Jimmy Hoffa, John Connally and, as one his last clients, Michael Milken.
Two of Williams' closest friends were the Washington Post's Art Buchwald and Ben Bradlee. His debating team partner at Holy Cross was Robert Maheu, Howard Hughes's right hand man for many years.
Before establishing Williams & Connolly in 1967 with his friend and student Paul Connolly, he worked at the prominent, D.C.-based law firm of Hogan & Hartson from 1945 to 1949.
In 1983, his two professional teams, the Baltimore Orioles
and the Washington Redskins
, both won their respective championships. He owned the Orioles from 1980 to 1988. When he bought the Orioles, many feared he would move the team to Washington D.C.
, and these fears increased with the departure of the Colts. However, Williams never moved the team, and under his ownership, the team signed a new long term lease with Baltimore that would pay for a new stadium, which would become Oriole Park at Camden Yards
. He would not live to see the new ball park.
Real Estate investments
Among Williams' many real estate holdings was the Jefferson Hotel, a 98 room luxury hotel located near the White House
and favored by many sport and political figures in the 1980s/1990s.
After an 11-year battle, Williams succumbed to cancer at age 68. His funeral was attended by most of Washington's power elite, including then-Vice President George H. W. Bush
. He is buried in St. Gabriel Cemetery in Potomac, Maryland.
The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library
at Georgetown University Law Center
is named in his honor.
A residence hall at the College of the Holy Cross is also named in his honor.
Edward Bennett Williams married Dorothy Guider in 1949. They had three children: Joseph, Ellen, and Bennett. Guider died in 1959. In June 1960, Williams married Agnes Neill and had four children: Edward, Dana, Anthony, and Kimberly. Agnes Neill Williams worked as an attorney for the Williams & Connolly law firm. She now lives in Potomac, Maryland
and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy