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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

Catherine A. Williams

Catherine A. Williams



  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Complex Commercial Actions
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Consumer Products

WSG Practice Industries


WSG Leadership

Employment and Labor Group
WSG Coronavirus Task Force Group

Catherine Williams is a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation department, where she represents clients in complex commercial and employment litigation and investigations. Her clients range from not-for-profit organizations, colleges and universities, publishers, and professional associations to medical device manufacturers, financial institutions and consumer products companies.

Ms. Williams has substantial experience defending clients in class action litigations. In her employment practice, she has represented clients in wage and hour class actions asserting a variety of claims under state and federal law. She also defended a putative ERISA class action alleging failure to pay benefits due to nationwide class of employees under severance pay plan. Ms. Williams also defends commercial class actions. In one recent matter, she defended an educational publishing company in a putative class action filed by authors concerning payments of royalties. She has also represented consumer products companies in false advertising class actions brought by competitors and consumers.

In her employment law practice, Ms. Williams advises corporate and not-for-profit clients on a wide range of issues including internal investigations relating to sexual harassment claims and whistleblower, discrimination and retaliation complaints; employment policies and agreements; non-compete agreements; and wage and hour law compliance. She assists clients in negotiating employment and transition agreements for high level executives, and advises both in-house counsel and human resources personnel on risk management concerns surrounding employee terminations.

When clients are faced with litigation relating to employment, Ms. Williams has been successful in defending employers against claims for breach of employment agreements as well as discrimination and retaliation charges under city, state and federal law, including those relating to whistleblower and FCPA claims. She has also represented universities in litigation regarding wrongful termination claims by faculty members and the use of restricted endowment funds for faculty, and advises universities with respect to Title IX compliance and investigations.

As a commercial litigator, Ms. Williams has represented monoline insurers asserting contract and fraud claims relating to mortgage-backed securities transactions. On behalf of a medical device manufacturer, she obtained preliminary injunction in a false advertising and trademark infringement action, which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.

Ms. Williams shares in the Firm’s commitment to pro bono service, and is currently representing a class of children in foster care with developmental disabilities in a suit alleging that government agencies have failed to provide required services and have left the children in unduly restrictive placements. The class certification decision was affirmed by the New York Court of Appeals, and litigation is ongoing. City of New York v. Maul, 14 N.Y.3d 499 (2010). She also serves as a Board Member for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Ms. Williams served as a Law Clerk to the Hon. Paul G. Gardephe of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals, Second Circuit; Ninth Circuit; Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York
  • New York


  • Yale Law School (J.D., 2003)
    • Yale Law Journal
  • Williams College (B.A., summa cum laude, 2000)
Areas of Practice

Alternative Dispute Resolution | Class Action Litigation | Complex Commercial Actions | Consumer Products | Employment Law | Employment Litigation, Workplace Investigations, and Compliance | False Claims Act and Whistleblower Defense | Family Offices | Financial Services | Founders & Entrepreneurs | Life Sciences / Health Care | Litigation | Securities and Derivatives Litigation | Securities Litigation | Structured Finance Litigation

Professional Career

Professional Activities and Experience

MEMBERSHIPS: Board Member, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

HONORS: Listed as a “Labor & Employment Star” in Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC’s Benchmark: America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys


New York Lifts Most Statewide COVID-19 Restrictions
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, June 2021

New York State Lifts Restrictions. On June 7, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that the State would lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions when 70% of adult New Yorkers had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On June 15, 2021, Governor Cuomo held a press conference to announce that New York had reached the 70% first-dose threshold...

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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, February 2021

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently updated its Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination, seeking to clarify how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) protects individuals from religious discrimination in the workplace. The enforcement guidance also discusses the legal protections available to religious employers, which have been bolstered in recent years...

The EEOC Issues Clarifying Guidance about COVID-19 Vaccines in the Workplace
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, December 2020

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its COVID-19 guidance to address workplace issues related to COVID-19 vaccines, including mandatory vaccination policies. According to the EEOC, employers may mandate vaccines, but must attempt to accommodate employees who refuse vaccination because of disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance...


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