Greg Williams
Firm:
Office:
Level 15
1 Bligh Street
2000
City:
Sydney
Country:
Australia
Tel:
+61 2 9353 4798
Fax:
+61 2 8220 6700

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

Greg defends product liability claims and class actions, as well as providing product-related regulatory advice. He has experience in diverse industries, including pharmaceutical and medical devices, financial services, automotives and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). He is currently leading the defence of the Australian diesel emissions class actions. In the regulatory sphere, he advises pharmaceutical and medical device companies on product registration, reimbursement, advertising disputes, interactions with healthcare professionals and product safety and recalls. In addition to his legal qualifications, Greg has a master’s degree in biochemistry.

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

I think it boils down to a love of reading and writing, and a recognition that it was a career that would always present me with new challenges.

How has the nature of class action cases evolved since you began your career?

At the beginning of my career, class actions were still relatively new and controversial. They are now an accepted part of the Australian legal landscape and their use is growing. With that acceptance, I think that the conduct of class actions on the plaintiff’s side has become industrialised. The plaintiff firms specialising in class actions run them according to particular models and have well-established and standardised relationships with satellite industries such as litigation funding. As a result, there are many parties who depend on the conduct of the class actions for their livelihood. It concerns me that in the Australian system, lacking as it does any certification requirement, there is little room for analysis at an early stage about whether the time and expense that will be invested in the class action is likely to result in a useful outcome for claimants and defendants.

What qualities make a successful trial lawyer?

In my experience, the only consistent quality of a successful trial lawyer is that they are part of a great team. The lawyers who do well at trial are those who recognise that a case with any degree of complexity can only be won if full use is made of the combined ability of all the lawyers working on the case.

What are the greatest challenges currently facing lawyers in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sector?

I think the role of a lawyer in that sector (and indeed many others) is becoming more and more complex. A significant driver of that fact is the growth in regulatory scrutiny and, as a result, the increasing importance of compliance. Compliance is a distinct skill set, although it closely aligns with and in some cases overlaps with the legal skill set. Different companies approach this challenge in different ways. Some have separate legal and compliance departments, in others legal is a subset of compliance and in still others the opposite is true. Whatever the model, in-house lawyers need to work out how the legal and compliance functions can work together effectively.

How have advances in technology affected your work since you began practising?

Perhaps the greatest advance is in electronic document management. I began practicing at the very tail end of the era in which physical documents would be manually bate stamped by paralegals as part of the discovery process. Now the entire process is managed online and there are powerful tools available to search sort and analyse documents. Of course, these developments are necessary to keep pace with the huge growth in the volume of data which must be managed in any discovery. This process results in a fundamental change to the way in which a lawyer thinks about documents. I am not sure that our Australian courts have completely come to terms with the impact of this fundamental change for the litigation process.

A related development is the movement of the legal library online. The ready availability of case law in particular online has completely changed the research process.

Finally, email has completely changed the way lawyers interact with their clients (and everyone else), in particular, the way advice is given.

Answering this question has made me feel very old!

How do you envisage the life sciences regulatory space developing over the next five years?

I think the law is becoming more complex (for example, the legislation that governs pharmaceutical pricing in Australia is becoming longer and longer as the government seeks to sustainably manage its budget) and the problems more multifactorial – requiring consideration of an increasing range of both legal and compliance issues.

What is the secret to your success?

See my answer to the third question. I work with many great lawyers who cover for my manifold inadequacies (more seriously, who have diverse but complementary skill sets).

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

It is better to get to the end of the day with one problem solved and four not even started, than with five half-solved problems. Perhaps it could be more simply phrased as, “deal with one thing at a time”.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Life Sciences: Product Liability

Greg is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years’ experience in Australia's premier product liability practice. He has been involved in the defence of product liability claims and class actions involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, financial services and automobiles, and as a result, has significant experience in running large complex matters to a contested hearing. He was a member of the team that defended the Australian Vioxx class action. He is currently leading the team defending the Australian Volkswagen diesel emissions class actions. He is also involved in the defence of Takata Airbag litigation.

In the regulatory sphere, he provides advice to Australian and overseas pharmaceutical and medical device companies on all aspects of the product lifecycle, including due diligence requests, product registration, reimbursement, advertising disputes, interactions with healthcare professionals, and product safety and recalls. He has particular expertise in providing strategic advice to a number of leading pharmaceutical companies in relation to pricing and reimbursement issues, and has assisted a number of clients to navigate difficult and contentious Australian reimbursement applications. He also advises about the risks and compliance issues arising from interactions with healthcare professionals.

In addition to his legal qualifications, Greg has a master’s degree in biochemistry. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute.

WWL says: Greg Williams is credited as being "very comprehensive, articulate and smart on tactics". He "knows the jurisdiction upside-down" and is "very capable on cross-border litigation".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Life Sciences: Regulatory

Greg is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years’ experience in Australia's premier product liability practice. He has been involved in the defence of product liability claims and class actions involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, financial services and automobiles, and as a result, has significant experience in running large complex matters to a contested hearing. He was a member of the team that defended the Australian Vioxx class action. He is currently leading the team defending the Australian Volkswagen diesel emissions class actions. He is also involved in the defence of Takata Airbag litigation.

In the regulatory sphere, he provides advice to Australian and overseas pharmaceutical and medical device companies on all aspects of the product lifecycle, including due diligence requests, product registration, reimbursement, advertising disputes, interactions with healthcare professionals, and product safety and recalls. He has particular expertise in providing strategic advice to a number of leading pharmaceutical companies in relation to pricing and reimbursement issues and has assisted a number of clients to navigate difficult and contentious Australian reimbursement applications. He also advises about the risks and compliance issues arising from interactions with healthcare professionals.

In addition to his legal qualifications, Greg has a master’s degree in biochemistry. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute.

WWL says: Greg Williams is "one of the leading players in the space" according to peers, thanks to his abilities in relation to medical device classification and enforcement actions.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Litigation: Lawyers

Greg is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years’ experience in Australia's premier product liability practice. He has been involved in the defence of product liability claims and class actions involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, financial services and automobiles, and as a result, has significant experience in running large complex matters to a contested hearing. He was a member of the team that defended the Australian Vioxx class action. He is currently leading the team defending the Australian Volkswagen diesel emissions class actions.

In the regulatory sphere, he provides advice to Australian and overseas pharmaceutical and medical device companies on all aspects of the product lifecycle, including product registration, reimbursement, advertising disputes, interactions with healthcare professionals, and product safety and recalls. He has particular expertise in providing strategic advice to a number of leading pharmaceutical companies in relation to pricing and reimbursement issues and has assisted a number of clients to navigate difficult and contentious Australian reimbursement applications. He also advises about the risks and compliance issues arising from interactions with healthcare professionals.

In addition to his legal qualifications, Greg has a master’s degree in biochemistry. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute.

WWL says: Greg Williams wins high praise for his great expertise in product liability litigation and class action disputes.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Litigation which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Product Liability Defence

Greg is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years’ experience in Australia's premier product liability practice. He has been involved in the defence of product liability claims and class actions involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, financial services and automobiles, and as a result, has significant experience in running large complex matters to a contested hearing. He was a member of the team that defended the Australian Vioxx class action. He is currently leading the team defending the Australian Volkswagen diesel emissions class actions. He is also involved in the defence of Takata Airbag litigation.

In the regulatory sphere, he provides advice to Australian and overseas pharmaceutical and medical device companies on all aspects of the product lifecycle, including due diligence requests, product registration, reimbursement, advertising disputes, interactions with healthcare professionals, and product safety and recalls. He has particular expertise in providing strategic advice to a number of leading pharmaceutical companies in relation to pricing and reimbursement issues, and has assisted a number of clients to navigate difficult and contentious Australian reimbursement applications. He also advises about the risks and compliance issues arising from interactions with healthcare professionals.

In addition to his legal qualifications, Greg has a master’s degree in biochemistry. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute.

WWL says: Greg Williams is held in high esteem among sources who applaud his work in major individual and class action cases relating to life sciences products.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence which can be purchased from our Shop.

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