Donna M. Williams

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Donna Williams is an associate in the Firm’s Chicago office. She has contributed to Baker McKenzie's International Arbitration Newsletter, co-authored a chapter in the Firm's International Arbitration Yearbook, and spoken at various seminars. Her pro bono work includes the submission of a US Supreme Court amicus brief and federal circuit court of appeals briefs on behalf of students with disabilities and their families, and a Wisconsin state court appeal on behalf of a nationally-recognized university criminal justice project.

Practice Focus

Donna focuses her practice on compliance and investigations, international arbitration, and white-collar criminal and general commercial litigation. Her practice frequently involves international litigation or arbitration involving large exposures or proceedings in multiple countries, investigations of alleged corruption, including bribery and money laundering; counseling regarding litigation risks and exposure, and appeals. Her class action experience includes securities, antitrust, RICO and consumer fraud claims.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Obtained a dismissal of action filed by a US plaintiff in SD Florida against a Hong Kong corporation.
  • Represented a parent indicted for neglect and obtained unfounding and expungement of neglect record.
  • Counseled US-based multinational firms in connection with internal investigations into allegations of foreign corrupt practices.
  • Defended a German corporation against a Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower proceeding involving allegations of corporate fraud and criminal conduct.
  • Counseled and represented a US foreign exchange firm against a Dominican Republic-based bank and its executives in a fraud and money laundering matter.
  • Counseled and represented a US-based biopharmaceutical company in a fraud and commercial disparagement case.
  • Defended a Chinese automaker in a dispute over a proposed joint venture to distribute PRC-manufactured automobiles in the US, and successfully moved the matter to a Detroit federal court to compel arbitration.
  • Represented a private university in federal attachment proceedings arising from judgment entered against terrorist group concerning rare Iranian antiquities.
  • Represented multinational corporations in transnational disputes and international arbitration involving long-term supply contracts, jet engine design and development, uranium mining, and the construction of alternative fuels facilities.
  • Conducted class-action defense work, including multiple national class actions involving allegations of fraud, unfair trade practices, RICO, breach of fiduciary duty, and various other state and federal statutory causes of action.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel - Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association - Member
  • Appellate Lawyer Association - Member
  • Defense Research Institute - Member
  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Chicago Surety Claims Association - Member


  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit~United States (2017)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois~United States (1990)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit~United States (1990)
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois~United States (1990)
  • Illinois~United States (1990)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit~United States (1990)


  • Northwestern University School of Law (JD) (1990)
  • Northwestern University (BA) (1987)


  • English


Co-author, Baker McKenzie International Arbitration Yearbook, United States Chapter, 2013-2014


Co-presenter, "Challenging Personal Jurisdiction," NALGE presentation, March 2017

Co-presenter, "A Sea Change in Summary Judgment Procedure," NALGE presentation, November 2013