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William A. Liess

William A. Liess is an associate in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the Philadelphia office. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and white collar matters, with focus on shareholder litigation, securities litigation, contract disputes and government investigations. He has also represented and advised clients in government contract and national security matters.

Mr. Liess served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for a major airline prior to becoming an attorney, logging more than 4,500 flying hours and dozens of combat and combat support missions. He currently commands a squadron in the New Jersey Air National Guard with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The following matters are representative of Mr. Liess’ practice:

  • defending former directors of environmental engineering company in state and federal shareholder actions alleging fiduciary breaches and securities law violations relating to financing and merger transactions
  • representing public health care company in SEC investigation of alleged violations of securities law
  • defending major health care analytics company and related parties in lawsuit alleging breach of contract and torts relating to failed merger discussions
  • defense of pharmaceutical developer in shareholder class action alleging violations of securities law
  • secured pre-discovery arbitration judgment in favor of a subsidiary of a Fortune Global 500 client in dispute over a teaming agreement
  • secured voluntary dismissal of vicarious tort liability suit against a subsidiary of a Fortune Global 500 client in pre-discovery mediation
  • internal investigation of company in health care industry regarding potential violations of HIPAA and other federal law
  • internal investigation of Chinese subsidiary of U.S. corporation into allegations of potential bribery
  • secured decision by DOJ not to intervene in whistleblower lawsuit against a top five defense contractor after investigating False Claims Act (FCA) allegations
  • representation of subsidiary of a Fortune Global 500 client before the DOJ in investigation of alleged false claims in multibillion dollar service contract
  • representation of a Fortune 100 company in DOJ investigation of alleged violations of federal law in marketing practices
  • representation of aircraft manufacturer in contract dispute regarding alleged design defects
  • prosecution and defense in bid protest actions before the Government Accounting Office on behalf of several government contractor clients
  • counseled aircraft manufacturer, cloud-based business, major software company and a Fortune Global 100 conglomerate on national security issues
  • represented a Fortune Global 500 foreign defense firm before the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, paving way for $5.2 billion acquisition of U.S. defense electronics firm.
Mr. Liess maintains an active pro bono practice, including the following matters:
  • co-founder of a firm group providing legal assistance to veterans with claims for Veterans Administration compensation and other benefits
  • representation of two death row inmates in post-conviction actions, including preparation of a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • trial to jury verdict of a federal civil rights action in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • representation of an organization championing rights of the mentally disabled, including preparation of amicus briefs before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • represented defendant charged with armed robbery and attempted murder in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Mr. Liess is an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, instructing in trial advocacy. He joined Pepper after clerking for the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and after serving as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Liess received his J.D. from Rutgers with highest honors in 2007. He was editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Law Journal and received several awards, including the M. Donald Kepner award for excellence in the study of federal jurisdiction and the First Congressional District award for excellence in scholarly writing. Mr. Liess received a Masters in aeronautical science, with distinction, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1997, and a Bachelor of Science, with honors and distinction, from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1991.

Mr. Liess is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and New Jersey and before the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania, District of New Jersey and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

B.S. 1991, with honors and distinction, United States Air Force Academy
M.A.S. 1997, with distinction, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
J.D. 2007, with highest honors, Rutgers University School of Law; editor-in-chief, Rutgers Law Journal

9/08-10/09 Law Clerk to Hon. Marjorie O. Rendell, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Philadelphia, PA)

Bar Admissions
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia

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