William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr
“Juries are just spellbound by Billy Murphy.”
A seasoned trial lawyer of 40 plus years in practice, founder and senior partner of the Baltimore law firm Murphy Falcon Murphy, Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr. aggressively and effectively advocates for clients from all backgrounds and walks of life. An expert litigator, calm and collected, he prides himself on getting to the truth through imaginative leadership and creative team building, battling the powerful to protect the rights of the innocent and under-represented.
Unparalleled at cross-examining witnesses, he commands every twist and turn in the courtroom, out-strategizing and out-working other attorneys time and time again to secure positive verdicts in very challenging cases.
“In court, you only know, at best, 60% of what’s going to happen" he says. "The other 40% is unexpected. You state your theme. Then you improvise and, at the end, restate the theme,”
When only 14 years old he started organizing in his community, helping to shut down an incinerator that was posing a public health crisis in the historically African American community of Cherry Hill, signalling the kind of activist attorney Billy Murphy was destined to become.
Racial segregation and bigotry, experienced as a young man, inspired a lifelong passion to fight for the rights of vulnerable and under-represented communities. Despite the opportunities he shared as a brilliant undergraduate engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the fighting spirit for justice coursing in his blood (His father, William H. Murphy, Sr., was one of the first African American judges to preside in Baltimore, as well as the state of Maryland.) decided him to continue his family’s heritage of legal service and in 1966 he entered the University of Maryland School of Law.
A member of the Law Review he founded the University of Maryland chapter of BLSA (Black Law Students Association) with the aim of setting admissions targets for 20% African American enrolment and 50% female enrolment. The school adopted the admissions targets in 1968.
After graduating he built a thriving practice as a high profile, criminal defence attorney, defending fight promoter Don King and the first amendment rights of a controversial Black Panther Party newspaper. He ran for judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in 1980 holding this role for three years before returning to private practice as a civil litigator and criminal defence lawyer.
Judge Murphy has handled cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, numerous US state and federal courts and in the United Kingdom.
In 2015, Murphy served as attorney for the family of Freddie Grey, who died during an encounter with the Baltimore police and he recently secured the largest single-defendant settlement in Maryland history
winning $185 million dollars against Ernst and Young,. His awards and accolades are too many to list but he received the coveted Clarence Darrow award from MTMP in 2012, the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and the Charles Hamilton Houston Award for Lifetime Achievement in Litigation in 2004.
He is generally considered by his peers to be “extraordinarily gifted” and “one of the best defence attorneys of his time.”