Home > Case Studies > Reconnecting with Alumni Felicia Williams, Sr. Counsel, Litigation, Uber Technologies, Inc.

Reconnecting with Alumni Felicia Williams, Sr. Counsel, Litigation, Uber Technologies, Inc.

Felicia Williams and Booker Shaw presenting the Eagleton Scholarship to Katherine Murchison
Felicia Williams and Booker Shaw presenting the Eagleton Scholarship to Katherine Murchison

Thompson Coburn (TC): When were you at Thompson Coburn and with which group did you practice?

Felicia Williams (FW): I had an interesting path at Thompson Coburn. When I was a first-year law student in St. Louis, my roommate - a law student at a neighboring university - told me that the firm was launching a scholarship program for diverse candidates in honor of Senator Thomas Eagleton, who passed away in 2007. The first year it was offered, I applied and was fortunate to be chosen. The firm and Barbara Eagleton, Senator Eagleton’s wife, were looking to honor the Senator’s deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Receiving this scholarship was an honor. I spent two summers in the program and then joined the firm as a full-time associate after graduating from law school. I practiced with the firm from January 2011 through October 2020 in the Business Litigation group, with a secondary focus in sweepstakes, marketing, and promotional counseling for retail and restaurant industry clients.

TC: What skill did you pick up (or refine) while at Thompson Coburn and why is it important today?

FW: One of the best skills I picked up during my time at Thompson Coburn is how to be a good counselor to a client. This has been very important to my current role at Uber. As litigators, we tend to focus on putting out fires and fiercely ‘fighting the fight’ against our adversaries. But through my work with the firm, I learned the important skill of truly counseling clients and providing impactful business-driven advice beyond the scope of litigation. I learned to think broadly about a client’s businesses, products, and needs, while factoring this information into litigation strategies. 

Additionally, I often represented pharmaceutical companies while at Thompson Coburn. Well, let’s just say that sometimes these organizations are not always ‘well-loved’, and people would question my representation. In my opinion, these organizations are important. They employ millions of people and provide medications for those whose lives rely on the companies’ ability to do business. And at the end of the day, our democracy is based on the premise that everyone deserves fair legal representation.

TC: Is there anyone from your time at Thompson Coburn who was a mentor to you (informally or formally)? If so, how did they positively impact your career approach?

FW:  I would be completely remiss if I did not mention my amazing mentor, retired Judge and firm partner Booker T. Shaw. He is a talented litigation partner who impacted my career from my very first day as an associate. In fact, I was very lucky that he retired from the bench and joined the firm around the same time I did. I became his right-hand associate, learning so much from him. Most specifically, that he is not only an incredible legal advocate, but a tremendous person. He is a masterclass… proving you can be full of grace and authentic in advocacy while being wholly effective. We are still in touch today and I am so grateful for his mentorship over the course of my career.

TC:  Tell me about your current role? 

FW: I joined Uber’s litigation team in August 2021. I handle pretty much everything that is not related to insurance, safety, or employment. Our team, the Litigation, Competition and Regulatory Team, has over 50 people across many roles. Cases stemming from allegations related to accessibility and discrimination on our Rides platform routinely land on my desk. Recently, I helped the company win a TRO and lawsuit against the City of New York related to an arbitrary and capricious driver rate hike, saving the company over $20 million per month for the lifetime of the injunction.

TC: How did you get into your current position?

FW: I originally left the partnership at Thompson Coburn in October 2020 - in part to escape the snowy Missouri winters! I began working in South Florida, at the U.S. headquarters of a Montreal-based cannabis, consumer packaged goods. I joined a three-person legal team and dove headfirst into the life of a startup corporation. I was excited to leave the cold weather behind while expanding my role as litigation and counselor. Alas, it turned out not to be the right fit, but it gave me invaluable experience that led to my role at Uber. 

TC: How did your time at Thompson Coburn prepare you for your current work?

FW: I place great importance on mentoring young lawyers and law students. I always share with them that I see great value in joining a large firm right out of law school. A firm like Thompson Coburn gives a young attorney access to fantastic mentors, opportunities to work alongside seasoned lawyers, and the chance to take advantage of sophisticated resources for learning. The intangibles are huge for young lawyers as they develop their skills.

My experience at Thompson Coburn directly prepared me for my current work in all the ways I mention. Thompson Coburn attorneys are so good at what they do, and I always found them ready and willing to collaborate and offer legal strategies long after I asked any initial questions. The opportunities to work on complex, high-profile cases provided me with so much knowledge and practical experience that has led to my current success. I have deep gratitude for my time with Thompson Coburn.

TC: Do you have a favorite hobby outside of your professional life?

FW: I love consuming true crime stories - through reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching documentaries! I just love to read and really like the genre. I think it’s because I was a psychology major as an undergraduate student, I always wanted to be a lawyer, and these stories get you thinking about what makes someone commit crimes, who else may be capable of these behaviors, and how to solve the mysteries. Lately, I am particularly engrossed in reading about wrongful convictions and people who are exonerated. The redemption stories are fascinating.

TC: What advice would you give to younger attorneys?

FW:  My advice to young lawyers is to be a sponge and be ready to learn. Over the course of your career, you will run into lots of personalities and lawyers who do things in different ways. Always watch and listen, picking up positive attributes from everyone you meet. But, at the same time, stay true to yourself and apply your personality, style, skills, and strengths to the things you learn. Our profession deeply needs diversity, and by bringing your authentic self to the table, you will contribute to filling that need.