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R. Nelson Williams


St. Louis
314 552 6505 314 552 6505 direct

Nelson represents employers in various aspects of employment law and litigation. His work for clients covers several industries, including telecommunications, software development, banking, and agriculture.

Nelson has developed a special focus on defending class and conditional certification actions under the FLSA. In multiple jurisdictions, he has handled class litigation for both large and small companies. His work has resulted in the dismissal of class claims as well as the denial and decertification of wage and hour class and collective actions, including claims filed in California courts. In 2013, Nelson contributed to a major victory for a global computer software company when it obtained decertification of a collective action under the FLSA, and concurrently defeated the plaintiffs' motion for Rule 23 class certification.

He has successfully represented employers in matters involving the ADEA, ADA, FMLA, and Title VII. In each matter, Nelson takes an aggressive but thoughtful approach to employment litigation. He enjoys researching the specific needs of a client and developing a tailored litigation strategy that aligns with a client's goals and helps them achieve the best possible outcome.

Nelson has also helped employers defeat union wrongful discharge grievances in arbitration. His experience includes defending clients in arbitrations across the country, including claims brought by long-term employees.

As a member of Thompson Coburn's Diversity Committee and other diversity initiatives, Nelson actively promotes diversity in the legal and business community, and frequently mentors diverse law students.

Santiago v. Amdocs, Inc., 2013 WL 5444324 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2013)

Obtained decertification of FLSA class and denial of Rule 23 certification.

Rowe v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Assoc. (C.D. Ill. 2013)

Obtained summary judgment in FMLA and ADA matter.

Bedwell v. Amdocs, Inc., 2014 WL 3670550 (N.D. Cal. July 23, 2014)

Severed claims of prior opt-ins from Santiago who jointly filed a new lawsuit after the collective action in Santiago was decertified.


Defending Class Actions

Navigating HR Issues during the COVID-19 Emergency

Overtime Law 2016 – Expanded New Rule: What It Means for You

Thompson Coburn Publications

Lawyering in color: The ethics of diversity and inclusion


Quoted, "Looming SCOTUS Ruling May Have Chilling Effect on Big Law Diversity Efforts,"
Law.com, May 11, 2023


"FLSA Freefall: An In-Depth Look at the Latest in Wage & Hour Law";
Thompson Coburn HR Seminar, March 2015

"Scouting Report: Employment Trends and Issues";
Thompson Coburn HR Seminar, March 2014

"Back Off: Bullying in the Workplace";
TCLE Webinar, November 2013


Thompson Coburn team offers key insights on critical issues at General Counsel Conference Midwest

Nelson Williams selected for 2022-2023 Class of Leadership St. Louis

2020 Eagleton Scholarship awarded to Yasmin Younis

Nelson Williams elected Co-Chair of Forward Through Ferguson

2019 Eagleton Scholarship awarded to Sydney Latimore

Congratulations to the new Thompson Coburn partners for 2019

Nelson Williams joins the board of Forward Through Ferguson

Two Thompson Coburn associates named to National Black Lawyers 40 Under 40 list

Nelson Williams named one of Business Journal’s 30 Under 30

Two Thompson Coburn associates listed on Lawyers of Color’s inaugural ‘Hot List’

Student interns explore legal careers at TC-hosted institute