William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr.

Senior & Founding Partner

Practice Area(s): Birth Injury,Carbon Monoxide Poisoning,Criminal Defense,Internet Privacy,Medical Malpractice,Personal Injury,Products Liability,Unnecessary Stents

Biography

Battle-Tested Trial Lawyer in Baltimore

As the firm's founder and senior partner, Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr. stands on a respected legacy of legal counsel. He has been a Baltimore trial attorney for decades, aggressively and effectively handling a broad range of ongoing cases.

With a 90% success rate in state court cases, Judge Murphy knows how to navigate complex legal matters. He also holds a 40% success rate in federal cases, which is four times higher than the national average (9%). His 40+ years of practice in and out of the courtroom have equipped Judge Murphy to advocate for clients from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Boasting a reputation as an expert litigator with a calm, calculated approach, Judge Murphy prides himself on getting to the truth. When you ask those who know him well to describe the man who leads a majority of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy’s toughest cases, you’ll hear the words “imaginative,” “leader,” “calm,” and “team builder.”

When you need a composed, precise, and effective litigation lawyer in your corner, turn to Judge Murphy.

Legal Approach

Judge Murphy is most energized when battling the powerful to protect the rights of the innocent and under-represented. He is legendary among trial lawyers for his creative, systematic approach. He commands every situation in the court, out-strategizing and out-working other attorneys time and time again. Cross-examining witnesses is a strong suit for Judge Murphy, and has led to many courtroom victories for his clients.

“In court, you only know, at best, 60% of what’s going to happen. The other 40% is unexpected. You state your theme. Then you improvise and, at the end, restate the theme,” he says.

His mastery of the las has helped Judge Murphy secure positive results for the individuals and corporations he has represented throughout the last several decades.

Career Highlights

One of Judge Murphy’s most notable victories became a legendary case in sports history, attracting attention throughout the country.

Judge Murphy was representing boxing promoter Don King, who faced wire fraud charges brought on by a UK-based bank for allegedly fraudulently claiming $350,000 of refunds from a canceled boxing match. Judge Murphy aggressively defended his client, utilizing his extensive knowledge of the case and relentless cross-examination of Mr. King’s former accountant to get all nine counts dismissed.

Another notable victory involved Murphy, Falcon & Murphy’s representation of numerous homeowners in a case against Constellation Energy. The firm secured a $54 million settlement in 2008 for homeowners whose drinking wells contaminated by coal ash.

Juries are just spellbound by Billy Murphy.” - Judge Howard Chasanow, formerly of the Court of Appeals of Maryland

Judge Murphy and the firm also represented 23 plaintiffs in a case involving carbon monoxide poisoning at an Inner Harbor restaurant in Baltimore. The individuals were awarded $34.33 million in compensation for the damages associated with their permanent injuries.

Early Years

Judge Murphy was 14 when he first started organizing in his community. In 1950s Baltimore, an incinerator in the historically African American community of Cherry Hill was posing a public health crisis in the neighborhood. Residents’ calls for action were routinely dismissed by the prevailing city powers, but thanks to young Judge Murphy’s restless organizing, the incinerator closed less than a year after he became involved. This incident speaks volumes about the kind of attorney Mr. Murphy was to become.

A fighting spirit for justice is 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. The elder Murphy was a staunch civil rights supporter and a test case for integration at the University of Maryland Law School.

“Even as the son of a judge, segregation was an up-close-and-personal thing for me,” says Judge Murphy. The injustices that he experienced as a young man were formative, inspiring him to undertake a lifelong fight for the rights of under-represented communities.

After a pioneering career as an undergraduate engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, later, at a leading aerospace company, Judge Murphy decided to continue his family’s heritage of service through the legal profession back home in Baltimore. In 1966, he entered the University of Maryland School of Law.

At the University of Maryland, he was a member of the Law Review and founded the University of Maryland chapter of BLSA (Black Law Students Association) with the aim of setting admissions targets for 20% African American enrollment and 50% female enrollment. The school adopted the admissions targets in 1968.

After 10 years of building a thriving practice as a superstar attorney, he ran for judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in 1980. He successfully held this role for three years before deciding to return to his true passion as an attorney in 1983. Judge Murphy has been perfecting his craft in litigation ever since.

In 2004, Judge Murphy received the Charles Hamilton Houston Award for Lifetime Achievement in Litigation. The Baltimore Sun has profiled him as one of the top five lawyers in the state and wrote that he is recognized by his peers as “extraordinarily gifted” and “one of the best defense attorneys of his time.”

Awards
  • Clarence Darrow Award, Mass Torts Made Perfect Conference, 2012
  • AV Preeminent® rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for 20+ years
  • 100 Top Trial Lawyers in the U.S., American Trial Lawyers Association, 2011
  • Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Award, Urban League of Greater Baltimore, 2010
  • Legal Elite Readers’ Poll, Top Baltimore Lawyer, Baltimore Smart CEO, 2010
  • Circle of Excellence, Merchant Circle, 2010
  • Top Attorney in Maryland, Baltimore Magazine Super Lawyers, 2009, 2010
  • Trailblazer Award, Minority Business Summit, 2009
  • Influential Marylander, The Daily Record, 2008
  • Lifetime Award, Black CEO Summit Trailblazer Award, 2007
  • Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
  • Lifetime Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2002
  • Top Ten Criminal Lawyers in Maryland, Baltimore Magazine, 1996
  • Charles Hamilton Houston Award for Lifetime Achievement in Litigation, 2004
  • Board of Governors, Maryland Trial Lawyers Association
  • 25 Smartest People in Baltimore, Baltimore Magazine

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