(August 30, 1946 to November 14, 2022)
RICHARD WILLIAMS was born on August 30, 1946, in Hollywood, California. He passed away quietly at his home in Newport Beach, California, on November 14, 2022, after a years-long battle with cancer. RICK'S mother, Joanne Dessert Williams, was an aspiring and busy young actress in Hollywood in the 1940s, and his father, Al Williams, was a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times in those early years. RICK was a fourth-generation descendant of the Victor Dessert family of Spokane, Washington.
The Dessert family was a founding family in Spokane, dating back to the 1880s when Victor Sr. arrived in the United States from Alsace-Lorraine in France. Victor Sr. was a blacksmith who relocated to Spokane. Over two generations, Victor and later his son Victor Dessert, Jr. developed a substantial business of real estate activity, and owned and operated the well-known network of Dessert Hotels in Spokane and throughout the Inland Empire. Many residents to this very day still remember the landmark Dessert Oasis restaurant in the Dessert Hotel located in downtown Spokane.
The young Williams family relocated back from California to Spokane in 1948 to reunite with the Dessert family and to run the family hotel business. Spokane was flourishing in those days, and RICK grew up in his early days in the Victor Dessert, Jr. home on Rockwood Boulevard. That house and grounds have been beautifully restored as a historical preservation site with the house and expansive gardens visible from the street below. The 1940s and 1950s – such a wonderful high-water mark in the life of our country!
RICK WILLIAMS attended Lewis & Clark High School (Class of 1965) and Washington State University, where he received his BA degree Beta Gamma Sigma in Business Finance in 1969.
After graduation from Washington State, RICK was hired by Shell Oil Corporation as an analyst in their corporate finance group in Los Angeles. From there, he attended law school at UCLA, where he was a member of the UCLA Law Review. RICK WILLIAMS began his 50-year legal career as a world-class trial lawyer in Southern California in 1973, working with several of the premier law firms in the country. He was a grinder who was always on the job for his many clients. RICK finished his career as a founding partner of the law firm WILLIAMS WOLLITZ HAKAKIAN PC, working actively right up to the date of his death. His law firm is his professional legacy.
RICK was a dynamic political freedom activist as part and parcel of his vibrant law practice. He was a supporter of numerous freedom-oriented candidates for office over the years, and he carried out his own campaign for the United States Senate in California, finishing fourth in a field of 26 candidates. RICK received nearly two hundred thousand votes in his campaign throughout the State of California.
RICK WILLIAMS never lost touch with his Spokane roots during his decades in California. He had grown up as a young boy at Liberty Lake in the summers, and in later years, maintained his own home in Rockford Bay on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. RICK kept in touch over the years with many friends and classmates from Lewis and Clark until his cancer limited his travel at the end of his life.
RICK WILLIAMS lived his life as a man of two worlds – Southern California as the base of his business, law practice, and political activism; and Spokane as his never-to-be-forgotten home from the early years. RICK is survived by his wife Susan in Newport Beach, his brother Fred Williams in Spokane, his sister Georgilu Krom in Seattle, and a variety of other relatives in California.
A hard worker, lawyer, and a consistent and longstanding advocate for truth and justice in America, RICK WILLIAMS will be remembered by all who knew him. His ashes will be maintained in the Dessert family mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Spokane.
The family at WILLIAMS WOLLITZ HAKAKIAN PC misses him tremendously.
RICHARD D. WILLIAMS is the founder and Name Partner at WILLIAMS WOLLITZ HAKAKIAN PC. MR. WILLIAMS graduated Beta Gamma Sigma from Washington State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Finance and received his Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law in 1973. At UCLA Law, he served on the Board of Editors of the UCLA Law Review.
MR. WILLIAMS has been a member of the State Bar of California since 1973 and has been a partner in multiple Los Angeles law firms over his distinguished career. He specializes in corporate, business and insurance litigation. Prior to starting law school, RICK WILLIAMS was in the accounting and finance department of Shell Oil Company and in 1973, he became a law firm associate at Adams Duque & Hazeltine. In 1974, MR. WILLIAMS joined the national law firm of Manatt Phelps & Phillips where he was an associate from 1974-1978; in 1978, he became a partner at Manatt (1978-1983). In 1983, MR. WILLIAMS joined the national firm of Finley Kumble, where he remained until starting his own 20-attorney firm - - Charlston Revich & Williams - - in 1987. In 2002, RICK WILLIAMS founded Williams Smyth & Jacks, and after taking some time off he returned to the practice and became a partner in Kelly Lytton & Williams, LLP, the predecessor of WILLIAMS WOLLITZ HAKAKIAN PC.
The specialty practice of representing health care providers in contingency fee recovery action has been developed by attorney Williams in the past ten years. WILLIAMS WOLLITZ HAKAKIAN PC has become a recognized industry leader in these types of actions; recovering millions of dollars on behalf of surgeons, surgery centers and other healthcare providers in California. At this critical time for the healthcare services industry, our firm stands at the forefront.
In his days representing insurance company clients, RICK WILLIAMS served as lead trial counsel on many of the largest insurance coverage bad faith trials in California. His practice encompassed a wide range of high end coverage areas including environmental, toxic tort, mold, construction defect, first party property claims and corporate and professional liability third party matters. Representative insurance company clients have included the Zurich North America companies; the Farmers Group Exchanges; Home Insurance Group; and Hartford Insurance Group.
MR. WILLIAMS has authored two published books: Computer and Internet Liability (Aspen Law & Business pub. 2001) and Law of Year 2000, Strategies, Claims and Defenses (Aspen Law & Business pub. 1999).
MR. WILLIAMS is admitted in the State Bar of California; in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and in the United States District Courts for the Central, Southern and Northern Districts of California. MR. WILLIAMS over the years has been a well known speaker and teacher, with dozens of seminars and published articles on legal and business litigation topics involving product liability, corporate practices, insurance, and finance.
MR. WILLIAMS is involved in the political community at the local and state level. In 2012, he ran for the United States Senate election in California and finished fourth in a California open primary field of 25 candidates.
RICK WILLIAMS served as the Adjunct Professor of Insurance Law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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