Williams & Anderson History

Williams & Anderson was formed on December 1, 1988, by four partners, W. Jackson Williams, Philip S. Anderson, David F. Menz and Peter G. Kumpe. They represented established business entities in Arkansas as well as state and local government financing agencies.  Their plan was to focus the firm’s resources on business-related matters and provide their clients with superior legal services.

Over the last twenty five years, the firm has grown, but the focus remains the same. The firm pays personal attention to the needs of every client, and provides each client with the legal resources demanded by the engagement.

First Decade:

Our early years as a firm saw rapid growth and note-worthy accomplishment. We represented the Arkansas Democrat in acquiring the assets of the Arkansas Gazette, bringing an end to the celebrated “newspaper war” between the two daily statewide papers in Arkansas. We prosecuted the successful plaintiffs’ antitrust case in Community Publishers, Inc. v. Donrey Corp., 892 F.Supp. 1146 (W.D. Ark), aff’d 139 F.3d 1180 (8th Cir. 1998), in which the U.S. Department of Justice intervened on our clients’ side and the federal courts enjoined completion of a newspaper merger and ordered disgorgement. We represented the University of Arkansas in expanding its flagship campus in Fayetteville and its Medical School in Little Rock and the issuers of hundreds of millions of dollars for infrastructure and housing projects and student loan bonds. We represented the public facilities board that built the Verizon Arena. We laid the foundation for the rebuilding of the State’s highway system in a $575 million bond project.

Our first decade was also marked by public service and leadership in our profession, most notably the rise of Philip S. Anderson to the highest position in the American Bar Association. He was President of the American Bar Association in 1998-99. Before becoming President, he served as Chair of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association from 1992 through 1994. By the end of our first ten years, the firm had almost twenty lawyers and was a fixture in the Arkansas legal community.

Second Decade:

Our second decade produced years of maturation and transition as a firm. One of our former partners, J. Leon Holmes, became a United States District Judge. Another, Beth M. Deere, became a United States Magistrate Judge, and yet another, Kelly S. Terry, became a professor at the University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law. Another former partner, A. Heath Abshure, was appointed Securities Commissioner for the State of Arkansas. We are grateful for their past contributions to our practice and are pleased with their success in their new endeavors.

The firm was engaged to handle the appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court of the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Arkansas, and the Court reduced the judgment against our client by $51.5 million. We represented a group led by then-Governor Mike Huckabee to enact legislation to direct the proceeds of the Tobacco Settlement by initiated act. We represented a group led by then-Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter to adopt the Scholarship Lottery Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.

We became the counsel of choice in a variety of difficult matters, including complex water and real estate projects, high-exposure nursing-home cases, class actions, and corporate and public finance transactions.

We also added to our ranks an accomplished group of lawyers:

    Philip E. Kaplan, a premier business trial lawyer in Arkansas with more than 40 years’ experience;
    Terry L. Mathews, business advisor and counsel to dozens of privately held businesses with more than 40 years’ experience;
    David M. Powell, a dean of the Arkansas construction and design professionals bar with more than 40 years’ experience.

We also added an exceptional group of lawyers with more than twenty years of practice. We have skilled practitioners with the necessary levels of experience to continue to provide our clients with the result-oriented representation that is the hallmark of our firm.  An exceptional number of our lawyers have been recognized by peer organizations and publications such as Chambers and Best Lawyers in America.


In its twenty-fifth year, the firm continues to strive for the highest standards of professionalism and performance sought by its founders. The firm has assembled a formidable team of lawyers. In September, 2010, our clients prevailed in a nationally-watched case involving economic credentialing of doctors by hospitals, which is a part of the front line in the competitive clash between general hospitals and specialty hospitals. The firm has also been instrumental in the successful launching of a high-profile public charter school in downtown Little Rock, which now has a waiting list of 3,000 students.
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