When William “Bill” Geraghty, managing partner for Shook, Hardy & Bacon, graduated from Duke University, the overwhelming majority of his classmates wanted to become stockbrokers, but Geraghty wasn’t sold on that idea. “English and history were my best subjects and they didn’t translate well into the world of a stockbroker,” said Geraghty. Taking a year off between his undergrad and law school studies, Geraghty drew on his talents and taught Freshman English and served as an admissions director and soccer coach for an area high school. Upon completion of his one year of teaching, Geraghty applied for and was accepted to Georgetown University Law Center where he graduated in 1993.
In the beginning…
“I think I always kind of wanted to be an attorney because I idolized my uncle, a tax lawyer,” mentioned Geraghty. “Looking back, I clearly had no idea what he actually did until I entered the world of law.”
While his current practice areas are in no way related to his uncle’s tax practice, it sparked his initial interest in the law. Following his own interests, Geraghty accepted a summer internship early in his career at a small litigation boutique firm, Murphy & Shaffer, in Baltimore. Under the tutelage of his first mentor, Bill Murphy, Geraghty took his first foray into civil litigation and legal and ethics representation. He credits Murphy with shaping his stringent code of ethics and understanding of the proper way to practice law.
“A great mentor, Bill Murphy once clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court and was able to transfer a lot of the immense knowledge he gained to me,” said Geraghty. “To this day, I am grateful for the experience of working with him and credit him with shaping my career.”
Today, Geraghty’s main practice focuses on complex civil litigation, including pharmaceutical and medical devices, global products liability and agribusiness and food safety. Successfully defending several Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes commercial and products liability cases, he has served as lead trial lawyer in many lengthy and difficult civil trials at the state and federal level.
Over the past three years, Geraghty has dedicated a majority of his time to representing Phillip Morris. A client-friendly attorney who tenaciously defends his clients in the courtroom, Geraghty has moved quickly up the ranks to become the youngest lead trial attorney on the Phillip Morris team.
“We have had tremendous success representing Phillip Morris over the past three years,” noted Geraghty. “Of the nine cases brought to trial, we have won 6 and currently have 2 on appeal.”
As managing partner for Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Geraghty not only undertakes high-stakes litigation, but also is responsible for spearheading marketing efforts, business development and growing the main practice areas for the Miami office.
Going forward, Geraghty foresees a perpetual growth stage for his firm, adding 5-10 more attorneys while enhancing the firm’s intellectual property practice and international presence. Personally, he would like to take his own experience with pharmaceutical companies and expand it to the food and beverage industry to represent those companies against attorneys making claims about marketing sugary drinks and food to children, and allegedly causing an obesity epidemic.
To unwind from his hectic work schedule, Geraghty enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his two boys to victory in debate, soccer and cross country.