Marguerite Willis loves a good challenge. And no issue is too big or too small for her to handle - whether she's defending clients in complex commercial litigation or doing her part to build the next generation of women business leaders.Tackling the Toughest Antitrust Issues
In the courtroom, she's established a reputation for delivering highly effective and highly successful litigation strategies. As the Co-Chair of Nexsen Pruet's Antitrust and Unfair Competition Practice, she leads a team of attorneys in developing proactive solutions to help clients achieve business objectives while avoiding issues with federal and state antitrust and trade regulation laws.
With a track-record that spans decades, Marguerite has been involved in some of the firm's biggest verdicts. She has served as national counsel for a number of cases, including federal and state class actions, and prosecuted major antitrust matters involving a wide range of claims, from unfair trade practices and false advertising to monopolization and vicarious corporate liability.
Clients routinely rely on Marguerite for her broad depth of experience in matters governing competition, including pricing, distribution agreements, marketing programs, competitor collaboration, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and advertising issues.
Marguerite is listed inSouth Carolina Super Lawyers for Antitrust Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts and Business Litigation. She frequently shares her knowledge in talks on a number of topics related to her practice.
Recognitions•Listed in South CarolinaSuper Lawyersfor Antitrust Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts and Business Litigation, 2011-2014
•Legal Elite of the Midlands - Civil Litigation, 2013
NotableMs. Willis began her legal career working on the massive antitrust cases known collectively as The Uranium Cartel Litigation. She litigated private antitrust cases in Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina and worked as well on the related federal grand jury investigation in the District of Columbia. These cases all alleged horizontal price-fixing under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
•Ms. Willis defended numerous witnesses in federal grand jury proceedings investigating alleged horizontal price fixing under Section 1 of the Sherman Act in Puerto Rico.
•Dunlop Sports Co. v. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. In the early to mid-1980s, Ms. Willis defended a major antitrust case in federal court in Chicago, Illinois. This case, which alleged a violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act by attempting to monopolize through predatory pricing, involved the production of millions of documents and the depositions of over 100 individuals, both in the United States and abroad.
•Mead Data Central v. West Publishing Company. Ms. Willis prosecuted a major antitrust case alleging violations of Section 2 of the Sherman Act (monopolization, attempted monopolization through control of an essential facility), as well as violations of the Robinson-Patman Act.
•1990-1995. Ms. Willis served as national counsel for a Fortune 100 company in its asbestos property damage litigation. In this capacity, Ms. Willis coordinated the defense of four national class actions, as well as numerous other lawsuits across the country.
•1994-2001. Ms. Willis served as national counsel for a major pharmaceutical company in over 4,000 cases, including federal and state class actions, involving claims of price-fixing and price discrimination under federal and state law. The federal cases, which involved both retail drug stores and consumers as plaintiffs, were consolidated in Chicago, Illinois as MDL 997, In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation. State court cases included proceedings in Alabama, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
•1998-2001. Ms. Willis served as national counsel for a billboard company in a case alleging monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
•1999-2000. Ms. Willis served as national counsel for a major options exchange in governmental investigations and parallel federal class action lawsuits involving claims of violations of the antitrust and securities laws. The federal lawsuits were consolidated for pretrial proceedings in New York as In re Stock Exchanges Options Trading Antitrust Litigation.
•Since joining Nexsen Pruet in the spring of 2000, Ms. Willis has represented defendants in state court class action lawsuits, and Ms. Willis served as lead counsel in a federal antitrust class action alleging the price-fixing of pulpwood timber.
•Ms. Willis prosecuted multiple opt-out antitrust actions in MDL 1516 (In re Polyester Staple Fiber Antitrust Litigation) for damages caused by price-fixing and customer allocation of polyester staple fiber.
•Ms. Willis led the defense of Southeastern Freight Lines in an antitrust class action for alleged price fixing of fuel surcharges in MDL 1895 (In re LTL Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation).
•Ms. Willis was also lead attorney for Bristow Oil Company in a four-week trial against ExxonMobil in 2008 in state court in Darlington, SC.
Outside Nexsen PruetHelping Women Succeed
Outside the courtroom, Marguerite brings her unique blend of ingenuity and tenacity to championing women's initiatives. She is particularly passionate about helping women develop a strong understanding of financial issues and how to leverage that knowledge to the best of their advantage.
In addition to lecturing, she is actively involved as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association and of the Board of Trustees of Columbia College, a private all-girls school in South Carolina devoted to instilling the principles of leadership.
She also led the effort to establish the Nexsen Pruet Women's Leadership Institute with the goal of developing and mentoring the firm's next generation of influential women. And she founded Women in Philanthropy, an organization dedicated to harnessing the power of women and compounding individual capabilities to make charitable contributions.
Marguerite is a South Carolina native and was born in Greenville. She currently lives with her husband, former Mayor Frank E. Willis, in Florence.
Speaking & Writing
Nexsen Pruet Attorneys Recognized By Peers; Twenty-Eight Named to 2013 Super Lawyers List for South Carolina
April 30, 2013
14 Nexsen Pruet Attorneys Named to Legal Elite of the Midlands
October 16, 2013
Female Powerbrokers Q&A: Nexsen Pruet's Marguerite Willis
June 17, 2014
Marion Crane, Benjamin Porter, and Robert Taylor, Plaintiffs, v. International Paper Company and CWC of North Carolina, Inc., Defendants
Antitrust Damages Under South Carolina Antitrust Statute
Niche Marketing: Why, How To, and Now What?
ABA Women Rainmakers Spring 2013 Program: April 24, 2013.
The Trial of a Class Action Antitrust Case with a Jury
14th Annual Sedona Conference on Antitrust Law and Litigation, Del Mar, California, Chaired Panel - October 25-26, 2012
Secrets of Successful Rainmakers
DRI Sharing Success - A Seminar for Women Lawyers; Moderator - February, 2011
Understanding E-Discovery: Is There an App for That?
DRI Sharing Success - A Seminar for Women Lawyers - February, 2011
Pee Dee Women in Philanthropy, Floyd Conference Center, Florence, SC on September 23, 2010
Seeing, Believing, and Achieving
Carolinas Hospital System - September 8, 2010
Pre-Suit Document Preservation and Compliance in the Electronic Age: Avoiding the Pitfalls
Litigation Counsel of America 2010 Spring Conference, Monterey, California - May 6, 2010
Antitrust Damages Under South Carolina Law
SC Bar CLE: Beyond the Elements II: South Carolina Damages from A to Z, September 25, 2009
What's in Your Pocketbook?
The Alliance for Women: Food for Thought Series, March 3, 2009
Tribute to Women and Industry
Floyd Conference Center, Florence, SC, September 14, 2009
South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
August 6, 2009
Releasing Your Leadership Potential, Update
Furman University, Greenville, SC, April 3, 2006
Class Action Practice-2006
February 2, 2006
Everything You Wanted to Know about Antitrust Laws and Managed Care, Part II
October 6, 2005
Releasing Your Leadership Potential
Furman University, Greenville, SC, April 11, 2005
Nelson Symposium, Antitrust and The Outdoor Advertising Industry
Gainesville, FL, February 11, 2005
Everything You Wanted to Know about Antitrust Laws and Managed Care
October 1, 2004
South Carolina Bar CLE: Beyond the Elements: South Carolina Damages from A to Z
May 21, 2004
Antitrust Update, In-House Counsel Ethics Seminar
, Columbia, SC, October 25, 2002
A Do It Yourself Guide to Class Action Practice
ABA Forum on the Construction Industry / 2002 Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 4-5, 2002
State Law Preemption: A Case Study... In Progress
Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Inc., 2002 Legal Seminar, Washington, DC, September 23, 2002
Bid-Rigging . . . A Refresher Course
Carolinas Associated General Contractors Highway - Heavy Division, Annual Meeting, Hilton Head, SC, June 20-23, 2002