William M. Garrett is a volunteer hockey coach with a knack for complex commercial litigation.
The 39-year-old University of Illinois College of Law graduate is a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.
Garrett has earned a reputation as a great attorney and a giving person. His contributions to society and clients are significant.
Stephen J. Landes, also a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer, has worked with Garrett for several years. Landes said Garrett manages a national docket of defense of asbestos cases.
“Matt was a significant contributor to the Boim v. Holy Land Foundation suit that resulted in a precedent setting en banc opinion by Judge Posner establishing the law on private causes of action by victims of international terrorism,” Landes said.
Chad E. Clark, in-house counsel for Navistar, Inc., formerly worked with Garrett. Clark has hired Garrett to do work for Navistar since his move in-house.
In one matter in particular, Navistar believed a consultant’s company had breached its contract. The issues of the case were complex, and Clark retained Garrett to handle the matter.
“Matt understood Navistar’s needs and successfully negotiated an agreement with the consultant and his former company,” Clark said. “Navistar was able to retain the use of the consultant’s services without the consultant violating his agreement with his former company and with minimal impact to Navistar’s project.”
Clark said he has also witnessed Garrett’s work with other clients.
“(Garrett) is national counsel for a valve manufacturer in toxic tort cases. Part of the reason for Matt’s success is that he is extremely knowledgeable about any product he defends,” Clark said. “Matt studies his client’s products and quickly knows as much about the product as the design engineers or any expert witness that would be deposed.”
Just as impressive as his lawyering skills are his contributions to worthy causes.
John F. Costello, of Locke Lord LLP, commended Garrett for his pro bono legal services to military veterans and service members.
“Matt has assisted numerous veterans in applying for disability compensation through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs,” Costello said, adding Garrett was instrumental in developing a unique program for law firms to serve military service members during their deployments overseas. The initiative, called Adopt-a-Guard Unit, was a partnership between the military, state agencies, legal aid clinics and law firms.
“In sum, the efforts of one attorney made a great difference to thousands of military members and their families,” Costello said. “Through his efforts, Matt was able to serve those that were serving us.”
Garrett has also made a lasting impact on the youth.
Paul Manning, hockey director with the St. Jude Knights Hockey Club, said over the past three and a half years, Garrett has devoted hundreds of hours coaching both boys and girls teams.
“He developed a Coaches’ Policy and Procedure Manual for our club that outlines the many positive coaching policies that guide our coaching philosophy,” Manning said, adding Garrett was instrumental in helping the club launch a girls hockey program.
“Matt’s family has opened their home to house young players visiting the United States from Latvia as part of hockey cultural exchanges,” Manning said. “Matt recently worked to take our first girls team to Minneapolis to compete in a charity Stick-It-To-Cancer tournament that raised over $3,000 for cancer research, and he is currently working to develop a program that will allow our female players and their families to travel to Europe as part of a hockey cultural exchange.”
Garrett has donated to causes such as the Lupus Foundation and Food Allergy Research & Education organization.