Paul S. Williams Partner

Paul S. Williams


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A general counsel and corporate director by background, and a deeply perceptive and intuitive person by nature, I uniquely understand the legal world and the people who thrive within it. That knowledge and intuition underpin my recruiting work, and they inspire me to forge compelling relationships with clients and candidates. I am an optimistic and passionate advocate for change and constant improvement, always prizing diversity and understanding.

Paul Williams is a Partner in our Chicago office. A public company director and a former chief legal officer and corporate secretary of a Fortune 20 company, Paul leads a team based in Chicago that conducts in-house searches at all levels and personally focuses on general counsel and other senior-level positions. He is also the co-leader of Allegis Partners' board placement practice. Paul works with law firm partners who are interested in making lateral moves.

In his additional role as Director of Global Diversity Search, Paul leads the firm's efforts throughout the country in assisting legal organizations in enhancing their diversity. He is a well-respected leader in the area of diversity, frequently speaking on diversity-related issues. His background as a former chief legal officer and alumnus of two of the country's largest law firms gives him unique insight into how to effectively recruit diverse legal teams and counsel candidates.

Paul and his wife, Laura, who is also a lawyer, are the proud parents of two grown sons and split their time between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. In his spare time, Paul enjoys movies and physical fitness.


Prior to joining Major, Lindsey & Africa, Paul served for several years as executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of Cardinal Health Inc., a healthcare services company with $80 billion in revenues and 55,000 employees. Responsible for managing legal affairs globally, he also served as the co-chairman of the company's Diversity Council. His 51-lawyer legal department was recognized for its outstanding diversity. Paul has been recognized as one of the nation's 100 most influential diverse lawyers, as well as one of the most influential African-American corporate directors.

His career began as a corporate and securities associate with the large law firms of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Southern California and Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease in Ohio. Paul also served as general counsel of a computer software company and group counsel for the dairy division of a multinational corporation.

Paul is a member of the board of directors for three publicly traded billion-dollar companies: Essendant, Inc., a Fortune 500 distributor of business products; Bob Evans Farms Inc., the owner and operator of nearly 700 restaurants in the U.S.; and Compass Minerals Inc., a producer of salt and other inorganic mineral products. He currently is the Compensation Committee chairman for Bob Evans and Compass Minerals. He is also a sitting director on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He also has served as the Lead Independent Director of State Auto Financial Corporation, a property and casualty insurance company, and sat on numerous charitable and educational boards, including Physicians for Human Rights, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arthritis Foundation, Buckeye Boys Ranch, and Salesian Boys and Girls Club.


Yale University Law School: J.D.

Harvard University: B.A., Government, cum laude


Essendant, Inc. (A Fortune 500 Company), Director

Bob Evans Farms, Director

Compass Minerals Inc., Director

National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Chicago Chapter, Director

State Auto Financial Corporation, Former Director

Past Board Member of Physicians for Human Rights, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arthritis Foundation, Buckeye Boys Ranch, and Salesian Boys and Girls Club