Overview

Kwamina Thomas Williford is co-chair of the firm's Consumer Protection Defense and Compliance Team. Ms. Williford helps companies navigate complex regulations and enforcement regimes related to consumer engagement and interaction, including marketing and advertising, reporting and decisions being made based on consumer credit, receiving payments from consumers and the use of consumer information. She also advises companies on how to reduce their risk profile related to consumer protection concerns when looking to bring innovative products and technology to market.

Ms. Williford represents companies faced with Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) and inquiries brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as state attorney generals related to federal and state consumer protection laws. Her experience with relevant laws implicated include the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). She also has extensive experience defending healthcare and government contractors faced with DOJ allegations of potential violations of the civil False Claims Act (FCA).

Clients also call on Ms. Williford to conduct sensitive internal investigations related to alleged improper or questionable activities identified by employees or that are identified through the organization's compliance and ethics program. 

Ms. Williford draws upon her experience to advise clients on the design and implementation of corporate compliance programs. She works with clients to help them decrease their risk profile by counseling companies to develop, enhance and implement their corporate compliance programs. Ms. Williford also works with clients to develop compliance training materials and conduct management training on compliance issues. She is the co-editor of the Corporate Compliance Answer Book, published every year since 2009 by the Practising Law Institute.

In addition, Ms. Williford chairs the Steering Committee for the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Engagement Initiative, designed to deepen partnerships with clients and businesses that share Holland & Knight's values of diversity and inclusion. Ms. Williford also serves on Holland & Knight's Innovation Committee, designed to further develop the firm's use of innovation and Artificial Intelligence to advance the practice with higher efficiency. She has served on the firm's Directors Nominating Committee for Holland & Knight.

Within the community, Ms. Williford currently serves as the chair of the National Bar Association's (NBA) Commercial Law Section, a member of the NBA's Board of Governors, and actively supports diverse legal pipeline endeavors throughout the country. She has also served on the NBA's Judicial Selection Committee and as a treasurer of the Charlottesville Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Williford served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee in the "rocket docket" U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Recent representative matters include:

  • advised an energy company on how to navigate consumer protection regulations related to energy sharing product being brought to market
  • advised a financial technology (FinTech) company on how to navigate the FCRA and consumer protection regulations related to a data aggregation product being brought to market
  • represented a money services business in FTC investigation relate to alleged violations of the FTC Act
  • represented an assisted living facility in state attorney general investigation related to allegations arising out of the state consumer protection statute and misrepresentations to residents
  • defended a money service business in an FTC investigation involving allegations of deceptive, unfair and abusive business practices
  • represented a student loan debt servicing company in a CFPB investigation involving claims of abusive and deceptive practices
  • represented a credit repair organization in a CFPB investigation involving claims of false advertising, and deceptive and abusive business practices
  • defended an alternative medicine organization against false advertising allegations
  • advised a FinTech company with their development of policies and procedures to promote compliance with the FCRA
  • developed Compliance Management System for credit repair organization, focused on addressing policies and implementation related to consumer complaints and advertising review
  • conducted a compliance effectiveness review related to oversight responsibilities of long-term health organization
  • conducted a compliance review and audit of a pharmacy benefit management organization's compliance program
  • develop international training for a medical diagnostics company's rollout of its advertising and promotion compliance guidance

Experience

  • Represented student loan debt servicing company in a CFPB investigation involving claims of abusive and deceptive practices
  • Represented credit repair organization in a CFPB investigation involving claims of false advertising, and deceptive and abusive business practices
  • Defended medical device company in an investigation by the state attorney general in connection with claims of deception under the state’s consumer protection statute.
  • Defended pharmaceutical manufacturing company in a DOJ investigation involving claims regarding kickbacks, false claims and off-label promotion

  • Conducted internal investigation of medical rehabilitation organization in connection with potential FCA violations
  • Conducted internal investigation of government contractor facing potential FCA violations
  • Advised specialty pharmacy company and led internal investigation related to potential overpayments for compounded drugs
  • Led internal investigation into potential fraud and misuse of earmark funding for nonprofit organization

  • Developed Compliance Management System (CMS) for credit repair organization, focused on addressing policies and implementation related to consumer complaints and advertising review
  • Advised higher education institution on the development of its corporate compliance program, which included advising on policies and practices related to research grants, vendor management and reporting obligations
  • Advised long-term care and home healthcare facility on enhancements related to the effectiveness of its corporate compliance program
  • Conducted compliance review and audit of pharmacy benefit management organization’s compliance program
  • Developed training materials and conducted company-wide training for medical device and diagnostics company for compliance directives related to proper promotion of its services

Credentials

Education
  • Cornell Law School, J.D.
  • University of Virginia, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Virginia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Memberships
  • Jack and Jill of America Charlottesville Chapter, Treasurer, 2014-15
  • National Bar Association (NBA) Board of Governors, Representative, August 2017-present
  • NBA, Commercial Law Section, Executive Committee, 2011-14; Secretary, 2013-14; Treasurer, 2014-15; Vice Chair, 2015-17; Chair, August 2017-present
  • NBA, Judicial Selection Committee, 2012-13
  • Just the Beginning Foundation, 2008 Conference Gala Committee Chair
Honors & Awards
  • Presidential Award, National Bar Association, 2018, 2019
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Fellows Program, 2017
  • Rising Star, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2016
  • Trailblazer Under 40 Award, National Bar Association, 2014
  • Rising Stars, Holland & Knight, Class of 2008
  • Stakeholders 100, Class of 2007
  • Pro Bono All Star, Holland & Knight, 2005-2006
  • Rising Star, Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2005
  • Individual Pro Bono Service Award, Family Advocacy Program

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News