Kwamina Thomas Williford
Kwamina Thomas Williford is an experienced regulatory and business disputes attorney, who co-chairs 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, fair lending, 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 Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 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).
Clients also call on Ms. Williford to conduct highly sensitive internal investigations related to alleged improper or concerning activities identified by employees or that are identified through the organization's compliance and ethics program.
Ms. Williford draws upon her experience to help clients decrease their risk profile by counseling companies on specific measures to enhance and refine their corporate compliance programs. Ms. Williford also works with clients to develop compliance training materials and conduct management training on compliance issues. She also served as the co-editor of the Corporate Compliance Answer Book book for 10 years, where she collaborated with dozens of attorneys across the firm knowledgeable in various aspects of compliance. Leveraging this experience has enabled Ms. Williford to work seamlessly with attorneys across subject matters to service clients and match their needs with Holland & Knight talent.
Currently, 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 also served on the firm's Directors Nominating Committee.
Within the community, Ms. Williford serves on the Executive Committee of the National Bar Association's (NBA) Commercial Law Section, where she helps to organize its Annual Corporate Counsel Conference and select regional programming aimed at connecting diverse talent with organizations and companies. She also serves on the board of the National Bar Institute, which is the philanthropic arm of the NBA, with a mission of advancing minorities in the legal profession by promoting education, advocacy and action. Ms. Williford also serves on the board of Light House Studios, an organization dedicated to equipping young people with the skills and confidence to tell their stories and build community through collaborative filmmaking. She further serves on the Washington, D.C., regional board for Teach for America, which is committed to furthering education equity through supporting teachers and students in the District of Columbia region.
- Represented major retailer in a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation involving allegations of deceptive, unfair and abusive practices
- Represented food and beverage company in FTC inquiry involving allegations of deceptive practices related to franchise interactions
- Represented automotive credit company in attorney general investigation related to deceptive practices with the sale of add-on products
- Represented company involved in health and wellness before the National Advertising Division (NAD) concerning allegations of false and deceptive advertising
- Represented major student loan debt servicing company in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (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 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation involving claims regarding kickbacks, false claims and off-label promotion
- Conducted internal investigation of medical rehabilitation organization in connection with potential False Claims Act (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 artificial intelligence (AI) principals and guidance for healthcare company
- Conducted fair lending assessment for financial institution related to monitoring for potential disparate impact liability
- Developed Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance guidance related to a fintech company’s development of an alternative credit scoring model
- Developed FCRA compliance guidance and procedures for fintech solutions companies utilizing innovative approaches to consumer-permissioned access
- Developed compliance infrastructure and program for real estate investment trust (REIT) related to its oversight and monitoring obligations for long-term health facilities
- Developed compliance guidance regarding utilization of remote online notarization (RON)
- Developed compliance management system (CMS) for credit repair organization, focused on addressing policies and implementation related to consumer complaints and advertising review
- 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
- 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
- Cornell Law School, J.D.
- University of Virginia, B.A.
- District of Columbia
- 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. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- National Bar Institute, Board Member, 2021-present
- National Bar Association (NBA) Board of Governors, Representative, August 2017-August 2020; NBA Governance Committee, 2020-2022
- NBA, Commercial Law Section, Executive Committee Member, 2020-2022, Chair, 2017-2020; Vice Chair, 2015-2017; Treasurer, 2014-2015; Secretary, 2013-2014
- Light House Studio, Board Member, 2019-present
- Teach for America, D.C. Region, Board Member, 2021-present
- Jack and Jill of America Charlottesville Chapter, Treasurer, 2014-2015
- NBA, Judicial Selection Committee, 2012-2013
- Just the Beginning Foundation, 2008 Conference Gala Committee Chair
- 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, 2020, 2021
- Rising Star, Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2005
- Individual Pro Bono Service Award, Family Advocacy Program