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Wm. Shaw McDermott

Fax +1.617.261.3175
Throughout his career, Mr. McDermott has handled complex civil litigation.  His experience extends to trials and appeals in the state and federal courts on commercial, real estate, zoning, banking, first amendment, medical malpractice, toxic tort, probate, and employment matters.  In financial services cases, Mr. McDermott has represented underwriters, broker/dealers, banks, mortgage companies, officers, directors, professional advisors and individuals in class action and complex federal court cases involving allegations of lender liability, violations of RICO and claims under the securities laws and other statutes.  Mr. McDermott has organized internal investigations and defenses of complex problems for clients in the securities industry, anticipatory to and following upon, investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In addition, Mr. McDermott was appointed by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts to serve as special master in the Lomas Securities litigation, where he supervised pre-trial discovery and preparation for trial of ten large securities actions consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation in Boston.

Professional Background

  • Administrative Partner and member of the Management Committee, K&L Gates, 1990-1996
  • Founding member, McDermott & Rizzo, 1981-1990
  • Law Clerk to Andrew A. Caffrey, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1975-1976


  • New England’s Top Rated Lawyers (ALM) 2012
  • Worcester College, Oxford University, 1971-1972 (Candidate for D. Phil.)

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Director, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate), 2013-2017
  • National Appeals Chair, University of Virginia Law School, 2014-2016
  • President, Boston Bar Foundation, 2008-2010
  • Chairman, Boston Bar Association’s Law Office Economics, Professionalism and Ethics Section, 1990-1992
  • Member, Boston Bar Association’s Litigation Section
  • Chairman, Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows
  • Trustee, Boston Bar Foundation, 2003-2010
  • Trial Advisor, Harvard Law School, Trial Advocacy Workshop, 1989-2001
  • President, Tort Law Commission, and Vice Chairman, Products and Services Liability Commission, Union Internationale Des Avocats, 1997-2000
  • Director, Faulkner Hospital, 1983-1989
  • Trustee, Deaconess Hospital, and overseer, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, 1990-present
  • Director and Member of Audit and Compensation Committees, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc., 2005-present 
  • Executive Council, Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, 1998-2004
  • Leadership Council, Harvard School of Public Health, 2003-present
  • Secretary, Harvard Club of Boston, 1987-1998
  • President, Harvard Club of Boston, 1998-2001
  • President, Board of Trustees, Dexter and Southfield Schools, 1991-2017
  • Trustee Emeritus, Dexter Southfield School, 2017-present
  • Former Trustee and Secretary, Thompson Island Outward bound Education Center, 1988-2003
  • Elected Town Meeting Member, Dedham, Massachusetts
  • Co-Chairman, Master Plan Committee, Dedham, Massachusetts
  • President, Citizens for Dedham Neighborhoods Alliance, 2005-present
  • Recognized by Massachusetts Super Lawyers in Business Litigation

Speaking Engagements

  • Securities Litigation: Planning and Strategy, presented by the American Law Institute and American Bar Association, May 13-14, 2004 and related paper "Administrative Proceedings and the New [SEC] Rules of Practice," by Wm. Shaw McDermott and Jason S. Pinney

Additional Information

  • "Silicon Graphics and Scienter:  The Saga Continues," Securities Enforcement & Litigation Update , Fall 1997.
  • "The Road to Securities Litigation Reform and the Law of Unwanted Consequences," Securities Enforcement & Litigation Update , Spring 1997.
  • "Litigating Administrative Proceedings: The SEC's Increasingly Important Enforcement Alternative," co-author, Chapter 7 of the Securities Enforcement Manual , Fall 2007.
  • "Effective Strategies for a New Regulatory Environment," co-author, Inside the Minds: Securities Fraud Claims , 2009.
  • Miscellaneous papers before the Union Internationale Des Avocats on class action litigation, the economic loss doctrine, products liability law, informed consent in medical practice, and liabilities of professional advisors.