In 1951, Marcus J. Williams, a Somerset County native and a graduate of the Maryland Law School, began the practice of law at 3 South Main Street, Berlin, Worcester County, Maryland. Mr. Williams shared offices, but did not form a partnership with, William H. Scott, a private practitioner, Daniel T. Prettyman, later Administrative Judge for the Circuit Court for Worcester County, and Edward H. Hammond, Sr., the Court Reporter for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
In the summer of 1964, Mr. Williams employed Edward H. Hammond, Jr., a student at the University of Georgia Law School, as his law clerk. Mr. Hammond was joined in 1966 by Joseph E. Moore, then attending the University of Maryland Law School, who was also hired as a law clerk and as a property surveyor. Mr. Hammond became Mr. Williams’ associate upon his discharge from the Army in 1969, and Mr. Moore also became an associate after completing his active duty service in the Army Reserve later in 1969.
By 1973, Messrs. Moore and Hammond were made partners of the firm, which was then known as Williams, Hammond & Moore. 1974 marked the arrival of Raymond C. Shockley, who retired from the Maryland State Police in 1970 and joined the firm as a partner after departing the Berlin law firm of Sanford, Bolte & Shockley. Joseph G. Harrison, Jr., joined the firm, then known as Williams, Hammond, Moore & Shockley, in 1975, but by 1978, when Mr. Harrison was made a partner, the firm was known as Williams, Hammond, Moore, Shockley & Harrison.
The firm continued to grow with the addition of several associates: J. Richard Collins in 1984 and Regan J.R. Smith, formerly of the Towson firm of Cook, Howard, Downes & Tracy (now Venable LLP), in 1988. Brian D. Shockley became the first second-generation member of the firm in 1995 after having been an associate of the Towson firm of Morrow & Hassani. Olivia H. Phillips, the sister of Mr. Harrison, joined the firm as an associate in 1997, as did Christopher T. Woodley in 2000. J. Richard Collins, Regan Smith and Brian Shockley were made partners in the firm in 2000.
In July of 2002, Mr. Hammond left the firm to act as the full-time County Attorney for Worcester County after holding that position on a part-time basis since the 70’s, and the firm became known by its current name of Williams, Moore, Shockley & Harrison. Mr. Hammond’s departure is further evidence of the long commitment of the firm and its attorneys to public service, beginning with Mr. Williams’ installation as the City Solicitor for the Town of Ocean City from 1964 until 1976, a period of dramatic expansion, with the extension of the Town’s corporate limits from 33rd Street to the Delaware line, a distance of nearly five miles.
Raymond Shockley served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Worcester County from 1971 to 1973, and was joined by Mr. Moore as a Deputy State’s Attorney in 1972, both serving under John L. Sanford, Jr. In 1978, Mr. Moore was elected to that post, and served as the State’s Attorney through 1983. Mr. Smith served as an Assistant State’s Attorney from 1989 until 1998, as did Brian Shockley from 1995 to 1998.
In 2008, William H. Cathell joined the firm as an associate, and in 2010, Christopher T. Woodley was made a partner. Brian Shockley left the firm in 2012 and was sworn in as a Circuit Court Judge for Worcester County, a position he continues to hold today. Finally, in 2014, the firm hired Amanda Reese Nyman as an associate.
Service in judicial clerkships is a common credential among the firm’s attorneys. Mr. Collins served as the Law Clerk for the Honorable Charles Edmondson of the Circuit Court for Dorchester County. Mr. Smith was the Law Clerk for the Honorable Marvin Smith of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Brian Shockley was the Law Clerk for the Honorable Leonard S. Jacobson of the Baltimore County Circuit Court. Mr. Woodley served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Theodore R. Eschenburg and the Honorable Thomas C. Groton, III, of the Worcester County Circuit Court. Mr. Cathell was the Law Clerk for the Honorable Joseph Murphy of the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, and Ms. Nyman was the Law Clerk for the Honorable Peter B. Jones of the Family Court of the State of Delaware.
In 1983, Mr. Moore was appointed General Counsel for Ocean Pines Association, Inc., a residential community in northern Worcester County now numbering more than 15,000 residents. Because of such changes in population, the firm has altered its own geography from time to time. From its original office on Main Street in Berlin, the firm opened a branch office at its current location of 3509 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland in 1973. In 1984, the firm closed its original office and concentrated its practice in Ocean City, primarily in the areas of Real Estate, Estates and Trusts, Zoning and Land Use, and Civil Litigation.
The law firm of Williams, Moore, Shockley & Harrison, LLP has a long history of service to the Worcester County community. Its members and associates have varied and extensive abilities and specialties creating a comprehensive law firm for the service to its clients and the citizens and visitors to Worcester County.
In recognition of its achievements, Martindale-Hubbell selected the firm for inclusion in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in 1992. The Bar Register includes only select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field.