Thomas Willcutts’ professional focus upon complex litigation matters derives from his lifelong attraction to intellectual challenges and competition. Whether it be defeating the U.S. Jr. Open Chess Champion in tournament play, winning a Texas Holdem tournament in Las Vegas, double-majoring in Physics and Philosophy at Rice University, engaging in on-line debates over political philosophy, or dueling with the largest law firms in the Country in complex securities fraud cases pursued against the titans of Wall Street, Willcutts has always been drawn to intellectual challenges pitting himself against the best and the brightest.
When it comes to the practice of Law, however, for Willcutts it is not just about the challenge and the competition. At the young age of 12, Willcutts was inspired to choose Law as his future profession upon watching the portrayal of famous English Jurist Sir Thomas More in the academy award winning film A Man For All Seasons.
Willcutts identified with Sir Thomas More’s steal trap mind, but moreover it was More’s willingness to sacrifice all in pursuit of his principles and justice that stoked Willcutts’ nascent passion for the Law. Sir Thomas More’s portrait has long been a steady fixture in Willcutts’ law office.
Initially, it was Willcutts’ ambition to follow in the footsteps of Thomas More and become a judge, dispensing justice to the parties who appeared before him. Later, however, upon reading the biographies of prominent American trial attorneys Clarence Darrow and Gerry Spence, Willcutts concluded that it was the trial attorneys’ skills of logic and persuasion that had a stronger impact upon the outcome of cases, where the judge functioned more as a referee. Like Thomas More,
Darrow and Spence could have applied their considerable talents to serving the interests of the rich and powerful, but they chose instead to champion principled causes, which is the path that Willcutts was determined to follow.
Willcutts was born in California, grew up in a small town in Illinois, attended college in Texas, and was attending to law school at Washington University in St. Louis Missouri when he was recruited to join Connecticut’s most prestigious insurance defense firm in 1984 – Halloran & Sage in Hartford, Connecticut. During law school, Willcutts had been advised that the best way for him to obtain training and experience as a trial attorney by working for an insurance defense. At Halloran &
Sage Willcutts’ aggressively sought trial experience. Willcutts also sought to be assigned the more complex cases available through Halloran & Sage’s insurance defense practice – professional liability defense that included legal malpractice, products liability, traumatic brain jury cases, construction and real estate litigation, and insurance bad faith.
Willcutts left Halloran & Sage after six years in 1990 to accept an offer to head up litigation at Woolf, Scibilia & Cugno, whose lead partner, Brian Woolf, was the former Commissioner of Banking for the State of Connecticut. It was at Woolf, Scibilia & Cugno that was Willcutts developed his expertise in Securities and Banking litigation, which later led to him serving as a member of the Connecticut
Banking Commissioner’s Securities Advisory Council. Willcutts enjoys a strong national reputation in the field of banking and securities litigation, receiving case referrals from as far away New York, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona.
Willcutts has handled securities litigation cases from coast to coast, as well giving lectures on the topic throughout the country.
Although Willcutts is best known for his work in securities and banking litigation, he continues to handle a wide variety of complex litigation matters, including insurance bad faith, professional malpractice (with a focus upon legal malpractice), products liability, real estate litigation. Willcutts regularly receives case referrals in these practice areas from Connecticut’s most prestigious law firms, including Day Pitney, Cummings & Lockwood, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, Pullman & Comley, Shipman & Goodwin, Cohn Birnbaum & Shea, Halloran & Sage, Tinley Renehan & Dost, Rome &
McGuigan, among many others.
When it comes to complex litigation matters, Willcutts exclusively represents the interests of the general consuming public, as opposed to the interests of large corporate, insurance and banking interests. Willcutts has had numerous lucrative offers from large corporate interests to switch sides, but he has steadfastly refused such offers. In 2001, after winning a million-dollar jury verdict in an errors and omissions insurance claim covered by AIG (the largest insurance group in the world), AIG extended an offer to Willcutts to take representing its interests from the law firm he had just defeated and Willcutts declined. After securing many victories against numerous Wall Street Banks, Willcutts was approached by an agent of one of Wall Street’s oldest law firms, Sullivan & Cromell – lawyers for the Rockefeller banking interests amongst many others, inquiring as to whether Willcutts would be interested in opening a Connecticut branch of the law firm, and he refused.
Consistent with the passion and inspiration that originally attracted him to the
practice of law, Willcutts will always be on the side of individual clients against rich
and powerful corporate interests.
Michael Habib began his college career at The American University in Beirut Lebanon. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Suffolk University. He went on to the University of Connecticut School of Law where he graduated with honors after having been a member of the Connecticut Law Review and on the Board of Moot Court.
Mike served as a legislative aide for a Massachusetts State Senator for several years where he was exposed as well to politics on the national level. All of it was excellent preparation for his law career.
Mike shares Tom’s passion for the fight – the ‘regular’ citizen against corporate interests. He expands on that by taking selected criminal cases.