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Michael D. Barnes

Partner, Trial Team Chair


Professional Experience

Michael Barnes has been engaged in active trial practice for more than 20 years, with a focus on product liability, trucking and transportation, toxic torts, class actions, and insurance defense. 

Barnes’ more recent experience includes: 

  • Counsel for an international oil and gas company in litigation resulting from a release of oil from an interstate pipeline.

  • Lead trial counsel in defense of chemical repackaging facility in individual, mass tort, and class actions, brought by residents who claimed adverse effects following a massive explosion at the facility. 
  • Lead trial counsel for major transportation companies in defense of tractor-trailer accident cases, including wrongful death and catastrophic injury. 
  • Lead trial counsel for metal supplier in product liability litigation following nationwide recall of canned goods.
  • Lead counsel for supplier of window coverings in wrongful death action alleging product design defects. 
  • Lead trial counsel for sports arena in premises liability litigation. 
  • Lead counsel for oil refinery in personal injury and product liability litigation.
  • Lead counsel for several major insurance carriers in various types of insurance coverage disputes. 
  • Lead counsel for oil/gas drilling equipment company in product liability and personal injury litigation. 

Before joining the firm, Barnes served as a deputy prosecuting attorney (1992-93) and as an officer in the United States Marine Corps (1988-91).

Professional Affiliations and Recognition

Barnes is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), the Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel (President 2009-10), the Defense Research Institute (DRI State Representative 2005-2008), the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, the American Bar Association (Tort and Insurance Practice Section), the Arkansas Bar Association, the Pulaski County Bar Association (Board of Directors 2008-10; President 2013-2014), and the Judge Henry Woods American Inn of Court (Master of the Bench). 

Barnes has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of product liability litigation and personal injury litigation (2006-2014).  Barnes has received an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating through LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, www.martindale.com/ratings.

Education and Honors

Barnes graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1988 with high honors.  He served as Articles Editor for the Arkansas Law Review and competed  on the school’s National Moot Court Team. 


Contact Information

Michael D. Barnes

Phone: 501-212-1228
Fax: 501-376-9442
Email: mbarnes@wlj.com
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Admitted to Practice

Arkansas 1988
USDC Arkansas, ED and WD
8th Cir. Court of Appeals
US Supreme Court


BA, University of Arkansas
JD, University of Arkansas

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