Olivia L. Southam Photo

Olivia L. Southam

Of Counsel


Olivia regularly assists businesses and individuals involved in contractual disputes or business torts through all phases of litigation, including discovery, depositions, motion practice, trial preparation, and appeal. She has extensive experience in defending insurers with respect to commercial, life, and disability coverage, including disputes that arise in the ERISA context.

Olivia likewise invests significant time in offering pro bono counsel to non-profit organizations and, in particular, churches and other religious institutions, on a wide array of issues.

Prior to joining the firm, Olivia served as a law clerk for the Honorable Deborah L. Cook of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Akron, Ohio, as well as the Honorable Gerald B. Tjoflat of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida.


    • Secured the dismissal of all claims against a national insurer through both cross-motions for summary judgment and appellate briefing.
    • Defended a contractor from a multi-million dollar delay and additional cost claim relating to a public transit project in Singapore over the course of an arbitration in the International Court of Arbitration.
    • Served as law clerk for the Honorable Gerald B. Tjoflat of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Jacksonville, Florida.
    • Served as law clerk for the Honorable Deborah L. Cook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Akron, Ohio.
  • Education

    • Duke University School of Law, J.D., 2006
    • Duke Divinity School, M.T.S., 2006
    • Brown University, A.B., English, magna cum laude, 2001


    • State of Ohio
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio and Southern District of Ohio
  • Professional Affiliations

    • Federal Bar Association—Member (2012-Present)
    • Asian American Bar Association—Member (2013-Present)

    Community Involvement

    • Fieldstone Counseling— Board of Directors (2018-Present)
    • Senior Research Editor, Duke Law Journal, Duke University School of Law (2006)
    • Recipient of the Van Schaick Mordecai Scholarship, Duke University School of Law (full tuition)
    • "Sixth Circuit Provides Guidance on the Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Where ERISA Plan Documents are Silent," Frantz Ward Website Article (September 2020)
    • "The Reasonable Justification Standard for Bad Faith Claim," Frantz Ward Client Alert (April 2019) 
    • “Bioethics and the Disposition of Cryopreserved Preembryos,” 34 Fam. Adv. 38 (Fall 2011)
    • “Demythologizing Restorative Justice: South Africa’s TRC & Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts,” 12 ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law 41 (2005)
    • “Rehabilitating Bioethics: Recontextualizing In Vitro Fertilization,” 54 Duke Law Journal 485 (2004)