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Bill Bay named a 2016 ‘Excellence in Law’ award winner by St. Louis Magazine

October 21, 2016

St. Louis Magazine has named Thompson Coburn partner Bill Bay to its inaugural Excellence in Law Awards, which honor “outstanding attorneys who made a difference in the community in 2015, whether through their service, a significant case, or exemplary leadership.”

Just eight attorneys and law firms from across the St. Louis region were selected for the honor. They are featured in the November 2016 edition of St. Louis Magazine. Bill was selected in the Leadership category, which honors “an individual who advanced the practice of law, whether through business principles, integrating technology, structural changes, or innovative policies.”

The other 2016 winners are Tracy Ring of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale; Susan McGraugh of Saint Louis University School of Law; Vanessa Keith of the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club; the Dowd Bennett law firm; Maurice Graham of Gray, Ritter & Graham; Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway of the 22nd Judicial Circuit; and John Simon of the Simon Law Firm.

As detailed in the magazine, Bill has spent the last year serving as a national leader on the governing body of the American Bar Association while simultaneously chairing several statewide commissions focused on increasing access and opportunities for women and minorities, and exploring the future of the legal profession in Missouri.

Bill shared with St. Louis Magazine a story about his early days as an attorney, and how he learned first-hand that the legal process is not about “who you know or who has the most money.” “In a court of law, it does not matter who you know, how many years you have practiced, or anything else,” he said. “You have to be prepared, tell the client’s story truthfully and factually, and explain how the law applies to the facts. When you do that, you can count on the court to get to the right result.”

Bill is currently a member of ABA’s 38-member Board of Governors, the governing body of the world’s largest voluntary professional organization. He is one of just a few Missouri attorneys to ever serve on the Board. Bill is also a past Chair of the 60,000-member ABA Section of Litigation, the ABA’s largest specialty section.

Bill has recently served as the co-chair of the Missouri Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, the Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession, and the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession. All three groups are focused on increasing access to justice and opportunities for attorneys across Missouri, no matter their race, ethnicity, age, or gender.

During Bill’s leadership, the groups have worked on:

  • Revising Missouri Supreme Court rules to ease restrictions on attorneys returning to active status after taking a voluntary hiatus, a situation that disproportionally impacts women who take time off for child-rearing.

  • Amending the annual attorney enrollment form so critical data on the number of women attorneys in the state can be gathered.

  • Examining the impact of racial and ethnic bias within the judicial system and the practice of law.

  • Exploring changes in technology and legal practices so Missouri continues to be a national leader in the serving the public and delivering fair and timely court services.