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Bill Bay elected chair of the ABA House of Delegates

August 10, 2018

Thompson Coburn partner Bill Bay has been elected chair of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. The two-year post of chair is the second-highest office in the ABA.

As the ABA’s policymaking body, the House of Delegates considers and adopts new policy resolutions on a broad range of issues related to the legal profession. Action taken by the House of Delegates on specific issues becomes the official policy of the ABA. The House’s 560 delegates represent state and local bar associations, substantive legal sections and divisions of the ABA, and affiliated organizations and conferences of the ABA Judicial Division, as well as former ABA officers, members of the Board of Governors, at-large delegates and state delegates. 

In his acceptance speech at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Bill described the House of Delegates as a team endeavor made up of “members of a great profession.” 

“We are stewards and representatives of lawyers and bar associations throughout the world,” he said. “I take very seriously the responsibility of the House to be the voice of the profession — and we have a great story to tell.”

Bill has a long history of service and leadership at the ABA. He is a past chair (2012-2013) of the Section of Litigation, the largest section of the ABA. He has served as a member of the ABA Board of Governors and chaired its Finance Committee from 2015-16. Additionally, Bill has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 2002, serving on numerous committees.

Beyond the ABA, Bill is active in several local and state bar associations. He is a past president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and a past member of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors, where he chaired several committees. He is a fellow of The Missouri Bar Foundation. 

Notably, Bill has been selected to co-chair several statewide commissions focused on increasing access and opportunities for women attorneys; achieving equal access to justice for litigants, regardless of their race or ethnicity; and exploring the future of the legal profession in Missouri. He currently serves as co-chair of the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness.

As an accomplished litigator who has represented major corporations in high-stakes litigation for more than 30 years, Bill’s clients vary from major financial institutions to manufacturers to post-secondary institutions. Bill is also a member of the American Law Institute, the leading independent organization in the United States that produces scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law.

In recent years Bay has been honored with the Spurgeon Smithson award (in 2017), a top honor given by The Missouri Bar; the Distinguished Lawyer Award (in 2017), the highest honor awarded by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; an Excellence in Law Award from St. Louis Magazine (in 2016); and Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s Influential Lawyer Award (in 2013). He has appeared in The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2018 (by BL Rankings) and has been recognized by Best Lawyers in 2013, 2017, and 2019 as the St. Louis Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Banking and Finance.