William Bay is an accomplished litigator with a career-long record of service to the local, state and national bar. He is a St. Louis partner with Thompson Coburn LLP, an AmLaw 200 firm with offices across the United States. As the chair of the ABA House of Delegates, Bill serves in the second-highest office in the ABA and leads the organization’s policymaking body.
Bill has represented major corporations in high-stakes litigation for more than 30 years. His clients vary from major financial institutions to manufacturers to post-secondary institutions, and he regularly helps organizations manage and respond to large portfolios of litigation in multiple jurisdictions. He 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.
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. Bill has served in leadership positions at other ABA entities, including its Standing Committee on Bar Activities & Services (chair, 2009-12); Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession; Commission on Governance; Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fundraising Committee; Standing Committee on Membership; Death Penalty Representation Project; and Young Lawyers Division. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
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.
In 2017, Bill coordinated St. Louis’ role hosting the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, a national meeting of attorneys, judges and judicial advocates from across the country, who met in St. Louis to discuss strategies to eliminate bias in the judicial system and achieve equal representation under the law.
In recent years Bill has been honored with the Spurgeon Smithson award, a top honor given by The Missouri Bar; the Distinguished Lawyer Award, the highest honor awarded by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; an Excellence in Law Award from St. Louis Magazine; and Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s Influential Lawyer Award. He has appeared in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012 and has been recognized by Best Lawyers multiple times as the St. Louis Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Banking and Finance.
Bay received his B.A. from the University of Missouri and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
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