DENVER, Aug. 8, 2023 – Bill Bay, a partner with the St. Louis office of national law firm Thompson Coburn LLP, today became the American Bar Association president-elect. Bay will assume the role of ABA president in August 2024 at the conclusion of the term of Mary L. Smith, who became ABA president today.
“It is a great honor and privilege to follow in the footsteps of so many extraordinary leaders,” Bay said “It is also a humbling experience to be chosen for leadership in these times of challenge and change. Now more than ever, lawyers need the American Bar Association. The ABA is a place where every lawyer can find a home, value, worth and fulfillment. I look forward to working with President Mary Smith, our volunteers and staff on this great adventure as we prepare for an exciting future for our association and profession.”
A longtime leader in the ABA, Bay co-chaired the Practice Forward initiative, which arose from and addressed member concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the future of the profession. Bay also served as chair of the House of Delegates from 2018 to 2020 and, from 2012 to 2013, chaired the Section of Litigation. He chaired the ABA Day Planning Committee in both 2021 and 2022.
A fellow in the American Bar Foundation, Bay served on the ABA Board of Governors and chaired its Finance Committee from 2015 to 2016. For more than 20 years, he has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates, serving on numerous committees.
Bay’s leadership has extended to other ABA entities, including the Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services (chair, 2009 to 2012); Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession; Commission on Governance; Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fundraising Committee; Death Penalty Representation Project; and Young Lawyers Division.
Beyond the ABA, Bay 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, Bay 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 race or ethnicity; and exploring the future of the legal profession in Missouri. He currently co-chairs the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness.
Bay is a highly experienced litigator who has represented major corporations in high-stakes litigation for more than 30 years. His clients vary from major financial institutions to manufacturers to postsecondary 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.
In recent years Bay 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.
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.