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William F. Ward

Senior Attorney

Phone: (412) 338-1154

Practice Areas:
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Commercial & Business Litigation
Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law
White Collar Criminal Defense / Internal Investigations

Bar Admissions:
District of Columbia

Court Admissions:
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit and Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania and Eastern District of Pennsylvania
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Court Admissions (Pro Hac Vice):
Central District of California
Southern District of New York
Eastern District of Kentucky
Northern District of Georgia
Northern District of Ohio


William F. Ward joined Rothman Gordon in January 2016 after serving three years as a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Bill is skilled in Alternative Dispute Resolution and facilitates civil mediations, including commercial cases, business disputes, and securities litigation. He also mediates family law cases, including equitable distribution and child custody. When he is not mediating cases, Bill handles commercial and business litigation, grand jury investigations, white collar criminal defense matters, and internal investigations.

Bill has worked as a private attorney for over 26 years in Pittsburgh, concentrating on grand jury and criminal defense matters in federal and state court.  These matters include representation of victims, witnesses, and defendants. He also handles complex civil litigation involving contract disputes, employment discrimination, securities fraud, and mortgage fraud, and conducts internal investigations for clients.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Bill served as: Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania; First Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania (the #2 position in the Office of Attorney General) under Attorney General Corbett; Chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole under Governors Ridge and Schweiker; and Assistant United States Attorney under Presidents Carter and Reagan.  As a federal prosecutor, he was the Chief of the Economic Crimes Section.  Bill also was appointed to serve as a Commissioner on: the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision; and, the Pennsylvania County Probation and Parole Officers Firearm and Training Commission.

Bill’s years of diverse public service in Harrisburg and on the bench in Allegheny County generated his interest in ADR, Mediation, and Arbitration. He is certified as a Civil Mediator by the National Judicial College. His years in private practice handling complex civil and commercial litigation, coupled with his skills developed while on the bench, have uniquely qualified him to assist parties in achieving a fair settlement without costly litigation. In addition to facilitating civil mediations, Bill draws on his extensive experience as a Judge working in the Family Division to resolve equitable distribution and child custody cases. While on the bench, Bill also volunteered to preside in the Criminal Division with offenders in Veterans Treatment Court to address the unique risks and needs of veterans involved in the criminal justice system.

As a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), and as Chair of PCCD’s Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee, Bill helped to develop a statewide strategy for adult individuals in the criminal justice system who have mental health issues.  As PCCD’s representative, Bill was appointed to Pennsylvania’s Behavioral Health Commission for Adult Mental Health. Further, Bill  is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law teaching Mental Health Law.

Bill earned his B.A., cum laude, from the College of the Holy Cross and his J.D. from Temple University School of Law. He has been selected by his peers to The Best Lawyers In America® in five categories and was awarded Best Lawyers® prestigious “Lawyer of the Year” for White Collar Criminal Defense. Further, Bill has been named repeatedly as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. He has maintained the highest Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell since 1994.

Bill is an active member of the Allegheny County Bar (former Chairman, Federal Court Section) and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He served on the Board of Trustees for ACHIEVA, the Youth Outcomes Advisory Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, and is Past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania.  In 2016, the Allegheny County Council appointed Bill to serve as a Member of the Accountability, Conduct and Ethics (ACE) Commission, where he has been elected Chair.

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Questions with Bill

What made you decide to practice law?
As a child, I recall enjoying special moments with my father watching “Perry Mason” on television. Perry never lost and justice was always served.  (There also may be some truth to the fact that I’m not strong in math…)

What types of matters you are most passionate about?
For two decades, as a former federal prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, I was committed to the goal of “criminal justice.” That goal expanded following my service as the Chairman of the State Parole Board, during which time I interviewed inmates in state prisons who were eligible for release on parole. Often, otherwise qualified inmates were refused parole due to their underlying mental illnesses. In addition to mental illness being inadequately diagnosed and treated, I observed the prisons’ significant under-reporting of mental illness and “Serious Mental Illness.” Consequently, I am passionate about addressing the combined goal of “mental health and criminal justice.”

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I am licensed in Pennsylvania as an “Attorney” and “Counsellor.”  Over the past 46 years, I have identified and analyzed legal issues and provided legal advice; more important, however, I also have found enormous satisfaction by listening to my clients and offering non-legal counsel for their concerns.

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