The ABA Business Law Section would like to introduce you to our its 2016-2017 Chair, Bill Johnston. He participated in the section’s Leader Spotlight to share his experiences when he was once a law student and how the ABA has helped him.
Q: Where did you attend law school?
A: Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia
Q: What inspired you to become a lawyer?
A: I wanted to try to help people, including people involved with businesses. A favorite uncle, who was a corporate general counsel, was an important role model, as was a Delaware lawyer in private practice who invited me to serve as an intern with his firm when I was a junior in high school.
Q: What was your first job right after law school?
A: I had the privilege and pleasure of serving as Law Clerk to The Honorable Daniel L. Herrmann, Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court.
Q: Do you have any experiences that stand out in your memory when you were a law student?
I enjoyed participating as member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team during my second-year and coaching the team during my third-year. I also found participating as a member of the Law Review to be worthwhile, though perhaps not as “enjoyable.” Most importantly, at the beginning of my third-year, I met my future wife, Mary, as she started her first-year!
Q: How did you become involved with the ABA? And how has your involvement helped where you are today?
I joined the ABA as a law student but did not attend my first ABA meeting until I was in my second year of practice. I was invited to attend the 1985 Mid-Year Meeting to present to then-U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, on behalf of the Delaware Bench and Bar, Delaware’s first Appellate Handbook (I had served as the reporter for the project). Over time, I became increasingly involved with the Business Law Section, ultimately chairing the Business and Corporate Litigation Committee and joining the leadership “ladder” for the Section. I also serve as State Delegate from Delaware to the ABA House of Delegates. Over the course of my 35-plus year involvement with the ABA, I have benefited in numerous respects: as a recipient of valuable content that has assisted me in practice; with writing and speaking opportunities; with leadership training and support; and with life-long business and personal relationships.
Q: How can the ABA/Business Law Section be a good home and start for law students?
First, as I touched on from my own experience, the Business Law Section is a ready source for off-the-shelf, top-quality research. Second, the Section acts as a confidence-builder in providing law students with publication and speaking opportunities. Third, the Section provides an opportunity to get involved with pro bono legal assistance projects and other, community support projects. Last, but not least, the Section provides a networking opportunity for school year internships, summer jobs and post-graduation jobs!