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 custody. When he is not mediating cases, Bill handles commercial and business litigation, grand jury investigations, white collar criminal defense, and internal investigations.
Bill has worked as a private attorney for over 20 years in Pittsburgh, concentrating on grand jury and criminal defense matters in federal and state court. These matters included representation of victims, witnesses, and defendants. He also handled complex civil litigation involving contract disputes, employment, securities fraud, and mortgage fraud, and conducted 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 on probation.
As a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), and as Acting Chairman of PCCD’s Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee, Bill helped to develop a statewide strategy for individuals in the criminal justice system who have mental health issues. He also worked with researchers from Duquesne University and the state’s Bureau of Autism Services to develop training for law enforcement officers to identify juvenile offenders who have autism in order to divert them out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment. Bill is also 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® and has been named repeatedly as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. He has maintained a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell since 1994.Bill is an active member of the Allegheny County Bar (former Chair, Federal Court Section) and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He serves on the Board of Trustees for ACHIEVA, the Youth Outcomes Advisory Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors 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 Commission.
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