Bill Hurd is a partner in the Richmond office of Troutman Sanders and focused on his firm's Appellate practice. He previously served as the first Solicitor General of Virginia (1999 – 2004). In the United States Supreme Court, Bill has appeared on brief (both party and amicus) in more than 30 cases, serving as principal author in more than 25 cases and personally arguing three cases before the Court. Altogether he has appeared on brief in more than 130 appellate cases and has argued more than 50 times before federal and state appellate courts.
Bill served as lead counsel in the statewide election recount for Attorney General of Virginia in 2005 and served as legal counsel to the 2011 Independent Bi-partisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Hurd is an adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School, where he teaches a course on the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause. He has taught at seminars on a range of topics at the College of William and Mary, the University of Richmond, the University of Dayton, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Georgia and Karoli Gaspar University in Budapest, Hungary.
Rankings and Recognition
- Recognized as one of America's Leading Lawyers for Litigation by Chambers USA (2008-2016).
- Named “Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers (2011, 2014).
- Named "Education Law Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers (2017).
- Recognized in Best Lawyers in America for Education Law and Appellate Practice (2007-2017).
- Recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer in Appellate Law (2006-2016).
- Named to Virginia Business magazine’s Legal Elite in Appellate Law (2011-2016).
- Recipient of the Best Brief Award for “Outstanding Legal Writing” given by the National Association of Attorneys General before the United States Supreme Court (2004).
- Moderator, "Supreme Court in Review," annual presentation to Virginia Bar Association (2010-2013).
- In the United States Supreme Court, Bill has appeared on brief (both party and amicus) in more than 30 cases, serving as principal author in more than 25 cases and personally arguing three cases before the Court. Altogether he has appeared on brief in more than 130 appellate cases and has argued more than 50 times before federal and state appellate courts.
- Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003) (upholding state statute that prohibits cross-burning with intent to intimidate).
- Virginia v. Hicks , 539 U.S. 113 (2003) (upholding public housing project trespass policy).
- Served as the supervising attorney in the successful U.S. Supreme Court original jurisdiction case brought by Virginia to establish its right to build improvements into the Potomac River and withdraw water. Virginia v. Maryland, 540 U.S. 1101 (2004).
- Argued before the Court representing parents in the special education case, Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49 (2005) (allocating burden of proof at administrative hearings under federal special education law).
- Legal Advisor, Independent Bipartisan Committee on Redistricting (2011).
- Represented non-partisan Military Voters Protection Project in obtaining landmark injunction requiring Maryland election officials to extend deadline for receipt of absentee ballots from overseas and military voters (2010).
- Represented non-partisan civic group in obtaining injunction requiring Virginia election officials to make voter history lists available for purpose of encouraging voter participation (2010).
- Represented McCain-Palin campaign in obtaining injunction requiring preservation and accounting of “late” military absentee ballots (2008).
- Lead counsel in statewide election recount for Attorney General of Virginia (2005 and 2013).
- Lead counsel in statewide election recount for Governor of Virginia (1989).
- Lead counsel in major election law cases, including successful defense of referenda on state constitutional right to hunt and fish and referenda on regional sales tax issues. Participated in successful defense of legislative re-districting.
- Counsel to Saving Sweet Briar, Inc./Sweet Briar Institute in school closure dispute (Commonwealth of Virginia, ex rel Ellen Bowyer v. Sweet Briar Institute, et al., Case No. CL15 15009373, Amherst County Circuit Court, 2015).
- Represented state university in assertion of sovereign immunity as defense to lawsuit alleging breach of contract and patent infringement.
- Represents parents of children with disabilities in disputes with local school divisions over special education programs. Practice includes IEP meetings, administrative hearings and federal appeals.
- Represented small tobacco companies in First Amendment lawsuit against Food & Drug Administration, winning agreement from FDA not to enforce regulation limiting product names against clients (2010).
- Represented pharmaceutical trade association in connection with nationwide study conducted by National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).
- Represented Indian tribe in matters involving sovereign immunity and state regulation of tribal business enterprise.
- Co-counsel in successfully defending constitutionality of state dealer protection law against challenge under federal Commerce Clause (2006).
- Successfully argued on behalf of internet protocol television company in (a) opposing attempt by municipality to shut down television service and (b) referring dispute to Federal Communications Commission (2008).
- While in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Bill provided representation in a wide variety of issues, including the following:
- Lead counsel in successful defense of major Virginia statutes, including “minute of silence” law, parental notice law, and law prohibiting use of state computers for sexually explicit material.
- Lead counsel in successful effort to deny class certification in class action lawsuit challenging new rules governing eligibility for welfare benefits.
- Lead counsel for Virginia in successfully defending federal law that prohibits the District of Columbia from imposing income tax on non-residents working in the District.
- Lead counsel in successfully defending statutory reduction of personal property tax against court challenge.
- Lead counsel for Virginia in matters relating to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a multi-million dollar charity created by the will of the late business leader.
- Provided representation on issues relating to challenge of the will, sale of the Washington Redskins football team, and mediation of dispute over executors’ fees, resulting in savings of more than $20 million in fees for the charity.
- Lead negotiator in successful effort to stop ill-advised sale of daily newspaper by charitable trust, resulting in a new sale that doubled the purchase price from $19 million to $38 million.
- Lead negotiator for Virginia Attorney General in developing landmark agreement between Virginia and U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR gives a clean bill of health to Virginia’s formerly white institutions of higher education, finding no vestiges of discrimination, and Virginia undertakes additional enhancements of two historically black institutions.
- Lead negotiator for Virginia in developing agreement with U. S. Department of Justice, successfully resolving civil rights investigation of four troubled mental health/mental retardation facilities, while spurring improvements in patient care. Settlements won praise from federal judge and families of patients.
- Lead counsel for Virginia in special education case, securing right of States to discipline students for misconduct unrelated to their disabilities ( Virginia Dep’t of Education v. Riley, 106 F.3d 559 (4th Cir. 1997)).
Publications, Presentations and Speaking Engagements
- Moderator, “Using the Bully Pulpit in School: Protecting Students from Bullying and Violence,” American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law 2014 Fall Council Meeting, Denver, CO, October 10, 2014.
- Speaker, “Recounts,” Republican National Lawyers Association, National Election Law Seminar, August 11, 2014.
- Speaker, “Special Education: Claims and Remedies,” Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA), Williamsburg, VA, August 2011; August 2012; August 2013; August 2014.
- Moderator, “The 2013 Supreme Court Term in Review,” American Bar Association, 2014 Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, August 8, 2014.
- Moderator, “The 2013 Supreme Court Term in Review,” Virginia Bar Association, 2014 Summer Meeting, White Sulphur Springs, WV, July 26, 2014.
- Speaker, “Supreme Court: The Year in Review,” The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference, San Diego, CA, May 6, 2014.
- Panelist, “Do You Know Your BBB Rating? What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You,” Online Lenders Alliance Webinar, March 25, 2014.
- Faculty, “When the Attorney General Comes Calling: The Advantages of Confidentiality Agreements,” Live Webinar CLE, American Bar Association, February 26, 2014.
- Speaker, “When the Attorney General Comes Calling: The Advantages of Confidentiality Agreements,” American Bar Association, Section of State and Local Government Law Fall Section Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, October 26, 2013.
- Faculty, “CFPB and State Attorneys General: A New Age for Consumer Financial Protection,” Live Webinar CLE, American Bar Association, September 25, 2013.
- Moderator, “The 2012 Supreme Court Term in Review,” American Bar Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 10, 2013.
- Selected by First Freedom Center to present oral argument on major First Amendment case in moot court jointly sponsored with University of Richmond Law School and Virginia Commonwealth University (2010).
- Speaker, ABA Panel "Analysis of the Citizens United Case: A Victory for Free Speech or a Threat to Democracy and Self-Government?," February 2010.
- Visiting Professor, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary (teaching American legal system and Religion Clauses) (2010).
- "Multi-State Investigations and Suits: How to Address the Expanding Authority and Ambition of State Attorneys General," Washington Legal Foundation's Web Seminar Series, March 2009.
- Lecturer, Freedom of Expression and Religion, Constitutional Court of Georgia, Batumi, Republic of Georgia (2009).
- Author, "2009 Annual Survey on Special Education Law," University of Richmond Law Review (with Stephen C. Piepgrass).
- Author, "Legal Consequences of Tuition Assistance Grant Program for Students with Disabilities," Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy (2009).
- Author, "The Virginia Supreme Court: Court of Error or Court of Law?," Virginia State Bar Litigation News, Winter 2008.
- Co-author, “Autism, the IDEA and Recent Developments in Virginia,” Critical Issues in Education Law and Policy (Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University) (April 2007).
- Addressed the United States Commission on Civil Rights, "Racial Discrepancies in Special Education" (2007).
- Addressed LRP National Conference on special education issues from parents’ perspective, including debate over interpretation of amendments to federal statute and proposed federal regulations (2006).
- Addressed Conference of Western Attorneys General on implications of U.S. Supreme Court decision using federal Commerce Clause to strike down state laws granting preferences for in-state wineries (2005).
- At the request of the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) moot court project, Bill has provided advice to attorneys arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court in a variety of matters, and he has participated in programs on Supreme Court practice sponsored by the Bill of Rights Law Institute at the Marshall-Wythe Law School, College of William & Mary.
- Co-Author, “Dealer Protection Statutes Level the Playing Field for Heavy Equipment Dealers," Equipment Leasing Newsletter, August 2006.
- Co-Author, “Federalism and Separation of Powers: The Federalism Aspect of the Establishment Clause,” ENGAGE, Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2004), an analysis of how the Establishment Clause protects the discretion of States from congressional interference on those questions of religious accommodation not governed directly by the Constitution.
- Author, “Gone With the Wind? VMI’s Loss and the Future of Single-Sex Public Education,” 4 DUKE J. OF GENDER LAW & POLICY 27 (1997), an analysis of how public, single-sex education (e.g., all-girl math classes) may be defended after the Supreme Court decision striking down the all-male policy at Virginia Military Institute.
- Editor, “Guidelines Concerning Religious Activity in the Public Schools,” a widely-acclaimed document guaranteeing religious liberty and freedom of expression to Virginia public school students, adopted in 1995 by the Virginia State Board of Education.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Richmond Bar Association
- Virginia Bar Association
- Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
- Supreme Court Historical Society
- Federalist Society (Virginia Chapter)
- Member, United States Electoral College (1992)
- Member, Board of Visitors, National Judicial College (2011-2016)
*Admitted only in Virginia. Practice supervised by D.C. Bar members pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule 49(c)(8).
- University of Virginia, J.D., 1977
- University of Virginia, B.A., 1973
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Supreme Court of the United States