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William H. Fortune

Bill Fortune

2012 Hall of Fame Inductee

Class of 1964

William H. Fortune (Bill) is a 1964 graduate of the College of Law. He practiced law for five years with the firm now known as Stites and Harbison and in 1969 joined the faculty of the College of Law. He has twice served the College of Law as Associate Dean, has served the University of Kentucky as Academic Ombudsman and University Senate Chair, and in partial recognition of his great service to the students of the College of Law was honored with the University of Kentucky Great Teacher Award in 2001. 

Professor Fortune has shown unmatched commitment to some of the most crucial obligations of the legal profession. He was the first president of the Central Kentucky Legal Services Corporation, has served as a member of Kentucky’s Public Advocacy Commission, and most importantly has three times taken leave from the College of Law to provide legal services to the indigent—serving two years as a federal public defender in California, two years as a federal public defender in Kentucky, and one year as an assistant public advocate in eastern Kentucky. Additionally, he has served the KBA like very few lawyers have ever done, as (1) a drafter of the state’s Evidence Rules, (2) a member of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, (3) as counsel for the Ethics Committee of the Kentucky Judiciary, (4) as the author of numerous books and articles on professional responsibility, and (5) through more presentations on continuing legal education that perhaps any other lawyer of Kentucky has ever made. In recognition of his great service to our profession, Professor Fortune was awarded the 2008 KBA Thomas B. Spain Award and in 2009 received from the Kentucky Supreme Court the Chief Justice’s Special Service Award.