Bill Thomas built a reputation over decades as an esteemed legal advocate and political adviser in Virginia, a sage voice who counseled governors, led the state’s Democratic Party and helped advance major infrastructure projects in Northern Virginia. One of the preeminent land-use attorneys in the Commonwealth and a lifelong resident of Virginia, he helped to establish a law firm that later became a part of Reed Smith. A Virginia state senator once described him as “the smartest man in the Commonwealth.”
“Bill Thomas was a consummate lawyer and a dynamic, effective leader in the legal profession,” said Gregory B. Jordan, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of The PNC Financial Services Group and former Global Managing Partner of Reed Smith “He served as a role model and mentor to hundreds of attorneys in his storied career, and his legislative advocacy made an indelible, positive impact on Virginia and the nation’s capital. He often remarked that it was his nature to see how the law could be improved, and his legacy will reflect how long and how well he was able to achieve meaningful change.”
The elder Thomas’ legal career at Reed Smith spanned an administrative practice before Virginia state agencies; a legislative practice before the state’s General Assembly; a land-use and administrative practice before all Northern Virginia Jurisdictions and agencies; and a wide-ranging corporate governance practice.
In 1999, Bill Thomas and Til Hazel combined Virginia-based Hazel & Thomas with Reed Smith. The nearly 120-member Hazel & Thomas had been created a decade earlier through the merger of two of Virginia’s political and legal powerhouses - Thomas & Fiske of Alexandria and Hazel, Beckhorn and Hanes of Fairfax – both of which excelled at real estate, tax and land use law, banking and commercial litigation.