February 19, 2013

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William Bohling

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Lori Nelson

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Paul Durham

Article

William Bohling

A Lifetime of Achievement

Josh McFadden

February 19, 2013


From the classroom to the bench and many other capacities in between, William Bohling has an impressive list of accomplishments in the legal profession.

For more than 40 years, Bohling has earned praise and respect as an educator, trial attorney and judge. Currently, the Salt Lake City-based legal giant spends his days as a highly successful mediator, focusing chiefly on intricate, high-conflict and multiparty commercial, tort and employment cases. It’s a role he has excelled in since his retirement as a Utah Third District Court Judge in 2004.

“Being a mediator is a wonderful career,” Bohling says. “It’s the best way to solve problems. There is nothing that quite matches working a long day and helping people solve disputes and showing a willingness to put problems behind them.”

He adds that being a mediator is a rewarding and satisfying way to complete his legal career.

Bohling fully understands the vital role attorneys fill in the legal profession. Upon earning his juris doctorate from the University of Utah in 1968, Bohling became a trial lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Bohling then accepted an associate position with the firm Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough in 1971. He has 19 years of experience as a lawyer, including 16 years in private practice.

It was working as an attorney where Bohling learned some of his most enduring lessons.

“Lawyers are problem solvers,” he says. “Being a lawyer gives you the ability to work with other sides. You gain great credibility and develop good relationships with everyone. You learn to cooperate with people.”

In fact, Bohling believes effective lawyers aren’t flamboyant or crafty in their presentation. Instead, he stresses the necessity of being amicable and wise.

“I used to think the best lawyers were the most dazzling,” he says. “What’s most important is that lawyers exercise judgment and respect both sides to help bring others to solve problems.”

Passionate about educating aspiring and future legal professionals, Bohling’s laudable resume includes a three-year stint as an associate professor of law at Texas Tech University Law School. He instructed law students there in antitrust, business torts, contracts and economic regulation courses.

Perhaps Bohling’s most significant contributions were made behind the bench as a Third District Court Judge from 1993 to 2004.

Most notably, Bohling was instrumental in instituting a Mental Health Court. This endeavor assisted those who suffered from a variety of mental challenges who were being cited and brought in for minor offenses. The program realized great success and gave better assistance to those who were previously falling into repeated patterns of trouble.

“I was fortunate to be involved in helping set up this program,” Bohling says.

During his 11 years as a judge, Bohling tried numerous cases, including a two-month-long insurance bad faith case in which he reduced a jury-awarded verdict of $140 million to $25 million. Bohling’s ruling was appealed and reversed by a higher court but then ultimately reversed again by the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed Bohling’s original decision. Bohling was able to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“To be involved in such a case was rewarding,” he says. “I felt vindicated.”

Bohling said he has no immediate plans to permanently retire from the legal arena. Instead, he is content to continue solving problems and sharing his sage advice with others in the profession.

“You want to build trust with everyone,” he says. “Those you oppose in cases will respect you for your skill and integrity.”

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