William Ray has practiced law at the firm for over thirty years.  His practice focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration, including representation of banks, securities brokers, financial advisors, insurance companies, and fiduciaries.  William has served as lead counsel in defending class actions in Mississippi and elsewhere.  

William has also served as a securities arbitrator for FINRA, and obtained his mediator certification from the Duke University Private Adjudication Center in 2002.  He was appointed by the Mississippi Secretary of State to the task force that drafted the current version of the Mississippi Securities Act, and served as chair of that task force's subcommittee on fraud and civil liability.  

William has authored amicus curiae briefs in the Fifth Circuit and the Mississippi Supreme Court on behalf of the Mississippi Consumer Finance Association, the Mississippi Bankers Association, and the American Bankers Association.  He was recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a Local Litigation Star in 2016; by Chambers-USA as a leader in litigation; by The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Banking & Finance Litigation; and by Mid-South Super Lawyers in the areas of Business Litigation, Employee Benefits/ERISA, and Banking.  William has also been named among the "Super Lawyers Top 50 in Mississippi" on five occasions.  

Honors & Recognitions

  • Appointed by Mississippi Secretary of State to panel charged with proposing revisions to Mississippi Uniform Securities Act (2008, chairman of subcommittee on fraud and civil liability)
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Benchmark Litigation (2016–19, Local Litigation Star)
  • Chambers USA-America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-21, Litigation: General Commercial)
  • Defense Research Institute (1997–99, Business Litigation Committee, Chair)
  • Defense Research Institute (2002–present, Law Institute)
  • Defense Research Institute (2008–10, Law Institute, Chairman)
  • Defense Research Institute (2012–15, Board of Directors)
  • Duke University Private Adjudication Center Mediator Training (2002)
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers (2006-19, Business Litigation, Employee Benefits/ERISA, Banking; 2011-14, Top 50 in Mississippi)
  • NASD/FINRA Securities Arbitrator
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2009-24, Bet-the-Company Litigation;  Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Banking & Finance; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Securities; Litigation – Trusts and Estates)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Lawyer of the Year (2024, Litigation - Securities; 2024, Litigation – Trusts and Estates; 2023, Bet-the-Company Litigation; 2022, Litigation – Trusts and Estates; 2021, Litigation - Banking and Finance; 2020, Litigation - Securities; 2018, Litigation - Banking and Finance; 2013, Litigation - Banking and Finance)
  • Top Ten Recipient of Mississippi Business Journal's Leadership in Law Award, 2016.

Community & Professional

  • Christ United Methodist Church
  • From 2014 through 2019, William served on the programming committee for the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing cutting-edge continuing education for state-court appellate judges from across the country.  In 2019, he served as the Program Chair for the organization’s annual symposium.  He also served as a member of the NFJE Board of Directors for several years.
  • Represented the Mississippi Economic Council and other parties in resisting efforts to implement class actions in Mississippi State Courts (2017)

Articles & Publications

  • "The Law of Life Insurance: Key Issues in Each State," Mississippi Chapter (DRI Defense Library Series, 2017)
  • "Death of a Salesman? The Regulatory and Litigation Risk Facing Life Insurance Companies,"  ABA TIPS Seminar, 2016 (co-presenter)
  • "Mississippi Does Not Need State Court Class Actions," Mississippi Bar Association Summer School for Lawyers, 2016
  • "Litigation Trends and Emerging Risks," Mississippi Bankers Association, Bank Director Training Seminar, 2015
  • "Litigation Implications of Asset Protection Trusts," CLE presentation sponsored by Trustmark Wealth Management, Jackson, Mississippi, 2014
  • "Protecting Your  Corporate Representative from Ambush at Trial," IADC Trial Techniques and Tactics Committee Newsletter, September 2014 (co-author)
  • "Punitive Damages: Strategies and Reality Checks, 2003-2006,” DRI Life, Heath, Disability and ERISA Seminar (2006)
  • “Evaluating and Defending the Punitive Damages Case,” DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Seminar (2005)
  • “Issues Affecting Removal in Mississippi: Remand and Abstention,” University of Mississippi's 19th Annual Federal Practice and Procedure Seminar (2004) (moderator of panel of United States District Court judges);
  • “Injunctions in Commercial Cases,” DRI Business Litigation Seminar (1999)
  • Representing Businesses in High-Profile Litigation,” DRI Annual Meeting (1999) (moderator)
  • “Defending the Claim for Punitive Damages,” DRI Business Torts Seminar (1998)
  • “Depositions and Ethics: Effective Deposition Practice,” The University of Mississippi Center for Continuing Legal Education (1996)


Juris Doctor: University of Mississippi School of Law, 1986

Bachelor's Degree: English, University of Mississippi, 1983