Coblentz History

Bill Coblentz led the firm with humor, directness, and fairness for more than 50 years. By the force of his personality and his example, Bill put his enduring stamps on the culture of this firm that will continue into the future.

Bill was a wise counselor, a brilliant strategist, and a fearless teller of truth to those who needed to hear it, whether they wanted to or not. To us, he was the most important mentor that any attorney could hope to have, a man who demonstrated every day that one can (and, indeed, that one must) live and act in accordance with one’s principles, and that one can (and should) find joy and satisfaction in one’s work. Bill was one of the least self-important important people we have ever known. He had the ear, and the confidence, of governors, senators, mayors, captains of industry and finance, and “ordinary” people. He treated them all with the directness and humor that he considered to be everyone’s due.

If a client found Bill insufficiently deferential—and some did—Bill would be happy to see them seek their advice elsewhere. He understood that every client has the right to pay for the advice he wants to hear, as opposed to the advice he needs to hear. Bill was always available to offer the latter; he saw no point to giving the former.

Bill had an extraordinary career—in his public and civic life and in his firm—and he was an extraordinary human being. We are all indebted to him for creating a home in which we could grow and develop as professionals and as people. We consider ourselves immensely privileged to have been part of the Coblentz firm—Bill’s firm—and it will continue to be Bill’s firm for as long as those of us who had the honor of practicing with him are here.