William A. Plourde, Jr.
Bill Plourde was a member of the first graduating class at UC Davis School of Law. He says that deciding to attend a new law school was both a gamble and a thrill. “From the very start, Dean Barrett made Davis a first rate law school,” Bill says. “His choice of the first five professors was a big part of the school’s attraction. All were terrific and worked especially hard to bring other well-qualified professors to the school as it matured. The pride of being in the inaugural class was immense...there’s only ONE and the approximately 69 students who graduated in June 1969 were validation of Dean Barrett’s vision.”
For the first two years, classes were held in buildings throughout the campus. Bill remembers a particularly memorable Torts class...held in the Vet Science large animal hospital teaching room. “On a very hot September afternoon, the first class of law school students waited in the hall for the three o’clock hour. At that time the doors to the lab room opened and out came dozens of vet students. They apparently had been studying the anatomy of horses and a very large, dead, smelly horse was wheeled out of the hot classroom on an animal gurney. The stench of preservative was overwhelming.”
Despite the physical obstacles, the academic program was rigorous. By the end of Bill’s second year, the new two-story law school was completed, and faculty, staff, and students moved into the new building. Bill says, “What a change from the first two years!”
Bill clerked over the summer of 1969 for The Honorable James M. Carter, United States Court of Appeals. He then went on to become an associate attorney at Lawler, Felix and Hall for five years before moving to Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., where he was General Counsel and later Senior Vice President before retiring in 1999.
Since retiring, Bill continues to give back to the community. He has guest lectured at USC School of Law in the field of legal writing and International Trade Matters, using various case studies involving antidumping, escape clause, countervailing duties, and Section 301, that he worked on during his 25-year career with Toyota. He addresses local groups of seniors as part of a California Department of Corporations program, Seniors Against Investment Fraud (SAIF), which advises seniors on how to recognize and avoid various types of investment scams, as well as telemarketing, Internet, door-to-door, and direct mail frauds. Currently he is the executive director of the Los Angeles Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and serves as a merit badge counselor for several merit badges, including law.
Bill has also continued to give back to the King Hall community through his gifts to the Annual Fund. “I truly believe that persons who benefit from their education should see that others are afforded the same opportunity.”